Geothermal Heating Systems

The Earth Heat And Cool Your Home!

Geothermal Heating Systems are a new technology that save homeowners money by using natural heat storage!

Geothermal heat pumps are also referred to as GeoExchange, earth-coupled, ground-source or water-source heat pumps. These heating systems were created in the late 1940s and continue to be used today. Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) leverage the constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium instead of the outside air temperature. As a result, this allows the system to reach fairly high efficiencies (300%-600%) on the coldest of winter nights. Conversely, air-source heat pumps typically reach 175%-250% efficiency on cool days.

From scorching heat in the summer to sub-zero cold in the winter,  many parts of the country experience seasonal temperature extremes. However, only a few feet below the ground remains a relatively constant temperature. For example depending on latitude, ground temperatures range from 45°F (7°C) to 75°F (21°C). Like a cave, this ground temperature remains warmer than the air above it during the winter and cooler than the air in the summer. The GHP takes advantage of this by exchanging heat with the earth through a ground heat exchanger.

Types of Geothermal Heating Systems

As with any heat pump, geothermal and water-source heat pumps provide heating and cooling, along with hot water. Plus, some geothermal heating systems are available with two-speed compressors and variable fans. These options help provide more comfort and energy savings. Relative to air-source heat pumps, these geothermal heating systems:

  • make less noise.
  • last longer.
  • require little maintenance.
  • do not depend on the temperature of the outside air.

A dual-source heat pump combines an air-source heat pump with a geothermal heat pump. These appliances combine the best of both systems. For example, dual-source heat pumps maintain higher efficiency ratings than air-source units. However, dual-source pumps are not as efficient as geothermal units. Cost savings provides the main advantage of dual-source systems versus a single geothermal unit. 

The installation costs of a geothermal heating system exceed a conventional air-source system. However, over time, geothermal heating systems provide energy savings that offset the installation costs. Generally, homeowners recoup the cost difference through energy savings in 5–10 years. Plus, geothermal systems typically last around 25 years for the inside components and 50+ years for the ground loop. There are approximately 50,000 geothermal heat pumps installed in the United States each year.