Geothermal Heating & Cooling for Berks, West Chester & Montgomery Counties
K-Wood LLC is your local, trusted WaterFurnace Geothermal System Installer
Simply put, a geothermal unit is a heat pump that uses the fairly constant temperature of the ground to its advantage.
A standard heat pump sits outside, using the outdoor air temperature to heat or cool your home. A geothermal system is more efficient because it uses water that is pumped through a loop. If it is summer, the geothermal unit will pump heat from your house into the loop, where it is dissipated through the ground. If it is winter, then it pumps heat from the loop into your house. Since ground temperature is consistently about 50 degrees, the unit will not have to work as hard as a heat pump that is sitting outside in 10 degree weather. To provide even more efficiency, WaterFurnace Series 7 units come with variable speed compressors and fans, so the unit only works as hard as is necessary, reducing power consumption.
There are four types of geothermal loops to choose from. Confused? Don’t worry. We’ll help you choose which loop is best for your home.
A horizontal loop is placed within trenches. While there are a lot of games that can be played with depth and loop length, we generally dig about 6 feet deep. Loop length would greatly depend upon load (or house size) but you do need a decent amount of open land. So this makes a good choice if you live in the country and trenching is cheaper than drilling a well.
An open loop is the most efficient way to run your geothermal system.Water is pumped from a well, through the geo unit, and the dumped into another well. There is a problem with this style. If your water has a lot of impurities, the impurities will slowly destroy the equipment; either by corrosion or mineral deposits.
A vertical loop is the most common. Wells are drilled, then the loops are dropped down these wells. This is less destructive to the lawn, and requires much less space than the horizontal loop.
So how does all of this save you money?
This may get a little “sciency”. Thermodynamics teaches us that heat will flow quicker in a system that has a higher temperature differential. We know this. If we want a soda to cool more quickly, we place it in the freezer instead of the fridge. The high temperature differential between the warm soda and the cold freezer air decrease the soda’s temperature more rapidly. The same is true with heat pumps. Lets say it is 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside. If the coil of a heat pump was only 100 degrees, a 10 degree difference, the unit would run a very long time(may never shut off) because it can’t transfer heat from the inside of your house to the outside air quickly enough. Now let’s say that the coil is 130 degrees, a 40 degree difference. Now heat can transfer more rapidly, allowing the unit to run less. However, the unit has to not only move more heat from the inside of you house to the outdoor coil; but do it quicker. This takes more energy. A geo unit sidesteps this problem by dumping the heat into the ground. Since the ground is about 50 degrees, the loop temperature would only need to be 90 degrees to get the 40 degree differential. I should say that these numbers are completely made up. And heat pumps don’t really work off of coil temperatures, but in actuality move a set number of btu/h ( a way of measuring a unit of heat per hour). For example, a normal loop is about 70 degrees. It can have a lower temperature differential because the conductivity of water is so much higher than air and the loop has much more surface area than the outdoor coil of a heat pump. This allows an equivalent amount of heat to be transferred. However it should allow you to better understand how geo is more efficient than a traditional heat pump system.
Still confused, don’t worry. The simple explanation is this. The ground temperature is more stable and lower/higher (depending on time of year) than outside air and the loop has a much greater surface area than a heat pump coil. This allows the geo unit to not work as hard which increases efficiency and decreases running cost.
A geothermal system is a great way to provide in-floor radiant heat. If you are interested in the comfort that an in-floor radiant system provides, we would be happy to explain all of your options to you.
Now, if only there was some way to calculate the savings to show you how much you could actually save…… Wait, there is such a way.
Click Here for Savings Calculator
But, be careful who you get to install your geo system.
There are a lot of games that a contractor can play to get their price down. While this will save you money up front, you will find that the contractor’s “savings” are actually quite expensive. We have been specially trained by Waterfurnace not only on loop installation, but on how to size a loop/unit to a house. Even if you don’t go with us, please get a reputable contractor so that we don’t have to come in and repair their mistakes.