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Water Source vs. Ground Source Heat: Learning the Pros and Cons

Water Source vs. Ground Source Heat: Learning the Pros and ConsWater source and ground source heat pumps utilize free geothermal energy to warm your house. However, the source of that energy is quite different, depending on the system. Both systems only consume electricity and warm your house without any combustion of fuel. An efficient geothermal heat pump can generate up to four units of heating per one unit of electricity consumed.

A water source geothermal heat pump extracts latent heat from a lake or well. A ground source unit absorbs underground heat from the earth, where temperatures 8 feet or more below the surface remain a consistent 50 degrees, year-round.

In winter, both systems harvest heat from their respective source by pumping heat-absorbent fluid through tubing, then circulating it back to an indoor heat pump to concentrate the molecules of heat energy. Heat is then transferred by a heat exchanger into household ductwork to warm the home.

Each geothermal system has certain pros and cons:

Water Source


  • Heat energy from natural lake or water well is free.
  • No need for excavation on property in order to install ground heat exchanger.


  • Only viable where a pond or lake exists on the property or nearby. Water must be deep enough that it never freezes.
  • Drilling a water well in lieu of natural water source like a lake is expensive.

Ground Source


  • Free energy source in the earth.
  • If outdoor property space permits, excavation and installation of underground tubing loops to extract heat is uncomplicated.
  • Tubing that comprises underground heat exchanger has long lifetime guarantee of 50 years or more.


  • System requires adequate open ground on property for horizontal installation, or drilling a deep bore to install underground loops vertically.
  • Local soil type may not support efficient heat transfer. Underground rock formations may complicate installation.

For more about the potential or water-source or ground-source geothermal energy, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solution.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay”

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