Geothermal heating and cooling systems and traditional air heat pumps are excellent, environmentally-friendly ways to heat and cool your home. They each have pros and cons and function in somewhat different ways, but both use little traditional energy for functioning, which is their main advantage. While they work to varying efficiencies in different climates, in almost all cases, they are both more efficient than traditional devices for home heating and cooling. Their cooling performance is usually comparable to conventional forced-air air conditioning systems, but their operating costs are magnitude lower.
Like any traditional home heating and cooling/HVAC system, these are not the kinds of devices that you can purchase on the open market and drop into place in your home. They need to be installed by trained professionals, with many different steps and skills required to complete the HVAC system installation. The necessary jobs are known as geothermal heating and cooling system installation services and heat pump installation services.
In this article, we’ll provide you with the information that you need to know about geothermal heating and cooling systems and heat pumps. First, we’ll highlight the differences between geothermal heating and cooling system installation services and heat pump installation services. Next, we’ll talk a bit about what exactly these systems are, and how they work, about the differences between geothermal and air-source heat pump systems. Then, we’ll dig into the details of the installation processes for geothermal systems and air-source heat pump systems in turn.
As mentioned above, the main differences between geothermal heating and cooling system installation services and heat pump installation services stem from the difference between these two types of technologies, and everything associated with them. While they both work on similar principles (as we’ll explain in greater detail in the next section), the main difference is that geothermal heating and cooling systems use the earth heat as an energy source, whereas regular heat pumps (more commonly known as air-source heat pumps in the US) use the air as the heat source.
Naturally, this means that when it comes to geothermal heating and cooling system installation services, there tends to be much more extensive work to do, since a great deal of piping and other elements must be installed into the ground, as opposed to the relatively limited pipeline required for air-source heat pumps. At the same time, it should not be surprising, given the overall similarities in functions and design, that typically many heat pump installation companies do both (and perhaps other types of HVAC installations as well). In this case, they don’t distinguish themselves as geothermal heating and cooling system installation services or heat pump installation services and may go by more generic classifications like HVAC installation services or heating and cooling experts or similar terms.
However, if you do find a heat pump installation company that distinguishes itself as either geothermal heating and cooling system installation service or a heat pump installation service company, this is not something wrong. Only, you need to ensure that you are hiring the right kind of geothermal or air-source heat pump installation company to match the type of intended HVAC system.
Geothermal and air-source heat pump systems are both used for home heating and cooling. Geothermal and air-source heat pumps are generally low-energy users and are considered environmentally friendly as a result. Geothermal and air-source heat pumps work on the principle of using a heat sink or source, and the difference between that source and the air temperature in a home. That is accomplished via either a gas to liquid conversion loop or a liquid to gas conversion loop. Either may be hybridized to some extent with more traditional types of home heating and cooling and may be outfitted with various features like gas-fired burners or secondary coolant loops for heating or cooling, respectively, when conditions do not allow optimal heat pump functioning.
While this all sounds reasonable technical, geothermal heating and cooling installation services and heat pump installation services generally describe their functioning to consumers in a straightforward manner.
As most geothermal and air heat pump installation services companies point out, the main reason, why people prefer geothermal and air heat pump systems, is efficiency. Even setting aside environmental considerations for a moment, the operating cost and energy efficiency on a heat pump or geothermal unit is typically on the order of 200-600% more efficient than traditional gas, oil, or electric counterparts. Though in almost all cases, geothermal heating and cooling systems especially have a more significant initial cost than comparable units – the savings come over time from the lower operational costs.
The exact steps and processes involved with installing a geothermal heating and cooling system will vary somewhat based on the specifics of the design, geothermal heating, and cooling system installation services company, and circumstances. Whether these systems are being retrofitted into an existing home or office or built into new construction, will also make a huge difference in the cost, workload, and order of the geothermal or air heat pump installation process. Consumers usually aren’t directly involved in the new house or office construction, so we’re going to focus on the geothermal and air heat pump installation process in an existing home or office. In general, the geothermal heating and cooling system installation process can be described as follows:
Air heat pump installation services are very comparable to the geothermal heat pump installation services that we highlighted in the previous section. The main difference is that the air heat pump installations do not require piping installation in the ground. Instead, a heat pump condenser/evaporator unit is installed outside the house and bolted to a concrete pad; it usually is about the size of the washing machine. That performs the air-related condensing and evaporating tasks with the circulating coolant. The rest of the operations of the air heat pump installation process and equipment are mostly the same as for geothermal heat pump installations, which is yet another reason why most geothermal heating and cooling system installation services and air heat pump installation services work on both types of systems.
These days, geothermal and air-source heat pump systems for home heating and cooling have become very popular. Geothermal and air heat pump systems are an environmentally friendly and highly efficient way to heat and cool your home or office. Geothermal and air heat pumps both functions are both quite similar to one another, only varying in the heat source/heat sink they use, which we’ll be explained in a bit more detail later in this article. Geothermal and air heat pumps both tend to be far more efficient for home heating than traditional gas, oil, or electric boilers, or forced-air heater, meaning significantly reduced utility bills in winter months. Geothermal and air heat pumps also may do an effective job of cooling homes as well in the warmer months, so it’s a win-win.
