Are you looking for alternative heating methods on your home? Looking to go green(er)? If you answered yes to these questions, then you should investigate the benefits of geothermal heating. Is geothermal heating right for your home? Here are some factors to weigh into your decision:
What is geothermal heat? Standard air heating units draw air from the outside and then heat that air before delivering into your indoor space. That means that if the outside temperature is 15 degrees, your heating unit will have to heat that air by 55 degrees to warm it to the 70 degree temperature you desire. This is not the most efficient way to provide heat to an indoor space. Geothermal heating units, on the other hand, draw heat from the earth to provide you with warm air. No matter where you are, the temperature of the earth is going to be much higher than that of the outside air, which means that a geothermal heater has much less work to do in regards to warming air before delivering it to your home. What about cool air? One of the great things about a geothermal system is that it can reverse the process it uses to heat air in order to also cool air. This means that with the simple flip of a switch, your geothermal unit can go from an efficient air heater to an efficient air cooler.
Open looped versus closed looped systems. There are multiple ways geothermal systems can move heat from the earth to your home. These are categorized in either of two groups: open looped and closed loop systems. Your home’s location and landscape determines which system is right for you. Open loop systems are most cost effective in areas where there is plenty of ground water, as they draw in water from an aquifer, move the heat from the water to your home, and then release the water back into the environment. Closed loop systems, on the other hand, are easier to install and are best suited for large yards. There are five types of closed loop systems, each involving circulation of water within a continuous loop.
Things to consider. In addition to your location and yard size, you must also consider how local ordinances might affect your decision to install geothermal heating. Local government entities may have specific laws, codes, and ordinances that you must adhere to, and they may require special licensing. On top of that, your locality’s water quality can affect the efficiency of your open looped system, so you should have your water supply tested for things like iron content, hardness, and acidity before you commit to the installation of a geothermal heating unit.
Geothermal heating is one of the most energy efficient heating options available today. However, installing a geothermal heating unit requires a special set of considerations. Keep these factors in mind when determining whether or not geothermal heating is for you.
About the Author: Jeanmarie Gosling is remodeling the fixer-upper she just purchased. After she installs new door louvers she plans to paint the entire house and the address her heating and cooling systems.
Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mainedoe/6751021413/