Geothermal residential heating and cooling systems take advantage of the Earth’s near-constant underground temperature. In the Mid-Atlantic states, ground temperatures average around 55 degrees year round below about 10 feet. Traditional heat pumps extract heat from the air and send it into the home. Geothermal heat pumps use soil (or rock or water) instead of air, so they are far more efficient. Instead of trying to extract heat from 32 degree air, or switching to very expensive back up electric resistance heat, they operate in a relatively constant 55 degree environment. Geothermal residential systems can also be set up to use waste heat to provide most of the hot water needed in the home.
Geothermal residential heating and cooling systems are gaining popularity due to their efficiency and the availability of federal and state tax credits. Contact Us for information on system costs and tax credits.
You may also be interested in a case study published in The Washington Post about a Derwood, MD, resident who installed a geothermal residential system for his 4,400-square-foot home. In the article, “With tax breaks, geothermal system promises deep cuts in heating, cooling costs,” the homeowner describes the process of installation, the benefits, and how he’ll recoup his investment in roughly 3 years.
International Ground Source Heat Pump Association
Energy Savers: Geothermal Heat Pumps
Generic Guide Specifications for Geothermal Heat Pump System Installation
A typical residential geothermal heat pump installation consists of multiple phases. First we will evaluate the geology of your site to determine the most efficient configuration. We will determine the size system your home needs; evaluate the geology of your site to determine whether horizontal trenches or a vertical “well” would be best. We look at depth to bedrock, drilling feasibility and type of soil. Do you have a source of flowing water on your property that could be used in a open loop design, or a deep pond or lake where the pipe could be run? Can ground water be used to increase the efficiency of the heat exchange system?
We will present you with a cost analysis and estimated time until your energy savings pay for the additional cost of the system and advise you of any tax or other incentives available in your area. We will share our experience with various manufactures and recommend the most reliable on for your application.
The actual installation consist of a loop of pipe either buried in the ground or run through a body of water that will circulate a fluid, usually water or a mixture of water and antifreeze which either absorbs heat from or relinquishes heat to the surrounding environment, depending on the season.
Next, a heat pump that works with the heated/cooled fluid is installed inside your home. Note, the heat exchanger is installed in a garage, basement. or utility area — not outside. The unit produces very little waste heat and no flue gases. No scraping ice and snow in the winter and cleaning leaves every autumn.
Finally, a compatible heat pump is connected to your existing duct work. A small amount of electricity is used to power the water pump, blower and other components, typically about 30 to 60% as much power as used by conventional HVAC systems.
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To achieve Passivhaus certification, the homes have to achieve a minimum air tightness level of 0.60 ACH 50, which is five times “tighter” than the 3.0 ACH 50 required of new Maryland code-built houses. In this image, Robert Champ of...
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