How Does Geothermal Heating and Cooling Work?

Geothermal heating is a passive solar energy that is stored in the ground.  Using a loop field filled with an antifreeze solution, we can extract that heat, compress it to make it hotter and heat your home or business.  In warmer seasons, the heat pump is reversed so the ground becomes a heat sink.  It is similar to the way your refrigerator works, but on a much larger scale.

Image courtesy of NASA ERBE


There are three main types of loop fields.  Slinky loop fields are the most invasive to your yard, but are the most cost effective.  Horizontal boring is the option to use if you have mature trees or have already done extensive landscaping.  If you are on a city lot or have more rock than soil, vertical wells are the way to go.  Each of these systems are filled with a blend of antifreeze and water, and when done correctly work equally well.

Each loop field is filled with an antifreeze solution to utilize the ground as a heat source/heat sink.


Once the fluid in the loop field reaches ground temperature, it is brought back into the heat pump.  There, the heat is extracted, passed over different heat exchangers and finally brought past the fan (in forced air systems).  In radiant heating systems, the heat is transferred to a different fluid and either stored in a tank, or pushed through the in floor radiant tubing as needed.

Long story short, by using the laws of physics and thermodynamics, geothermal heat pumps run 3 to 4 times as efficiently as standard gas or electric heat sources, and by doing so, save you quite a bit of money.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply