Geothermal Heating and Cooling relies on exchanging energy with the ground, ground water or bodies of water. In the Central Ohio climate, the ground several feet below the surface maintains a constant temperature year round of about 55 degrees fahrenheit.
In the summer, heat is extracted from the home and tranfered into the earth. In the winter, heat is extracted from the ground and tranfered into the home.
Geothermal systems are more efficient that tradition heating and cooling systems because you are not "creating" heat or cold, just moving the energy from one place to another.
To accomplish this efficiently and to turn chilly 55 degree ground water or soil into warm 72 - 90 degree air, a geothermal heat pump is required, Using pumps and a heat tranfer medium - fluid or water in tranfer pipes, the heat pump concentrates the energy from a large area in the ground into a small coil where circulating air picks it up and distributes it throughout the home and can function year round.
In contrast, an air source heat pump uses ambient air from outside your home from which to draw heat energy, On colder days - about 34 degrees and below, an air source heat pump cannot draw enough energy from the air to provide continuous heat in the home so a backup heat source is required.
There are several types of commonly used geothermal heating systems - the one we use most commonly is a vertical closed-loop well system. It can be installed on virtually any lot and is very consistent.
Other common system types include open-loop, horizontal slinky and pond slinky systems,
Geothermal systems are the most efficient non-passive way to heat and cool your home, but we recommend that you look at the initial cost vs. the potential monthly energy savings. In a poorly insulated home, they initial cost will quickly be recovered, but in a high performance highly insulated home requiring very little heating or cooling to begin with, the payback period can be substantially longer.