Ground Source Heating Explained

Energy efficiency doesn't consistently demand looking to the sun for energy or buying electric cars. Frequently, greater energy productivity comes from within the soil under our feet. Ground source warming takes the old concepts of a heat pump and gives it a new twist that makes it more efficient than ever before..
The Science Behind Ground Source Heating


Ground source heat pumps, or GSHPs, are electrical heating and cooling systems that work by using the stable air found within the ground. Below the frost line, the air in the ground stays at a stable 50 to 60 degrees, and a GSHP allows homeowners to take advantage of that stable air. In addition to keeping homes at a comfortable temperature, these systems will also provide hot water for the building. They work by using pipes buried in the ground to collect warmer air from the ground in the winter and remove warmer air from the building in the summer.

System Types

There are two different types of GSHP systems. One is a closed loop system that sends water or antifreeze circulating through plastic pipes that are buried in the ground. This system is used in areas where the pipes will be installed in solid dirt, without the benefit of an external water supply like a pond. Properties with a suitable water supply like a pond can use an open loop system.

Simplicity and Efficiency

A GSHP eliminates the need to have multiple systems. Rather than having a furnace and air conditioning compressor, business and home owners will only have one system to maintain a comfortable temperature. The system also preheats water, allowing the hot water tanks to work more effectively. A GSHP can keep the building warm throughout the winter by moving in high volumes of air and saturating the living space with warm, comfortable air. In the summer, the warm air that becomes uncomfortable is pumped into the earth to remove it from the home.

Safe, Quiet and Durable

GSHPs are known for being extremely quiet. There are no noisy outdoor units near the patio, and the indoor equipment takes up about as much space as a traditional furnace. They are safer than traditional HVAC units because there are no outdoor units. Because they are electric, the concern of open flames or gas leaks is also eliminated.


GSHPs are expensive to install, but they offer several ways to save money. The maintenance is lower, so you will save on annual maintenance expenses. While the initial installation costs more than a traditional system, GSHPs are 50 to 70 percent more efficient than a traditional furnace and 20 to 40 percent more effective than an air conditioner. This represents a substantial energy savings. Estimates show that a GSHP will pay for itself in three to five years with the energy savings alone. The government is currently offering tax rebates of up to 30 percent for GSHPs, providing a way to make the systems more affordable. Some local utility companies and states are also offering incentives for purchasing these systems.

The evidence shows that GSHPs are more efficient than traditional HVAC systems. They offer substantial energy savings to homeowners and businesses alike. The systems should be installed by professionals to ensure that they are installed safely and correctly. If you have been considering upgrading to a more energy-efficient HVAC system, take another look at the benefits provided by geothermal heat pumps.

Unlike solar panels that require sunshine and maintenance, ground source heat has a constant source of energy.

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