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Geothermal Heating & Cooling – FAQ

Geothermal FAQ

Heat from the earth can be used as an energy source. This heat energy, known as geothermal energy, can be found almost anywhere, including our backyards. All over the world, people are tapping into geothermal energy as an affordable and sustainable solution to reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and the global warming and public health risks that result from their use. The US has more geothermal capacity than any other country, with more than 3,000 megawatts in eight states. Following are some of the most frequently asked questions about geothermal heating and cooling.

Q: Are Geotheraml heat pump systems efficient?
A: Generally speaking a geothermal heat pump can be three to five time more efficient at providing heat that a gas, propane or oil furnace and 30 to 50% more efficient at cooling the air than an air conditioner or heat pump. Actual efficiencies will depend on a number of factors.

Q: Why are geothermal heat pumps so efficient?
A: Geothermal heat pumps use the ground temperatures as a “source” for heat energy during heating and use the ground as a heat “sink “ during cooling. The earth acts as a giant, free energy battery. Standard heat pumps use outdoor air for heating and cooling. The ground temperature is much more moderate and stable than air temperatures. Geothermal system operation is much more energy-efficient, especially at extreme outdoor temperatures. A geothermal system also referred to as a ground source heat pump can deliver efficiencies to 70% higher than other heating systems and cooling efficiencies 20 to 40% higher than available air conditioners.

Q: Can one system provide both space heating and cooling in my home? And what about heating water for my home?
Yes. A geothermal or ground source heat pump can be a combination heating/cooling and hot water heating system. You can change from one mode to another with a simple flick on your indoor thermostat.

Q: How does a geothermal ground source heat pump heat water for my home?
Geothermal systems turn waste heat to the task of heating hot water. During the summer, when the system is in cooling mode, your hot water is produced free as a byproduct of the thermal process. In winter, with the heating mode, it heats a portion of your hot water heater.

Q: But are geothermal systems reliable?
Absolutely! Because geothermal units are not subject to some of the same forces that cause wear and tear on other types of systems. And because earth loops are installed using a special grade of polyethylene pipe with heat-fused fittings designed to last 50 years or more.

Q: How much space does a geothermal unit require?
A: Most of a ground source heat pump installation is underground. Inside the house, the heat pump units are about the same size as a traditional heating and cooling unit.

Q: How long will my geothermal system last?
A: Geothermal systems are durable and highly reliable. The ground source heat pump contains fewer mechanical components, and all components are either buried in the ground or located inside the home, which protects them from outside conditions.

Q: Is the geothermal system noisy?
A: Geothermal units are very quiet, providing a pleasant environment inside and outside of the home. They have no noisy fan units to disturb outdoor activities so you’ll enjoy peace and quiet.

Q: Is comfort compromised to get all this efficiency?
Not at all. In fact, geothermal heating and cooling systems can provide exceptional comfort without the “cold blow” from an air source heat pump during heating or short, hot blasts of air associated with standard efficiency gas furnaces. Geothermal units deliver air at temperatures that provide comfort through the house.

Q: What is the future of geothermal systems?
A: Geothermal energy has the potential to play a significant role in moving the US toward a ceaner, more sustainable energy system. It is one of the few renewable energy technologies that can supply continuous power and the cost of electricity from geothermal facilities is declining making it a desirable choice for homeowners and businesses alike.

Q: Are there rebates and tax incentives for geothermal heating and cooling?
Yes. We will help you sort out incentives and rebates that may be available for your project.

Call Day Heating and Cooling today for answers to your heating and cooling questions. Call an expert today. Salem: 503-363-4822 and in Corvallis: 541-452-5111.