The Basic Features and Functions of a Geothermal Heat Pump

What most people say they like most of all about a geothermal heating and cooling system is that it has so little in the way of moving parts. There’s just that much less that can go wrong– that much less requiring maintenance. And that by itself plays a significant role in reducing the overall energy costs of Kalkaska homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.


That said, the system isn’t free of all moving parts. Most of them are found in its most essential component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the system’s workhorse. Its role is to transfer heat. And it transfers heat either from the ground into your house or from your house into the ground, depending on seasonal temperatures. Consequently, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner integrated into one unobtrusive package.

The medium by which a heat pump transfers heat is either water or an antifreeze solution. This liquid flows through loops of underground pipes to which the heat pump is linked above ground. During heating season the liquid draws heat from the ground, the heat pump draws the warm liquid up into refrigerant coils, and the heat is then is distributed throughout a home by either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season the exact opposite happens: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it underground by way of those same buried loops. Oh, and somewhere in the process, more than a few geothermal systems also supply domestic hot water.

The crucial difference between a geothermal heat pump and a more familiar furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t set fuel burning to generate heat. Instead it takes heat that’s already there and merely moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Understand this, too: underground temperatures most often stay at around 50º F through the year. Result? A geothermal heating and cooling system requires substantially less energy to cool your home than regular air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system what’s needed for your Kalkaska home? Look to this region’s geothermal experts, the friendly gang at Kalkaska Pumbing & Heating Inc..