The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Plenty of residents here in Scranton, Pennsylvania, have sought Jim Lamberti Contracting Services, LLC to upgrade their homes to geothermal homes. Still suspicious of geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Understanding a little of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – might help.

We’ve talked elsewhere about the rewards of geothermal heating and cooling. It’s enough to say here that hardly any other means of maintaining apleasant home environment whatever the season are as efficient, dependable, or affordable, especially when you gauge the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal makes that possible.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We dig in the earth for precious metals. We dig in the earth for oil. Now, to an unprecedented degree, we’re tapping the earth for a treasure no doubt just as valuable to many of us: the energy to heat and cool our homes that doesn’t entail oil.

You see, right under the earth’s crust – we’re talking no more than 33,000 feet under our feet – is a layer of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten mixture, principally of silicates, in which temperatures vary from 1300 degrees Fahrenheit to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit and hotter the deeper you go (not that you’d want to go there!). What this does is keep the ground immediately under the earth’s surface at a year-round temperature of between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The upshot? Underground temperatures in Scranton (and essentially everywhere stateside, anyway) are warmer than the ambient air above ground in Winter and cooler than the ambient air above ground in Summer.

Time to Get Pumped!

What geothermal heating and cooling systems do, then, is transfer heat from the ground  to your home or heat from your home to the ground, in accordance with the season. Either way, your home is maintained at an optimal temperature to keep you and your family comfortable year-round.

The apparatus that accomplishes the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some solution (predominantly antifreeze) between your home and loops of piping (predominantly fashioned of polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, PVC, or CPVC) buried in the ground. In Winter, the liquid is cold when it enters the ground. As it travels through the loops, it takes in heat from the earth and is returned to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid enters the loops, where it takes in the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Want details? You’ll find more comprehensive information on ground loops here.

The key point is that geothermal heating and cooling systems don’t produce energy. They aren’t like central heating systems, which generate heat themselves. Instead, geothermal systems heat and cool your home by using the energy already abundantly available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems are not only quieter but also much more reliable, need less maintenance, have far longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than old-school HVACs. That’s also why, over time, you’ll save appreciably more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? See Jim Lamberti Contracting Services, LLC, your Scranton geothermal heating and cooling authority, today.