How Geothermal Heating Systems Work

How Geothermal Heating Systems Work

Temperatures throughout the year will vary no matter where you live. You might experience blistering heat during the summer some years and a surprisingly chilly one the next. As temperatures tend to vary depending on your location, people often forget that temperatures below the surface are fairly consistent all year round. This is because the ground absorbs around 50% of the suns energy and stores it once it reaches to earth’s surface.

This is where geothermal heat pumps come in. The systems use earth loop technology to utilise the energy stored beneath the surface so that homes and offices are provided with the central heating we rely on to keep warm. However, we use geothermal systems to both heat and cool domestic and commercial and environments, so how exactly do they work?

Geothermal systems rely on an earth loop to gather up heat stored beneath the surface. The duct system this loop connects to then distribute the heat throughout the home. This energy can also be used to for water heating as well as a radiant floor system. As far as cooling is concerned, the process is reversed. The heat is then extracted from the home and returned to the earth loop before it returns to the home as colder air.

Earth loops transport heat to and from our homes without using fossil fuels. The biggest advantage of an earth loop over other heating and cooling technologies is the absence of fossil fuels, while it is the centrepiece of any geothermal system. Earth loops are either closed loops that are made of durable polyethylene piping, submerged or buried in lakes etc. or open loops which utilise ground water from wells as a source of heat. Therefore, the geothermal system used depends on the terrain, available ground water and the overall costs of installation.

There are a number of other loops that can be constructed to suit the terrain and reduce potential costs, including horizontal trench loops, vertical loops, pond loops and slinky loops. Horizontal loops are ideal for when there is plenty of land surface available, while vertical loops are adequate for when there is little land surface to utilise. The benefit of pond loops is that less piping is required, due to water being a better conductor of heat energy.

So what are the overall benefits of a geothermal heating and cooling system? Here are seven clear benefits compared to alternative heating and cooling technologies currently available:

  • A Comfortable Experience

The geothermal heating process does not rely on blasts of warm air commonly associated with furnaces or wood fires. The warm air is experienced throughout the home and without these sudden bursts of warm air. The air is also warmer from a geothermal system compared to other heating methods. For enhanced comfort you can use a number of thermostats to control temperatures throughout the property.

  • A Reliable Source

Air source heat pumps are an example of heating technologies affected by weather conditions and the usual wear and tear that can potentially affect the reliability of your heating and cooling source. Geothermal systems are far more reliable and won’t be exposed to the elements as much as other heating and cooling technologies.

  • Safety

Harmful toxins present in fumes as a result of combustion commonly associated with burning propane, oil and natural gas are not an issue with geothermal systems. There is therefore no risk of carbon-monoxide poisoning.

  • Better for the Environment

The most environmentally friendly way of heating and cooling your home is to utilise a geothermal system. There are no greenhouse gases produced and the process of extracting heat from the ground is extremely quiet.

  • Efficient Operating Costs

Geothermal systems deliver four units for every one unit of electricity, making these systems the most efficient as far as heating and cooling your home is concerned.

Geothermal Applications – What Can I Use Geothermal Heating & Cooling For?

There are a number of different installations suited to geothermal systems, including both old and new homes of all sizes. Geothermal systems provide under-floor heating options by heating water installed beneath tiles, floorboards etc. This provides consistent comfort and also offers outdoor heating solutions for patios etc. during the winter.

Geothermal systems are also readily sued for hot water throughout the home, providing homeowners with helpful energy saving opportunities. Any heat that is removed from your home during the winter is transferred to the water heater, which is an efficient, cost-effective way of accessing hot water.

Many properties with swimming pools and spas rely on geothermal heating to reduce the amount of energy used with regular pool heating systems.

Article supplied by, the UK’s most experienced consultants and installers of renewable energy systems – taking energy from natural sources and converting it for use in your home.