The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Plenty of people here in Des Moines, Iowa, have signed on with Sherman Co. LLC to upgrade their homes to geothermal homes. Still need convincing about geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Understanding some of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – may help.

We’ve talked elsewhere about the virtues of geothermal heating and cooling. Suffice it to say here that almost no other manner of maintaining apleasant home environment whatever the season are as efficient, trustworthy, or ultimately thrifty, particularlly when you consider the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal makes that a reality.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We tap the earth for precious metals. We tap the earth for oil. Now, to a heretofore unparalleled degree, we’re tapping the earth for something no doubt just as valuable to most of us: the energy to heat and cool our homes that doesn’t entail oil.

You see, close beneath the earth’s crust – that would be in the neighborhood of 33,000 feet under our feet – is a mantle of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten brew, chiefly 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 Des Moines (and most places stateside, as it were) are warmer than the ambient air above ground in Winter and cooler than the ambient air above ground in Summer.

Time to Get Pumped!

The task, then, of a geothermal heating and cooling system is to|Underground temperatures being what they are, then, it’s the job of a geothermal heating and cooling system to transfer heat from the ground  to your home or heat from your home to the ground, as the season dictates. Either way, your home is maintained at an optimal temperature to keep you and your family comfortable month after month.

The mechanism that accomplishes the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some solution (usually antifreeze) between your home and loops of pipe (usually fabricated of polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, PVC, or CPVC) placed in the ground. In Winter, the liquid is cold when it enters the ground. As it flows through the loops, it absorbs heat from the earth and is returned to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid goes into the loops, where it takes in the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Need details? You’ll find more thorough information on ground loops here.

The key point is that geothermal heating and cooling systems don’t produce energy. They don’t work like central heating systems, which generate heat themselves. Instead, geothermal systems heat and cool your home by putting to use the energy already amply available beneath the earth’s surface. That’s why geothermal systems not only run quieter but also are considerably more trustworthy, need less maintenance, have far longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than standard HVACs. That’s also why, over the long haul, you’ll save a great deal more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Talk with Sherman Co. LLC, your Des Moines geothermal heating and cooling specialist, today.