How does geothermal work?

How does geothermal work? Do you know? While the weather fluctuates significantly from Summer to Winter, the temperature deep underground remains relatively stable. Geothermal heat pumps work by pumping water through a loop that transfers this heat energy either to or from the ground.

This is a diagram showing the heat transfer through a geothermal HVAC system.

Geothermal Heating

During the heating season your geothermal heat pump will pump water through your ground loop and pick up heat. When we drill a vertical loop field we usually install drill down to about 200 feet deep. At this depth the earth is a constant temperature. Our loop fields during winter typically run between 30º Fahrenheit and 42º Fahrenheit, depending on how long and cold winter is. Usually the loop field will start out higher when winter starts and drop as winter goes on.

Once that heat is transferred from the ground to the water the flow center will pump it through the geothermal unit. The geothermal heat pump will then concentrate this heat and use it to heat the home. The water leaving the geothermal unit will be about 5-6º cooler and go back to the loop field to get more heat.

Geothermal Cooling

During the cooling season your geothermal heat pump will reverse it’s function. The geo unit will pump water through your ground loop and instead of extracting heat, it will deposit heat. Remember, at these depths, the temperature in the earth is fairly constant. Our loop fields during summer typically run between 40º Fahrenheit and 55º Fahrenheit. Usually the loop field will start out colder when summer begins and get quite warm as summer continues. This is great for when you switch the geo heat pump over to heating as you are storing all of the heat from your home each summer in the loop field. It is not uncommon for a geothermal system to become more energy efficient in the second year because of this.

Once that heat is transferred from the water to the ground the flow center will pump it through the geothermal unit. The geothermal heat pump will then concentrate deposit more heat from the home into the water. The water leaving the geothermal unit will be about 5-6º warmer and go back to the loop field.

Geothermal Loop Field Examples

“I Need to Find Geothermal Repair Near Me!”

You work hard to keep your home comfortable and operating smoothly. Don’t let a geothermal unit not working undo all your work and cost you hundreds, if not thousands, in repairs! Call (605) 206-3303, or schedule a visit from our Sioux Falls geothermal repair experts online!

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