How Do Geothermal HVAC Systems Work?

Geothermal HVAC systems, as their name suggests, use the temperature of the ground to regulate the heating and cooling inside a home or another building. These systems are preferred particularly for their environment-friendliness as they leave a very little carbon footprint during operation.

While conventional geothermal systems have been known to deliver heating only, geothermal HVAC systems offer both heating and cooling. If you are considering adding one of these systems to your home, it is important to understand how these systems work. You must also weigh the pros and cons of geothermal systems before deciding whether or not you want one.

Here’s a look at these aspects of the geothermal HVAC solutions.

The Operation of Geothermal HVAC Systems

As stated above, geothermal systems typically make use of the ambient temperature of the ground to achieve heating and cooling year-round. The ground is cooler than the surface during the summers and hotter than the above-ground environment in winters. This enables geothermal systems to achieve a contrasting temperature by utilizing the under-ground temperature conditions.

The system itself comprises of three broad components: a heat pump, a distribution system to conduct heating and cooling throughout your home, and pipes to transfer the heat to or from the system under the ground.

During the summers, the heat pump runs to gather up the heat from your home. This heat is transferred via the underground pipes to the cooler earth. The cooler underground environment cools up the fluid which transports this heat. The cooled fluid is then returned via pipes to the pump and circulated through the home. This helps the system keep your home cool during the summers.

In winters, the operation undergoes a kind of reverse. The earth below is warmer during the winters, so the heat pump uses the underground pipes to collect heat from the underground earth and circulate it throughout your home.

In this way, the geothermal system is able to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature year-round.

Pros and Cons of Geothermal HVAC Systems

Geothermal HVAC systems offer a wide range of benefits. At the same time, they also have some downsides to them. Here’s a look at both.

The Benefits

  • Energy Savings: Geothermal systems offer excellent energy savings when compared to traditional air-source HVAC systems. This is simply because they are a lot more energy efficient. On average, geothermal systems are 25% to 50% more efficient than conventional systems. In winters, their efficiency becomes even better.
  • Eco-friendly: One of the stand-out benefits of using a geothermal HVAC system is that it is very environment-friendly. In fact, that is precisely the reason why many homeowners prefer it. One estimate shows that the comparative environmental benefit of using a geothermal HVAC is the same as planting 750 trees!
  • Low Maintenance: Once set up and running, geothermal HVAC systems require very little maintenance in the long-run. They also experience relatively fewer problems when compared to the air-source systems.
  • Long Life Span: Conventional HVAC systems typically last between 10 to 20 years, although their performance begins to deteriorate after they cross the 10-year mark. Geothermal systems, in contrast, have an average life span of about 25 years and can last all the way up to 50 years with some timely maintenance.
  • Tax Incentives: Being a very green and eco-friendly energy system, a geothermal solution can help you sign up for tax incentives and rebates. These will further reduce your annual energy costs.

The Downsides

Geothermal HVAC systems have very few disadvantages. In fact, the only real downside to them is their steep upfront costs. A new system may cost anywhere between $15,000 and $20,000 for an average home. Not all homeowners may be willing to make that kind of investment, which can put the solution out of reach for them. However, for those who can muster the budget, the costs are recouped within the first few years of operation.

Hiring Reliable HVAC Contractors in Greenville SC

If you live in Greenville, SC, and are considering the installation of a geothermal HVAC system, we can help you. Here at General Air, we have been offering world-class HVAC services to Greenville homeowners and businesses for many years.

Our experts can help you decide whether or not a geothermal solution is right for you. We will also see the installation and initial setup process while also providing long-term maintenance. Contact us today to discuss your HVAC needs, get free estimates, or simply hire our HVAC contractors in Greenville, SC.

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