Geothermal Heating & Cooling
A geothermal heating and cooling system or ground source heat pump can heat your home and provide hot water for your everyday use. This type of system also allows you to have the reverse effect in the summer and will cool your home or business.
Burying a loop around your home is something like having an oil well on your property, but instead of burning the fuel, which causes green house gases, you are utilizing clean energy that will be around for as long as there is energy from the sun.
In Southwestern Ontario, the average soil temperature year round at 4.5 feet below the surface is 54F or 12.2C. Obviously, this temperature by itself will not heat a home, therefore we need to concentrate it using a compressor.
How does Geothermal Heating & Cooling work?
A geothermal heating and cooling system starts with the sun’s energy by heating the earth directly and also indirectly. Indirectly, the heat evaporates water from the earth’s surface, which falls back to earth and is filtered in the ground. The soil and water act as an insulator and provide a free renewable source of energy year round. There is enough energy under the average home to heat and cool it year round. This is geothermal ground source heating and cooling.
The heat from the soil needs to get into your home and the most efficient way is to bury a ‘loop’, or pipe circuit, a few feet below ground level. Within this loop is a water and antifreeze mixture that absorbs the earth’s heat and is transferred to a heat pump. The heat absorbed by the fluid from the solar-heated ground is extracted from it by the heat pump and circulated through a ‘heat exchanger’ over and over again to get more heat from the earth.
As an alternative to the horizontal buried loop in a geothermal heating and cooling system you can also bore holes vertically into the earth. There are some other choices as well when the earth is rocky and does not allow you to dig or bore. You can install the loop in a pond or lake or use a coil style loop in the ground or a water well system which is pumped, the heat extracted, and then pumped into another well for return water.