The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Plenty of people here in Beatrice, Nebraska, have sought Noakes Heating & Air to make their homes geothermal homes. Still need persuading about geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Understanding a smidgen of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – might help.

We’ve talked elsewhere about the perks of geothermal heating and cooling. Suffice it to say here that hardly any other means of maintaining apleasant home environment all year long are as efficient, dependable, or economical, especially when you gauge the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal works its magic.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We mine the earth for precious metals. We drill the earth for oil. Now, as never before, we’re tapping the earth for something no doubt just as valuable to many of us: the energy to heat and cool our homes that doesn’t call for oil.

You see, just below the earth’s crust – that would be about 33,000 feet under our feet – is a stratum of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten blend, predominantly of silicates, in which temperatures range from 1300 degrees Fahrenheit to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit and hotter the deeper you go (not that you’d want to go there!). What this does is keep the ground immediately under the earth’s surface at a reasonably consistent year-round temperature of between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. So? Underground temperatures in Beatrice (and essentially everywhere stateside, in any event) are warmer than the ambient air above ground in Winter and cooler than the ambient air above ground in Summer.

Time to Get Pumped!

The purpose, then, of a geothermal heating and cooling system is to|Underground temperatures being what they are, then, it’s the purpose of a geothermal heating and cooling system to 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 is maintained at an optimal temperature to keep you and your family comfortable month after month.

The mechanism that performs the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some solution (commonly antifreeze) between your home and loops of piping (commonly fashioned 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 sucks up heat from the earth and is returned to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid goes into the loops, where it takes in the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Looking for details? You’ll find more specific information on ground loops here.

The principal 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 harnessing the energy already abundantly available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems are not only quieter but also much more trustworthy, need less maintenance, have significantly longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than standard HVACs. That’s also why, in the long run, you’ll save considerably more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? See Noakes Heating & Air, your Beatrice geothermal heating and cooling authority, today.