Learning How Geothermal Energy Works

geothermal power western cleveland ohioHomeowners are always looking for cheaper, more efficient ways to heat and cool their homes. While some energy-conscious individuals are turning to geothermal energy, many people still have no idea how geothermal energy works. Let’s take a little mystery out of the equation.

A simple explanation
Geothermal energy is derived from a very simple principle. By tapping into the earth, heat can be extracted from several feet below the ground (or underwater) during the winter to heat your home. When cooling season arrives, the process is reversed – heat is taken from your house and “rejected” underground. This process of using an already existing source of natural heat – the steady warmth just a few feet underground – is an efficient way to heat and cool your home.

A closer look
To provide you with a better understanding of how geothermal energy works, here is a quick step-by-step breakdown of the process utilized by the heat pump during the summer:

  1. Liquid refrigerant enters the unit’s indoor coil.
  2. Warm air from the room where the heat pump is located moves over the coil.
  3. The heat from this air is absorbed by the liquid refrigerant.
  4. By way of a blower fan, the resulting cooler air is dispersed throughout the home.
  5. From there, the refrigerant travels to the system’s compressor, where it is compressed and heated to 120-140 degrees.
  6. This hot vapor reacts with the condenser, and the heat moves from the refrigerant to the ground loop, then returns to liquid form.
  7. The pressure of the refrigerant is reduced when it exits the compressor and passes through the expansion valve.
  8. In the final step, the refrigerant moves back to the evaporator, where it picks up the room’s heat.

During the winter, the indoor coil replaces the role of the condenser, and the ground loops take the place of the evaporator, thereby warming your home instead of cooling it.

If you would like further assistance with learning how geothermal energy works, or for any questions regarding home comfort, please contact us at Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We have been serving the HVAC needs of the greater Cleveland area for more than 75 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Western Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about geothermal and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!   

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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