As with most other kinds of HVAC systems, though, these units can be a bit more complicated, with several moving parts and different systems involving electricity, plumbing, and other related disciplines. Geothermal and air heat pumps like any other kind of appliance or home system need regular maintenance to ensure they remain in top operating condition. Even with proper maintenance, though, there will occasionally be breakdowns necessitating geothermal, air heat pump repair expert support. When a problem with geothermal or air heat pumps strikes, it’s best to call on professionals from geothermal heating and cooling system repair services or heat pump repair services.
In the article, we will highlight the differences between geothermal heating and cooling system repair services and heat pump repair services. Next, we’ll dig into greater detail as to what geothermal and air-source heat pump systems are, and how they compare to one another. Then, we’ll discuss some of the advised everyday maintenance tasks, and the common repair issues and parts that tend to break down or have the highest propensity to cause headaches for owners. Finally, we’ll offer some advice on choosing the appropriate geothermal heating and cooling system repair or heat pump repair services company for your needs.
The differences between geothermal heating and cooling system repair services and heat pump repair services generally stem from the differences in the underlying technologies of these two systems. Geothermal and air heat pump systems work on similar principles and have the same mechanical elements, so it is quite common to find companies that do both kinds of tasks. Also, depending on the area and other factors, all these skills may be brought under the heading of a single heating and cooling systems installation company, which handles all kinds of heating and cooling installations.
Regarding the specific differences between the systems, it all comes down to the heat sink or heat source. Air-source heat pumps use air as the source of heat, the exchange of air, interacting with the condenser/evaporator unit and coolant loops, is how it works. Geothermal systems work on the same principle, only they use the earth's warmth, the constantly mild temperature underground, as the energy source and heat sink, instead of the air heat.
With all of that said, make sure that your local geothermal heating and cooling system repair services or heat pump repair services company that you choose has the expertise and experience about the type of air or geothermal heat pump system you have. For advice on how to select the right heat pump repair services company for your needs, see the choosing the right company section near the end of this article.
As mentioned above, geothermal and air-source heat pumps are mostly similar, though vary in their ultimate heat source/heat sink used. It means that the internal (in the house or office) hardware is very same. In both cases, existing forced-air system ductwork can usually be used. Both types of heat pump systems typically use an air handler cabinet, and a blower fan to force the cooled or heated air through the ductwork in the home. The differences generally start at the plumbing interface, before the coolant loops go outside the house.
In the case of a traditional air heat pump system, the coolant loops run to a condenser/evaporator unit outside the home (the familiar, washing machine-sized device that many have with their home air conditioning systems). That is where the heat transfer takes place and after the coolant loops go back into the home and to the heat pump unit.
Geothermal units, by contrast, have no outdoor exposed parts, which is one of their advantages regarding maintenance and service life. As the plumbing manifold, the coolant loops run out of the home into the ground, usually quite a way below ground. The heat exchange happens here as the loops run through the 50 to 60° F constant underground temperature. Then the loops proceed back into the home and plumbing system of the heat pump unit.
As most geothermal heating and cooling system repair services and heat pump repair services will point out, this means that geothermal systems are usually much more efficient at heating and cooling than traditional heat pump systems. Typically, a conventional heat pump offers 200-300% greater efficiency than old oil or gas furnaces. Geothermal systems tend to double that, usually have a minimum of 300% and a maximum of 600% greater efficiency.
Naturally, these differences in heat pump system design and sources/placement of heat exchange mechanisms present some differences in the typical maintenance and potential repair tasks that may be needed for each heat pump system. While the lack of an outdoor condenser/evaporator is a definite advantage to the service life and maintenance needs of a geothermal heat pump system, geothermal heating, cooling system repair services, and geothermal heat pump repair services companies point out that it can also be a disadvantage. If something breaks down in a traditional air heat pump system in the condenser/evaporator, it is relatively easy to access for repairs or any replacements. If something happens to the heat pump geothermal cooling loops, buried deep in the earth, a costly excavation, repair, and replacement may be needed.
In general, though, problems or repairs tend to be rare, especially on heat pump systems that are well maintained by their owners. Geothermal heating and cooling system repair services and heat pump repair services recommend annual maintenance tune-ups on both types of heat pump systems, typically consisting of the following tasks:
Even with regular heat pump maintenance, though, it is possible that either type of system can break down and stop working. The most common types of repairs that geothermal heating and cooling system repair services and heat pump repair services undertake include:
The best choice is usually the geothermal or air heat pump repair services company that installed your geothermal or air heating, cooling unit (assuming they offer heat pump repair and maintenance services as well, which most do). Failing that, there are many reputable air or geothermal heat pump system repair and maintenance services companies around. If you’re sure they work on the type of heat pump you have, then there are a few other key criteria to consider before making your selection of the right air or geothermal heat pump system repair services company to meet your needs. These considerations include:
In conclusion, geothermal heat pumps and air-source heat pump systems are both excellent choices for heating and cooling your home. They may cost much more upfront, but you will receive substantial long-term savings in your energy costs over the life of the units. Preventative heat pump maintenance in the form of an annual checkup is best to ensure your geothermal heating and the cooling unit keeps working the way it should. If something does go wrong, experts from geothermal heating and cooling system repair services and heat pump repair services can identify the problem and get it repaired, so that you can once again enjoy the comfortable climate you crave in your home.