The Basic Science of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Quite a few residents here in Central New Jersey, New Jersey, have sought CMS Geothermal to upgrade their homes to geothermal homes. Still need convincing about geothermal heating and cooling yourself? Understanding a smidgen of the science behind it – and the mechanics as well – would undoubtedly help.

We’ve written elsewhere about the merits of geothermal heating and cooling. Suffice it to say here that hardly any other manner of maintaining an agreeable home environment year-round are as efficient, trustworthy, or ultimately low-cost, especially when you size up the energy savings.

Here’s how geothermal works that magic.

Thar’s Gold Heat in Them Thar Hills!

We dig in the earth for precious metals. We dig in the earth for oil. Now, as never before, we’re tapping the earth for a commodity likely just as valuable to the majority 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 about 33,000 feet under our feet – is a mantle of magma. This is a molten and semi-molten brew, primarily of silicates, in which temperatures run from 1300 degrees Fahrenheit to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit and hotter the deeper you go (not that you’d want to go there!). What this serves to do 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 Central New Jersey (and essentially everywhere stateside, anyway) 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 function, then, of a geothermal heating and cooling system is to|Underground temperatures being what they are, then, it’s the task 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 environment is maintained at the ideal temperature to keep you and your family happy throughout the year.

The appiance that handles the transfer is a geothermal heat pump. It continuously circulates water or some solution (predominantly antifreeze) between your home and loops of pipe (predominantly made 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 travels through the loops, it absorbs heat from the earth and is reintroduced to your home warm. In Summer, the process is reversed: warm liquid enters the loops, where it’s cooled by the cooler ground temperatures before it’s returned to your home. Want details? You’ll find more comprehensive information on ground loops here.

The primary point is that geothermal heating and cooling systems don’t produce energy. They’re not 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 don’t only run quieter but also prove much more trustworthy, need less maintenance, have much longer lifespans, and are more environmentally friendly than old-school HVACs. That’s also why, ultimately, you’ll save much more more money by going geothermal.

Curious now? Talk with CMS Geothermal, your Central New Jersey geothermal heating and cooling specialist, today.