The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

A good many homeowners here in Defiance, Ohio, have signed on with Schlatters Plumbing Heating & AC to make their homes geothermal homes. Still leery of geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Comprehending a smidgen of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – might help.

We’ve mentioned elsewhere the advantages of geothermal heating and cooling. Suffice it to say here that almost no other manner of maintaining apleasant home environment all year long are as efficient, trustworthy, or affordable, especially when you factor in the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal makes that a reality.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We mine the earth for precious metals. We drill the earth for oil. Now, to an extraordinary degree, we’re tapping the earth for a commodity no doubt just as valuable to many of us: the energy to heat and cool our homes that doesn’t call for oil.

You see, close beneath the earth’s crust – that would be, oh, say, 33,000 feet under our feet – is a mantle of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten brew, predominantly of silicates, in which temperatures range from 1300 degrees Fahrenheit to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit and hotter the deeper you go (not that you’d want to go there!). What this does is keep the ground immediately under the earth’s surface at a year-round temperature of between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Result? Underground temperatures in Defiance (and most places stateside, in any event) are warmer than the ambient air above ground in Winter and cooler than the ambient air above ground in Summer.

Time to Get Pumped!

This, then, is what geothermal heating and cooling systems do: they transfer heat from the ground  to your home or heat from your home to the ground, depending on the season. Either way, your home remains at the optimum temperature to keep you and your family happy month after month.

The mechanism that accomplishes the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some blend (usually antifreeze) between your home and loops of piping (usually fabricated of polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, PVC, or CPVC) buried in the ground. In Winter, the liquid is cold when it enters the ground. As it courses through the loops, it sucks up heat from the earth and is returned to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid enters the loops, where it assimilates the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Looking for details? You’ll find more specific information on ground loops here.

The primary point is that geothermal heating and cooling systems don’t produce energy. They don’t work like central heating systems, which generate heat themselves. Instead, geothermal systems heat and cool your home by mobilizing the energy already abundantly available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems are not only quieter but also considerably more reliable, need less maintenance, have far longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than standard HVACs. That’s also why, over time, you’ll save a great deal more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Get hold of Schlatters Plumbing Heating & AC, your Defiance geothermal heating and cooling professional, today.