Once thought to be only economically viable for energy utility companies to install, there are now residential geothermal heat pumps available that are suitable for new properties or can be retro-fitted to older buildings.
Fortunately the time is coming when more and more people are looking for ways to reduce their energy consumption by better home insulation, reducing their personal carbon footprint by generating their own energy from renewable energy sources and, in turn, reducing their energy bills. However, not everyone wants to have wind turbines or solar panels on their property and the alternative might be to have a residential geothermal heat pump.
What is a Geothermal Heat Pump?
In the simplest terms possible a residential geothermal heat pump transfers heat from the ground under and around your home, up and into it. The heat gained can then be used to warm up water that can be pumped around you home for heating, or be used as the domestic hot water feed.
Geothermal heat pumps require vertical coils to be fitted down to 600 feet or more to collect the heat stored in the ground; and an analogy for how a geothermal heat pump works would be your fridge, taking heat from one place and putting it elsewhere. So, in cold weather a geothermal heat pump can move heat stored in the ground up to your home, but in hot weather it can reverse that process – keeping your home cool. So no not only will you reduce your heating bills, but you also won’t need air conditioning – now how cool would that be in saving money and reducing your carbon footprint?
Advantages of Geothermal Heat
Apart from taking advantage of a completely free and constantly renewable source of energy, when installed residential geothermal heat pumps make no impact whatsoever on the landscape. All of the working parts for geothermal heat pumps are below ground or inside your property, meaning that gaining planning permission to install geothermal heating should be no problem at all.
Of course you will need to make sure that the drilling equipment to install the coils can access the land around your property. So, other than some disruption during the fitting of the geothermal system there will be no lasting environmental impact arising from it.
Residential geothermal pump systems are known to reduce fuel bills by 70% or more, they require very little maintenance and are guaranteed to drastically reduce your Carbon footprint. Geothermal systems can also be integrated into an existing hot water heating system, such as under floor heating or radiators and will add value to your property; which in these times of housing market downturns has to be an extra bonus.
Who Can Have Geothermal Heating Fitted?
At one time geothermal heating was only associated only with areas that have hot springs and geysers. The fact is that the sun warms up the surface earth and rocks, which then act like a giant radiator storing the heat energy and slowly releasing it. Geothermal pumps take advantage of all this stored heat energy and help to channel it into your home’s domestic systems.
However, having said that, not everywhere will be suitable for residential geothermal heat pumping. Things like the underlying geology and levels of local water-tables have to be taken into account. Installing geothermal heating will require you to use a specialist company, who will carry out a thorough survey of your local conditions and be able to advise you on whether or not to proceed with purchasing a geothermal heating system.
Photo by Bryn Pinzgauer, Creative Commons Attribution License