The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Quite a few residents here in Oswego, New York, have signed on with Nodines Heating Inc. to transform their homes into geothermal homes. Still suspicious of geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Knowing something of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – would probably help.

We’ve written elsewhere about the merits of geothermal heating and cooling. Suffice it to say here that few other methods of maintaining a comfortable home environment throughout the year are as efficient, reliable, or ultimately low-cost, especially when you tally up 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, as never before, we’re tapping the earth for something undoubtedly just as valuable to the majority 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 roughly 33,000 feet under our feet – is a mantle of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten brew, chiefly 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 serves to do is keep the ground immediately under the earth’s surface at a year-round temperature of between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The upshot? Underground temperatures in Oswego (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!

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

The apparatus that executes the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some mixture (commonly antifreeze) between your home and loops of pipe (commonly made of polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, PVC, or CPVC) installed in the ground. In Winter, the liquid is cold when it enters the ground. As it courses through the loops, it takes in heat from the earth and is reintroduced to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid is brought into the loops, where it absorbs the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Need details? You’ll find more comprehensive information on ground loops here.

The key point is that geothermal heating and cooling systems don’t produce energy. They aren’t 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 not only run quieter but also are a lot more dependable, need less maintenance, have far longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than old-school HVACs. That’s also why, ultimately, you’ll save a lot more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Get hold of Nodines Heating Inc., your Oswego geothermal heating and cooling professional, today.