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How Does Geothermal Air Conditioning Work?

geothermal-loopsHave you been calling recently for AC repair in Newberry, FL more than you think you should? Then there’s a strong chance that your air conditioner is ready to be replaced. You can arrange with us to have a new central air conditioner put in, or maybe a heat pump if you’d also like to switch out an aging electric furnace.

But… have you considered the possibility of installing a geothermal air conditioning system instead?

Can geothermal energy really be used to cool a house?

Yes, absolutely. Because when people hear the word geothermal they almost immediately think of “heat” (after all, the suffix -thermal is right there in the word), they often think that geothermal energy can only be used for heating.

But what does an air conditioner do to cool down a house? It uses heat—except that it moves heat outside of the house. “Cooling” isn’t a form of energy, it’s a lack of energy. Specifically, thermal energy. All that a geothermal system has to do to provide cooling for a house is reverse the direction it moves heat. Instead of drawing heat from the earth with its loops, it instead removes heat from the house and deposits it in the earth. In other words, a geothermal air conditioning system uses the ground as a heat sink.

Is it useful to use the ground as a heat sink?

Yes, because the temperature 6 to 10 feet below the ground is at a stable temperature of around 50°F, and it doesn’t change no matter the climate above ground. A standard AC has to work hard to move heat to the outdoors when it’s 80°F or higher. A geothermal system can work far more efficiently because it has a cooler area to deposit the heat.

Can a geothermal AC only work as an AC?

It can work as a heater as well. All geothermal HVAC systems are heat pumps, so they can switch between heating and cooling mode. The only change that must take place is to reverse the direction the refrigerant runs through the system. In heating mode, the loops draw heat from the ground, and in cooling mode the loops deposit heat into the ground. While a geothermal heat pump is efficient when in cooling mode, it’s even more efficient in heating mode.

It’s true that a geothermal system costs more than a standard heat pumps to install, and it requires sufficient space around the house. But the efficient performance of a geothermal heat pump means it will pay back its installation in savings after only a few years. Best of all, the loops in a geothermal system can last for more than 50 years, so you’ll have plenty of time to reap the benefits and see the savings pay you back many times over.

The best way to find out if a geothermal heat pump is the right choice for your next installation is to call our HVAC experts. Our geothermal professionals can answer all your questions.

Interested in geothermal for your home? We can help! Touchstone Heating & Air Inc has served the communities of North Central Florida since 1988.

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