Gardening Articles
---------------------------------------------------------------------




Gardening Articles:

The Benefits Of Geothermal Heat Pumps

by Ryan McCall

A Geothermal Heat Pump (GHP) is an apparatus that extracts heat from below the surface of earth. It works on the principle that heat flows from higher temperature substances to lower temperature substances via conduction or via convection (air currents). Geothermal Heat Pumps take in heat from the earth or water bodies to provide space and water heating. This works since the earth traps nearly half the sun's energy that is received by the earth.

Ground source heating and cooling provides high-comfort and cost-effectiveness with an environmentally friendly technology that makes use of the Earth's capacity to store energy in the form of heat. Geothermal Heating Systems move heat from the earth or water into a building, or from a building back into the earth. A small amount of electricity is used to operate pumps, fans, controls, and small compressor.

The temperature of the ground a few feet below the surface is relatively constant, to GHPS use it as a source of heating a cooling. GHPs can be used for either retrofit or brand new homes, and they can also provide hot water with no extra cost, just by moving heat around instead of creating it. GHPs are new, but they can save you a lot of money.

Even though the cost of installation of a geothermal system can be several times that of traditional heating and cooling system, the additional costs are returned in energy savings in 5 to 10 years. The life of such a system is estimated at 25 years for the interior components and 50 or more years for the ground loop piping. Approximately 50,000 geothermal heating systems are installed in the US each year. Geothermal heat pumps are practical in most areas. They can use the Earth as a heat source in the winter and a heat sink in the summer.

Many new residential systems are equipped with desuperheaters which transfer excess heat from the geothermal heat pump's compressor to the home's hot water storage tank providing very efficient water heating. However, the desuperheater will not provide hot water during the spring and fall when the geothermal heat pump system is not operating. But because the geothermal heating system is so much more efficient than other means of water heating, some manufacturers are offering 'full demand' systems that utilize a separate heat exchanger to cost-effectively provide for hot water needs.

Even though the cost of installation of a Geothermal Heating Systems can be several times that of traditional heating and cooling system, the additional costs are returned in energy savings in 5 to 10 years. This is due to the very high efficiency of Geothermal Heat Pumps.

Published October 2nd, 2008

Filed in Environment