In the past few years, geothermal heating and cooling system have gained popularity among many people. It is estimated that more than 50,000 systems are installed every year. This is due to the fluctuation of heat waves that is witnessed after the hot seasons and cold seasons. This fluctuation of temperatures require efficient heating and cooling systems at homes. Without efficient heating and cooling systems, the electricity used rises hence the cost also rises. For building and home owners, geothermal systems provide an opportunity for cheaper and cleaner cooling and heating systems. This system lower the electricity bills and reduce the negative impact on the environment. The cost of installing these systems are higher as compared to traditional systems they are more efficient and reliable. Here are materials, tools, and steps to follow while installing a geothermal heating and cooling systems.
Steps for installing geothermal heating and cooling systems
1. Purchase a geothermal heating and cooling system
You have a couple of options to consider when purchasing your geothermal heating and cooling systems. These options include: horizontal loops, vertical loops, and water geothermal systems. In horizontal loops geothermal system, a pipe runs in a trench parallel to the ground surface. On the other hand, vertical loop geothermal systems is suitable where the land is too rocky and building of trenches is not possible. Both vertical and horizontal systems are closed loop systems. The water geothermal systems is a well drilled in to the ground to obtain water to be used by the system.
2. Dig holes
You are required to dig holes or trenches for installation of pipes or wells in either horizontal or vertical direction. You can rent a back hoe from home improvement center or tool rental store in order to allow easier digging of hole.
3. Lay pipes and hoses
The pipes for this system need to be laid in agreement to the system that you currently have. In horizontal system the pipes are laid in a trench while in vertical systems the pipes are laid directly to the ground.
4. Install the pump
Replace the pump in your old heating and cooling system. Before you commence on the installation of the system, switch off the main circuit breaker in order to stop the flow of electricity thus avoiding electrocution. Cut the wires and start connecting the wires from the geothermal pump. Make sure that the ground and green wire with ground and red wire of the geothermal pump. It should be noted that white wires are neutral.
5. Connect the loops
Ensure that the loops are connected to the geothermal system according its connection- ground and ground, live to live.
6. Start the pump
Start the pump and open the valves. The pipes for horizontal and vertical systems require a mixture of water and antifreeze in order ensure that the system is running smoothly. However, the water geothermal system will not undergo this step.
How does geothermal systems work?
There three components in a geothermal system that include heat pump, air delivery system and ground heat exchanger. This system rely on the fact that ground is much cooler than ambient air during summer and warmer in winter than ambient air during winter. Generally, the temperate of the earth is between 50 and 70 degree Fahrenheit throughout the year. Geothermal heat pumps have the same principle of operation as that of regular pumps. However, the main difference is that geothermal heat pumps utilize the heat from the ground.
When cooling is needed, a refrigerant circulates through indoor coil. As is circulates it absorbs the heat from humid and warm air passing through it. Therefore, the surrounding becomes drier and cooler and it is passed to the room by using a fan.
After this, the refrigerant goes through a compressor which pressurizes it, turning it into a warm air. This vapor then moves into the condenser which is situated beneath the ground. Since the ground is much cooler than this warmed refrigerant, heat is released by the warmed refrigerant thus becoming cooler again. Since the refrigerant is highly pressurized, it goes to expansion valve where it is depressurized and the cycle begins again.
When heating is needed, the role of underground loops and indoor coil are reversed. The underground loop serves the purpose of evaporator while the indoor coil acts as a condenser.
Are geothermal systems economic?
These systems are more economic than traditional heating and cooling systems. This is because it saves money on operating cost and maintenance. Due to the high efficiency of this systems in many people have adopted these systems in their homes and buildings. People who use these systems normally saves 30-60 percent of the total energy as compared to traditional heating and cooling systems.
Typically, the cost of installing a geothermal system is $2000-$4000 more than installing traditional heating and cooling systems, about $7000-$10000. With 30-60 percent savings on energy, all costs of installation of these systems are recovered in period of 5-10 years. In addition, underground coils last for over 50 years hence making geothermal systems a long term investment.
Moreover, can be increased even more when desuperheater is introduced into the system. A desuperheater is a system that recovers heat that would have otherwise been lost. It captures the heat that is expelled by geothermal system and direct it back to the water supply. These heat can be used for heating water at homes during summer.
What are the environmental benefits of geothermal heating and cooling system?
It is estimated that geothermal heating and cooling system saves 14.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year as compared to traditional heating and cooling systems.
Greatest obstacles of the success of the geothermal systems
The cost of constructing a geothermal system are higher than those of conventional heating systems. These cost can vary depending on the rock or soil type, loop type and ground temperature.
Another major obstacle is the availability of land. Horizontal loops are more costly than vertical loop. Horizontal loops may cover an area of 100 by 500 feet hence require a big space.
In conclusion, geothermal heating and cooling systems will significantly reduce the power bills as compared to conventional systems.