Geothermal drilling is the process of boring holes into the Earth’s crust to extract heat which can be used either for electricity generation or heating/cooling buildings. Geothermal drilling offers homeowners an efficient, clean and quiet source of heating and cooling year-round that doesn’t depend on fossil fuels.
With the ever-increasing cost of energy, heating and cooling your home can take a massive bite out of your pocketbook every month. Although geothermal heating/cooling used to be out of reach for the average family budget, advancements in geothermal drilling have made it viable for many homeowners here in Minnesota.
Geo-Tech of Minnesota stays at the forefront of geothermal drilling technology to ensure that our clients’ new heating and cooling systems are top of the line. But because our technology is still relatively novel, many homeowners wonder:
- How does geothermal work?
- Why is geothermal so effective?
- Is geothermal right for my home?
Let’s answer those questions right now so you’ll have a better understanding of what geothermal heat pumps are and how Geo-Tech can help you set up your new system.
How Does Geothermal Work?
Geothermal energy works on a simple principle: a heated fluid will always travel toward a lower-temperature one. Think of how an ice cube melts in a glass of water. The higher-temperature water travels towards the lower-temperature ice, and the ice melts as your water decreases in temperature. Geothermal heat pumps work in the same fashion, except they use the consistent temperature of the ground to displace heat through a system of fluid-filled underground heat exchange coils or loops.
A geothermal system is comprised of buried underground coils for heat exchange, a compressor, and a heat pump that regulates the process. Fluid is forced through the heat exchange coils to either transfer heat from the ground into your home during winter when the ground is warmer or pull heat from your home during summer when the ground is cooler. The type of fluid used can be ground water, a water/antifreeze mixture, or another suitable fluid for heat exchange. A fan forces air over the freshly heated or cooled fluid inside the heat pump into your home’s duct system, similar to how a traditional forced air system works with your current air conditioner and furnace.
Why Is Geothermal So Effective?
Geothermal heating is effective because it is low-maintenance, efficient and environmentally friendly. It also saves you money in the long run. With all the steps the world is making toward reducing carbon emissions, geothermal is an excellent long-term solution to green heating and cooling. Most homes in the United States are heated using natural gas or heating oil. A geothermal heat pump requires neither of these fossil fuels to operate, making it essentially zero-emission.
Another huge benefit to geothermal is its extremely high efficiency. Although traditional heating and cooling is becoming more efficient over time, these older technologies simply cannot keep up with the efficiency of geothermal drilling. Energy Star rates most closed loop geothermal heat pumps with an Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) over 30, with several open loop systems coming closer to 60. Compared to a standard central air conditioning system with an EER around 15, a geothermal heat pump is often twice more energy efficient than a traditional air conditioner.
Going hand-in-hand with efficiency is cost savings, as geothermal drilling will pay for itself over time. The incredibly efficient heat pumps on the market today require less power to heat or cool your home to the same levels as your current system. This means that you’ll use less electricity to maintain the climate in your home, which means less money spent on utility bills.
Finally, a geothermal heat pump requires extremely low maintenance and can last a lifetime. One of the downsides of traditional heating and cooling systems is their propensity to have system failures that cost an arm and a leg to replace. Geothermal drilling, on the other hand, is extremely robust. Most pumps require little to no maintenance during their lifetimes. Heat exchange coils often last up to half a century, while the average geothermal heat pump can last over two decades. Good luck finding an air conditioner or furnace that will last 20 years without a compressor or fan belt going bad!
Is Geothermal Right for My Home?
Geothermal drilling is a viable option for numerous homeowners in Minnesota – and the experts at Geo-Tech are up to date on the current rules and regulations in your area. Give us a call today to discuss options for geothermal drilling and schedule an appointment to evaluate your property!