Geothermal Heat Pumps

Looking for the most energy efficient heat pump system of all? It’s a geothermal heat pump, which uses the constant temperature of the earth to warm and cool your home regardless of the highs and lows of outdoor air.

Geothermal heat pumps work like regular heat pumps, moving heat from place-to-place rather than creating it. However, they use the ground or water to absorb or dissipate heat. And because ground and water temperatures are much more constant year-round than air-temperature—warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer—geothermal heat pumps operate the most efficiently.

Geothermal units circulate water or refrigerant between an underground network of pipes and heat pumps located inside the house. Geothermal systems are quickly becoming the system of choice all over the country. They can be installed into a new or existing home. Listed below are just some of the outstanding qualities of geothermal heat pumps:

  • Durability. The savings don’t end with your heating and cooling bill. This system is highly reliable. It has no defrost cycle, so there is less wear on critical components. Housed indoors, it’s not exposed to the elements. That means it needs little maintenance and can last for years.
  • Comfort. Because it heats and cools in an even fashion, a geothermal heat pump lets you live in comfort, with no hot or cold spots. And since it doesn’t expel heat, the humidity in your home is at a constant level—not too dry.
  • Environmental safety. Geothermal heat pumps minimize environmental threats posed by the burning of fossil fuels, such as greenhouse gas, acid rain and air pollution. And since the system is silent, it doesn’t add to noise pollution in your house, either.
  • Non-allergenic. A geothermal system does not require outside air for combustion, so spores and pollen aren’t drawn into the house. In addition, the system runs longer than a gas furnace, which means it filters the air more.
  • Cleanliness. A geothermal system won’t add combustion byproducts into your home—no pilot lights, no chimneys, no odors, no fumes and no worries.
  • Bonus hot water. With a geothermal system, your hot water is virtually free in the summer as excess heat is extracted from your home. Year-round, these systems are 30 percent less expensive to operate because they reduce the amount of electricity or gas consumed by your water heater.

A Few Tips on Purchasing a System

  • Look for equipment that is certified by the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), a nonprofit organization that rates residential and small commercial systems.
  • To ensure that you get a high-quality system, look for a performance guarantee that covers the completed heat pump system including the equipment and installation and is not limited to the heat pump itself.
  • Consult a Quality Contractor Network (QCN) member to help you determine the size of system you need, and the type of loop to be used and the fluid to be circulated in the loop. In addition the QCN member should examine your home to make sure it is as energy efficient as possible. Homes that are energy efficient need smaller systems.
  • Call your local power company to connect with a QCN member who can help you get started.

Air Source Heat Pumps

This most common type of heat pump works solely by exchanging hot air for cool air—heating your home in the winter, and cooling it in the summer. There are two basic types: packaged, and split-system. The layout of your home will usually determine which one you choose.

Dual-Fuel Heat Pumps

A dual-fuel heat pump is an electric heat pump and a gas furnace all in one, offering you maximum efficiency during typical Southeastern winter weather, and a boost of gas heat when the temperature falls below freezing.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are ideal in southern climates: In the winter, they draw warmth from the air to keep you warm; in the summer, they remove heat from the air to keep you cool. And they do it all in the most energy efficient way possible.

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