Ground Source Heat Pump | Highest Efficiency Heating and Air

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Ground Source Heat Pump  OK, I know what you are thinking: “What in the world are ground source heat pumps?”  Well, let’s use a simple illustration: Take a metal rod and heat it until it is glowing. Take it out of the fire and set it aside for 1-2 hours. Could you pick it up without burning yourself? Sure – but what happened? Your 11-year old would say it ‘cooled off.’ But what REALLY happened?

Actually, what happened was that the heat in the metal rod was ‘transferred’ to the surrounding air. But suppose we reverse that: what if we devise a machine that would take a cold metal bar, extract the heat from the air surrounding it, and pump it into the metal. What would happen? The metal bar would get hot. This is exactly what ground source heat pumps do: they “pump” the heat – move it in a certain way. So, if ground source heat pumps work properly, they need a source of heat: either the surrounding air or — in the case of ground source heat pumps, the source of the heat is the heat from the ground or soil (we sometimes call them ‘geothermal heat pumps’).

So ground source heat pumps use the ground for heat – their ‘source’ for the heat is the ground. Other types of heat pumps (called ‘air source’ heat pumps) take heat from the air around them.

Ground source heat pumps can also be used to COOL a building – just reverse the process. It will now act like a refrigerator: ground source heat pumps take heat from inside and move it to the ground outside (even in the summer the ground is relatively cool – have you ever noticed?)

Again, the air source heat pump must move the hot air from inside to the hot air outside, and again the air source heat pump must work harder. So, whether you are trying to heat or cool a building, ground source heat pumps can usually operate more efficiently and result in a tremendous savings in utility bills.

Another great option for those using ground source heat pumps is to use it for heating hot water. Ground source heat pumps can be installed with an add-on device called a ‘desuperheater’ – this device partially heats your water. In summertime, when your air conditioner is running (and ground source heat pumps can double as air conditioners), the desuperheater will use some of the extra heat taken out by the air conditioning process to heat your hot water! So, in the summertime, your water will be heated for free!

In wintertime, part of the heating power of ground source heat pump is used to heat the water. If, in your home, your ground source heat pump operates most of the time (especially to cool things off in the summer) you can increase your efficiency and save lots of money in heating your water. Truly, ground source heat pumps are a modern miracle of engineering!


One Response to “Ground Source Heat Pump”
  1. Greg says:
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    When we built our new home last year we were given the option of a geothermal system. I really knew nothing about them, but after some research, we decided to go with one to increase the efficiency in our home. They are quite pricey, but well worth the expense in the long run.

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