Geothermal Cooling Starts by Extracting Heat From the Air
Geothermal cooling is one of the most efficient ways to cool homes in our climate because it uses underground resources rather than the air to cool your home. Geothermal heat pumps extract heat from your home when they’re in the cooling mode and deposit or “reject” the heat in the ground or water. If your geothermal system has a desuperheater, it uses some of the waste heat to heat your water.
The compressor in a geothermal system places the refrigerant under pressure. It changes from a gas to a liquid, which cools it substantially. When it enters the evaporator coil in the air handler, the refrigerant absorbs the heat from your home and the refrigerant evaporates into a gas. This cycle continues until the thermostat turns the system off when the air reaches the temperature setting. In the heating mode, the cycle reverses, with heat energy being extracted from the ground or water.
Geothermal cooling systems are so efficient because they’re not exposed to high temperatures above ground. They utilize a loop field buried underground where the temperatures are stable year-round. These systems don’t use an outdoor condenser, which makes them much quieter and saves space in your yard.
The underground loop field has a life expectancy of 50 years or more, while the indoor air handler can last as long as 25 years when it’s routinely maintained. A geothermal cooling and heating system can be as much as 60 percent more efficient than other heating and cooling systems, which lowers your energy bills significantly.
They do cost more, however, largely as a result of the cost of installing the loop field, which involves trenching underground and laying the loops. However, the federal government is offering a 30 percent tax credit for households that install them through the end of 2016. This credit covers the cost of equipment and its installation, including labor. There’s no cap on the amount of the credit, so regardless of how much it costs, you can offset the purchase with the full tax credit.
If you would like more information about taking advantage of geothermal cooling, please contact us at Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions. We’ve provided quality HVAC and plumbing services for the Orlando area since 1969.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about geothermal cooling and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock