Everything You Need to Know About Geothermal HVAC

Are you shopping for a new heating and cooling system for your home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina? Geothermal heat pumps are among the most efficient HVAC technologies available. That’s because they use the earth’s natural heat to provide heating, cooling and even hot water. So how do these environmentally friendly HVAC systems work? Read on to learn everything you need to know about geothermal HVAC systems.

What is a Geothermal HVAC System?

Homeowners in Myrtle Beach experience seasonal temperature extremes. They endure scorching heat during the summer and freezing cold in the winter. But the ground just a few feet below the earth’s surface stays a relatively constant temperature. In the summer, the ground temperature is cooler than the air temperature. In the winter, it’s warmer. Although the margin of variation is small, the seasonal change in ground temperature provides geothermal HVAC systems a reliable heat source in the winter and a heat sink in the summer.

A geothermal HVAC system uses a heat exchanger to transfer heat from one area to another. In the summer, a geothermal HVAC system extracts heat from your home and transfers it to the ground for cooling. In the winter, it takes natural heat from the ground and transfers it into your home for heating. Installing a geothermal HVAC system can be the most cost-effective and energy-efficient way to heat and cool your home. They’re an especially good option if you’re building a new home or planning a significant renovation in your existing house.

Which Type of Geothermal HVAC System is Right for My Home?

Geothermal HVAC systems come in four types of loop systems that loop the heat to or from the ground and your home. Three of them are closed-loop systems, including horizontal, vertical and pond/lake. The fourth is an open-loop system. Choosing the best type for your home depends on the climate, available land, soil conditions and installation costs. A professional HVAC contractor can help you determine which is best for your property.

Horizontal: This type of geothermal system is usually most cost-effective for residential installations, especially in new constructions where there’s sufficient land available. It requires trenches that are at least four feet deep.

Vertical: This type of geothermal system is used for larger in installations, such as commercial buildings, where there’s a limited amount of land or the soil is too shallow to bury horizontal loops. Vertical loop systems are usually more expensive, but they require less land and minimize disturbance to the existing landscape.

Pond/Lake: If the property has an adequate body of water, this might be the least expensive option. A supply line pipe runs underground from the property to the water and coils at least eight feet underground to prevent freezing. A service tech should place the coils in a water source that meets minimum volume, depth and quality requirements.

Open-Loop System: This type of system uses well as the heat exchange fluid. This option is only practical with an adequate supply of relatively clean water. It also must meet all local codes and regulations for groundwater discharge.

What are the Benefits of a Geothermal HVAC Installation?

Installing a geothermal HVAC system costs more than installing an air-source unit that has the same heating and cooling capacity. But you can recoup the extra cost in energy savings within 10 years. Geothermal HVAC systems also make homeowners eligible for federal tax credits. The heat pump portion of the system has an average lifespan of more than 20 years, and the underground infrastructure can last up to 50 years.

Are you interested in learning more about how geothermal HVAC systems help homeowners save energy and money while reducing their carbon footprint? Or maybe you’d like to schedule an installation. For professional help, contact Warren-Hay at 843-492-0166. We look forward to helping you harness the power of the earth’s energy.

Image provided by Thinkstock

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