The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Scores of people here in Columbus, Ohio, Ohio, have sought Geo Source One Inc. to upgrade their homes to geothermal homes. Still need persuading about geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Understanding a little of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – might help.

We’ve written elsewhere about the merits of geothermal heating and cooling. Suffice it to say here that few other manner of maintaining apleasant home environment all year long are as efficient, trustworthy, or ultimately low-cost, particularlly when you factor in the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal makes that possible.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We tap the earth for precious metals. We tap the earth for oil. Now, more than ever, we’re tapping the earth for an asset likely just as valuable to most 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 layer of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten mixture, primarily of silicates, in which temperatures run 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 relatively constant year-round temperature of between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. So? Underground temperatures in Columbus, Ohio (and pretty much everywhere stateside, as it were) are warmer than the ambient air above ground in Winter and cooler than the ambient air above ground in Summer.

Time to Get Pumped!

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

The apparatus that handles the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some blend (predominantly antifreeze) between your home and loops of piping (predominantly made of polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, PVC, or CPVC) buried in the ground. In Winter, the liquid is cold when it enters the ground. As it flows through the loops, it takes in heat from the earth and is returned to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid enters the loops, where it’s cooled by the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Looking for details? You’ll find more thorough information on ground loops here.

The key point is that geothermal heating and cooling systems don’t produce energy. They don’t work like central heating systems, which generate heat themselves. Instead, geothermal systems heat and cool your home by making use of the energy already richly available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems don’t only run quieter but also prove considerably more reliable, need less maintenance, have much longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than old-school HVACs. That’s also why, over time, you’ll save lots more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? See Geo Source One Inc., your Columbus, Ohio geothermal heating and cooling authority, today.