The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Scores of people here in Southeast Missouri, Missouri, have signed on with Lundy HTG. & CLG. to transform their homes into geothermal homes. Still leery of geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Comprehending a bit of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – would undoubtedly help.

We’ve mentioned elsewhere the virtues of geothermal heating and cooling. Suffice it to say here that few other methods of maintaining an agreeable home environment throughout the year are as efficient, reliable, or ultimately low-cost, particularlly when you take into account the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal works that magic.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We dig in the earth for precious metals. We dig in the earth for oil. Now, more than ever, we’re tapping the earth for something undoubtedly 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 about 33,000 feet under our feet – is a stratum of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten blend, for the most part comprised of silicates, in which temperatures vary from 1300 degrees Fahrenheit to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit and hotter the deeper you go (not that you’d want to go there!). What this serves to do 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 Southeast Missouri (and pretty much everywhere 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!

What geothermal heating and cooling systems do, then, is transfer heat from the ground  to your home or heat from your home to the ground, as the season dictates. Either way, your home is maintained at the best possible temperature to keep you and your family comfy in every season.

The mechanism that accomplishes the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some mixture (usually antifreeze) between your home and loops of pipe (usually made of polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, PVC, or CPVC) installed in the ground. In Winter, the liquid is cold when it enters the ground. As it travels through the loops, it sucks up heat from the earth and is reintroduced 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 central point is that geothermal heating and cooling systems don’t produce energy. They aren’t like central heating systems, which generate heat themselves. Instead, geothermal systems heat and cool your home by putting to use the energy already amply available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems don’t only run quieter but also prove a lot more reliable, need less maintenance, have far longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than old-school HVACs. That’s also why, in the long run, you’ll save a great deal more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Get hold of Lundy HTG. & CLG., your Southeast Missouri geothermal heating and cooling professional, today.