The Benefits of Geothermal Heat Pumps
When it comes to choosing a system to heat and cool your home, there are a few factors that every homeowner should consider:
- How much will a new system save me on my cooling/heating bills?
- Does the system provide both heating and cooling?
- How much will a new system cost to install?
Fortunately, geothermal heat pumps score well in every one of these areas. Need convincing? Dig a bit deeper below.
How Do Geothermal Heat Pumps Work?
Heat pumps don’t operate like a typical furnace. There is no combustion, no burning, and no fuel. Instead, heat pumps simply move heat from place to place. Air-to-air heat pumps and mini splits move heat from the outside air into your home.
Geothermal heat pumps move heat from a more stable and warmer heat source: The ground beneath our feet.
How does it work, actually?
- Geothermal heat pumps absorb heat from the ground via a heat exchange system (called a loop field).
- The loop field is a series of plastic pipe loops buried in the ground and have food grade anti-freeze circulating through them.
- By refrigerating the loops below ground temperature, this liquid absorbs the free heat from the ground and sends it to the heat pump.
- The heat pump concentrates and transfers the heat to your home via a refrigeration circuit, and distributes it via ductwork, radiant in-floor heat, or domestic hot water.
In the summer, geothermal heat pumps reverse this process by collecting the heat from your home and distributing it into the ground, which provides you with air conditioning.
Because heat pumps tap into an existing source of renewable heat, they are the most efficient way in the world to heat your home.
How Much Will I Save By Switching to Geothermal?
Installing a geothermal heat pump system will save you money because they are highly efficient. But how do we measure this efficiency?
Geothermal heat pumps have a coefficient of performance (COP) of 4.5, which means that for every watt of electricity required to run the heat pump, you receive 4.5 watts of heat energy output (the remaining 3.5 watts come from the heat in the ground).
To put this in perspective, electric baseboard heat has a COP of 1, and air-to-air heat pumps average a COP of 2 in cold Canadian temperatures. This means that geothermal heat pumps are more than four times as efficient as electric baseboard heat, and twice as efficient as air-to-air heat pumps.
Is it Powerful Enough to Keep My Family Comfortable?
Not only are geothermal heat pumps the most efficient heating system available, they also do the best job.
- Because of the abundance of heat present in its fuel, you enjoy full service heating in the winter with no need for a backup system.
- The heat is more uniform in temperature than oil heat or electric heat, which means you won’t experience any hot or cold spots in your home.
- Full service air conditioning in the summer – no second air conditioning system required.
Geothermal heat pumps are also quiet, need no maintenance other than changing the air filter, and are very long lived. They last longer than an air-to-air heat pump, mini split or oil furnace and are notoriously reliable.
What About the Cost?
Because of the outdoor loop field, geothermal heat pumps are more expensive to install than an air-to-air heat pump or a furnace. You make up the extra cost and more through the long life, energy savings and absence of maintenance bills.
Geothermal heat pumps last a long time. The heat pump itself is located inside the home, which reduces wear and tear on the system. This means a geothermal heat pump should have a life span of over 20 years. In addition, the loop field should last 50 years or more. This long life means the initial installation cost will be offset by many years of low heating and cooling costs.
Of course, every home is different, which means every geothermal installation must be tailored to the home. To find out exactly how much you could save per month on your heating and cooling costs, by installing a geothermal heat pump in Ontario contact a ClimateCare member near you.