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.