Why Geothermal?

Frequently Asked Questions about Geothermal HeatingCompared to conventional heating and cooling systems, geothermal systems offer the following benefits:

  • Lower heating and cooling costs. A geothermal system can cut your heating and cooling costs by as much as 25 to 50 percent compared to conventional systems.
  • Environmentally friendly. Geothermal technology doesn’t pollute like fuel oil, natural gas or propane systems. Geothermal is a renewable energy.
  • Lower maintenance costs. All geothermal equipment is housed indoors, protecting it from the elements outdoors.
  • Quiet operation The geothermal equipment installed by SB Mechanical and Geothermal, Inc. is insulated and placed on pads to minimize the noise and vibration from pumps. There is no noisy air conditioner outside your house.
  • Longer life span. Geothermal equipment can last between 20-30 years, a longer life span than most furnaces and air conditioners. The ground loops are warranted for 50 years.
  • Energy efficiency. A geothermal heat pump can move more than 3 units of energy for every single unit of electrical energy used to power the system.
  • Safety.  A geothermal heat pump does not burn fossil fuels so there are no risks of gas leaks or carbon monoxide poisoning.

The geothermal heat pump includes three principal components:

  • Geothermal earth connection subsystem
  • Geothermal heat pump subsystem
  • Geothermal heat distribution subsystem.

Geothermal Earth Connection

Using the Earth as a heat source/sink, a series of pipes, commonly called a “loop,” is buried in the ground near the building to be heated and cooled. The loop can be buried either vertically or horizontally. A pump circulates a fluid (water, or a mixture of water and antifreeze) that absorbs heat from, or relinquishes heat to, the surrounding soil, depending on whether the ambient air is colder or warmer than the soil.

Heat Pump Subsystem

For heating, a geothermal heat pump removes the heat from the fluid in the Earth connection, concentrates it, and then transfers it to the building. For cooling, the process is reversed.

Heat Distribution Subsystem

Conventional ductwork is generally used to distribute heated or cooled air from the geothermal heat pump throughout the building.

Residential Hot Water

In addition to space conditioning, geothermal heat pumps can provide domestic hot water when the system is operating. Many residential systems are equipped with desuperheaters that transfer excess heat from the geothermal heat pump’s compressor to the house’s hot water tank. A desuperheater provides no hot water during the spring and fall when the geothermal heat pump system is not operating; however, because the geothermal heat pump is so much more efficient than other means of water heating, manufacturers are beginning to offer “full demand” systems that use a separate heat exchanger to meet all of a household’s hot water needs.