The other day we talked about Heat Pumps (CCHP) or a Cold Climate Heat Pump. These units have many names such as a Mini-Split. Actually, what we were talking about has a REAL name and it is an Air Source Cold Climate Heat Pump where the source of the heat is The Air itself. Remember how we mentioned that there is far more heat in the air at ZERO than there is at Minus Ten Degree. The heat pump Moves The Heat from outside to the inside and then in the summer it moves the heat from inside to outside creating your Air Conditioning. That is how an Air Source Heat Pump works, it moves heat from one place to another.
Today let’s take a look at a Ground Source Heat Pump. Notice that in its name there is no reference to cold climates. A Ground Source Heat Pump will operate virtually everywhere in the lower 48 states. Honestly, I am not sure about Alaska.
A Ground Source Heat Pump moves heat from The Ground to the inside of your home. I am sure that everyone knows that when you dig below the frost line, roughly five to ten feet, depending on where in Vermont you the temperature of the earth does not fluctuate but remains at a constant 54± degrees. Yes, the earth’s temperature goes up and down but at an insignificant amount.
The Ground Source Heat Pump moves the heat from the ground using the same basic technology and transfers that heat to the inside of your home.
Ground Source Heat Pumps are also known as a Geothermal source of heat. There are several ways to extract heat from the earth:
- Closed loop of pipe creating a Heat Exchanger. Water or a combination of anti-freeze and water is circulated around and around through this rather long length of pipe that is buried five to ten feet below ground. The liquid absorbs the 54 degrees of heat and takes it into the house and the heat pump. The earth’s constant temperature is obviously a sustainable resource
- Water can be pumped up out of the earth, go to the Heat Pump and then returned to the earth. Honestly, I personally don’t like this system as it is working with clean water in the aquafer that gets pumped out and returned back to the aquafer. Also, this can be expensive as it requires the drilling of another deep well for thousands of dollars.
The huge advantage of a Ground Source Heat pump is that it will work extremely well regardless of the ambient air temperature. Air Source Heat Pumps begin to loose their efficiency as the temperature drops significantly.
Weather conditions in Vermont’s Champlain Valley is quite different that up in The Green Mountains.
What is your opinion about Geothermal Heat?