How does Geothermal Work?
Wherever you live, the temperature beneath your home remains constant regardless of the season. ClimateMaster® Geothermal Heat Pump Systems harness the stable underground temperature to provide heating, cooling, and hot water at remarkably high efficiencies. So high, in fact, that energy use can be cut by up to 80%. As the world’s largest and most progressive leader in clean, renewable geothermal technology, ClimateMaster leads the way with its award-winning Tranquility Series geothermal heat pumps.
Using the Power of the Earth
Nearly half the solar energy our planet receives is absorbed by the ground.
As a result, below the surface the earth remains a constant moderate temperature year-round. This provides an ideal source for heating and cooling your home. Geothermal systems use a sealed underground piping loop filled with circulating water and an ultra high-efficiency Tranquility heat pump to exchange heat between your home and the earth.
In the winter, the earth is your source of heat
Water circulating in the piping loop absorbs heat from the earth and carries it to the heat pump, where it is concentrated and sent as warm, comfortable air throughout your home.
In the summer, the earth is your source of cooling
The heat pump absorbs heat from the air in your home and transfers it to water circulating in the piping loop where it is absorbed by the earth. This provides cool, dehumidified and comfortable air throughout your home.
How Geothermal Saves You Money
Unlike traditional systems that use the air to heat and cool your home, ClimateMaster® systems circulate water through a system of sealed underground piping loops that carry heat to and from the earth to the system. In the heating mode, the system uses the heat from the water to warm air that circulates throughout the house. In the cooling mode, the system reverses the process, taking heat out of the home’s air and circulating the resulting cool, dehumidified air instead.
Because the system has less work to do to reach the desired temperature setting throughout the year, the system is highly efficient and lowers operating costs. A fossil fuel furnace may be 80% to 90% percent efficient; a geothermal heat pump is amazingly 450% efficient.
Another advantage to a geothermal system installed in a new home is that from day one you will be cash flow positive, as the cost of the system each month is lower than the savings you realize on your monthly energy cost!
ClimateMaster’s Clima-Dry option uses the water side of the system to do re-heat after the evaporator coil to dehumidify the space on demand. If there is no heating or cooling call, but the connected humidistat calls for dehumidification, an internal circulator pump and mixing valve directs ground loop water to a coil after the evaporator. The mixing valve modulates to achieve an output air temp of 72 degrees.
The HWG will make more hot water in the heating mode because the annual run time is much higher, and the system head pressure is higher in the heating mode.
The efficiency of the open loop system is affected by the water table. We are using electricity to lift water from the water level in the well up to the home, and then we are pressurizing a tank to 50 lbs which is equal to another 115 ft. In many cases, the closed loop system with 32 degree entering water temperature is more efficient than the open loop system that enjoys 52 degree water at all times
Typically, the average entering water temperature for heating will be a bit higher from a vertical closed loop system. There is less surface area of pipe, but the deep earth temperature is around 52, where the undisturbed ground temperature at 5’ deep is only 47 degrees. Also, in the vertical we are typically in water saturated rock instead of damp soil. However, the difference in operating cost is not enough to offset a larger installation cost.
In nature, heat energy moves from a warmer place to a colder place. Therefore in the heating mode, the water in the pipes of a closed-loop heat exchanger must be colder than the ground around it so that heat energy will flow through the walls of the pipe. How much colder it needs to be depends upon the amount of surface area of pipe we bury, and the run-time of the unit. If the unit is running on low stage for half of the hour, then the water can be warmer because we don’t need as many BTU’s per hour to move compared to constant run of high stage
There is an economic balance point for the size of our ground loop. If we decide to increase the ground loop size in order to keep the water temperatures warmer, we must be sure that we will save enough additional dollars to pay the higher first cost
Why are you recommending one ground loop for two units to share? My other quote includes two separate ground loops.
Installing one ground loop will always be more efficient. If either unit runs longer due to varied loads throughout the home has access to all of the ground contact. During the winter, a first floor unit will address up to 30% of the heating load upstairs, and vice versa in the summer
Is it worth the money and the space to install a dedicated water storage tank for the Hot Water Generator?
Yes, the dedicated tank provides a place to put the heat whenever the unit is running. If the homeowners wash dishes, clothes, and give the kids a bath in the evening, the elements or burners in the water heater will replace those BTU’s in a couple of hours, and then the Geo unit will run all night with nowhere to put the heat