Benefits Of Geothermal Heating And Cooling
April 14, 2012
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The earth is a wonderful source of heat. In fact, the earth stores 47% of the solar energy that reaches us, making it a natural source of heat for our homes, if we can get it out, and we can! Geothermal heating and cooling systems—also called ground source heat pumps, earth source heat pumps, or geothermal heat pumps—move the heat from the ground into your home using the same technology your refrigerator uses to remove heat from food. That explains the heating process, but the system simply reverses to provide cooling during the hot months twice as efficiently as any other air conditioning system.
The heart of a geothermal system is a cleanly designed box that looks like your average gas furnace, except that it replaces the fuel burner with a refrigeration system that converts heat from the earth into warmth for your home. Geothermal systems do use electricity, but because they only use it to move heat already available in the ground, they use a lot less than many other electric heating systems. A geothermal system can do more than heat and cool; it can also provide virtually free hot water and superior home dehumidification as well. A house with geothermal heating and cooling uses no flames, has no fumes, and needs no propane tank on your lawn. That makes geothermal safer (nothing burning in the house) and cleaner (no toxic fumes released into the environment around your home), and makes your yard look better. Geothermal systems also use renewable energy. The heating and cooling comes from the earth's ability to provide and absorb heat. The heat in the ground around your house also is augmented by the sun. A house with geothermal reduces overall environmental emissions by 70% as compared to electric with traditional AC and a house with geothermal is, on a source fuel basis, over 75% more efficient than heating a house with oil.
As documented by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency, geothermal heating and cooling is the most efficient home comfort system available, and has been named the "heating system for the 21st Century."