Ground source heat pumps are powered by electricity and use the stored energy of the ground. They use the earth’s relatively constant temperature to provide a complete heating and cooling system to a building. It also can provide hot water for homes and other commercial buildings. But how do ground source heat pumps work?
Ground source heat pumps can either have open or closed loops which can be integrated horizontally, vertically, or in a pond or lake. The type chosen will depend on the land surrounding a home or commercial building. It is important to take soil and rock type into consideration when looking into a ground source hear pump as it will not only determine what can be done, but also the most economical design for loop.
In a closed loop system water or an antifreeze solution is circulated through plastic pipes and buried under the surface. In the winter the fluid traps heat from the earth and carries to the building. Then in the summer the system reverses on its own and cools the building. It pulls the heat away from the building and carries it through the system and places it in the ground. This process can also create free hot water in the summer and has the potential to deliver hot water savings in the winter.
Open loop systems operate very similarly to closed loop systems by trapping and delivering heat to a building in the winter and pulling heat away in the summer. The main difference it that open loop systems can only be installed where there is a sufficient supply of water and open discharge is possible. This system also offers the same benefits that a closed loop system does such as free hot water in the summer.
There are many benefits to having a ground source hear pump both economically and environmentally. Some benefits include:
- Greenhouse gas mitigation and emission reductions.
- Reduction in ozone layer damage
- Better for human health and comfort (aka not noisy)
- Low effective costs than other systems
- More durable than traditional heating and cooling systems
- Zero to very little maintenance
While these systems can be costly upfront they will end up saving a home or business owner in the long run. They require little to no maintenance and will last 20 or more years without needing a yearly cleaning. Additionally, because there is no combustion aspect to the system it will reduce emissions and therefore not only making it more eco-friendly, but also being less harsh on the building and better for overall human health.