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About: Geothermal by nataliemikosz
September 3, 2008, 3:40 pm
Filed under: Technology | Tags: ,

Geothermal heating has frequently been used to refer to the heating and cooling that can be achieved through the use of a geothermal heat pump. This technique is generally for residential use. It involves a refrigerant liquid being pumped through pipes in the ground, heating the liquid. This liquid then is brought back into the house, and the heat exchanged. The same technique is used to cool the house. Geothermal heat pumps take advantage of the natural constant temperature of the earth. During winter when the ground temperature is warmer than the air above it, geothermal heat pumps use the earth’s soil (or groundwater) to recover the earth’s heat. In contrast, an air-source heat pump will remove heat from the cold outside air and thus requires more energy. In the summer months, geothermal heat pumps deliver heat to the same relatively cool soil (or groundwater) rather than delivering it to the hot outside air. As a result, the heat is pumped over a smaller temperature difference with a geothermal heat pump and this leads to higher efficiency and lower energy use. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_heating)

A diagram of the different types of a residential geothermal system

A diagram of the different types of a residential geothermal system

As with most innovative sustainable technologies, the initial cost of a geothermal system can be rather high (on average $20,000 for a 2,000 square foot house), but it will pay for itself after some time. If you spend $2000 annually to heat your 2,000 square foot house, then your system will be paid off after 10 years, and you will no longer need to pay to heat or cool your house. Another advantage of utilizing a geothermal system versus wind or solar power is the constant heat exchange; while solar and wind power are only beneficial if the proper conditions are present.

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