More homeowners are looking to reduce their impact on the environment while saving money at the same time. Solar power is booming in Florida, but you should also get the facts on geothermal heating if you’re looking for more options.
Geothermal Heating Has a Long History
People have been using geothermal heating for thousands of years. Beginning in prehistory, many cultures have used local hot springs for heat.
Humans have also used stable subterranean temperatures, from root cellars in the winter to insulating from cold with below-ground shelters.
You may be surprised to learn that geothermal technology was introduced as a commercial technique over 100 years ago.
How Geothermal Heating Works
The principles of geothermal heating rely on the temperature differences above and below the earth’s surface. Belowground, temperatures remain stable, despite the weather.
This stable temperature is converted to heat in residential and commercial building with the use of geothermal heat pumps (GHPs).
The heat absorbed by the ground dissipates very slowly, and the underlying layers of earth provide insulation to keep that temperature relatively stable. During the winter, this temperature is usually higher than the outdoor ambient air.
This heat is transferred to buildings by the use of buried pipes that absorb it and transfer it aboveground for distribution by the GHP.
This stable underground temperature is also usually much cooler in the summer than the outdoor air. In Florida, we enjoy a constant underground temperature of about 72 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it particularly efficient for Florida homes.
It can even be used to heat outdoor pools for a year-round swimming season.
Pros and Cons of GHPs
Geothermal heating and cooling represent a sizeable investment. However, as the technology becomes more accessible and demand rises, the cost should soon become more affordable.
Advantages of geothermal
Even at current costs, the advantages outweigh the downsides:
Reduces cooling costs up to 50 percent and heating up to 70 percent providing an excellent return on investment.
Geothermal heat pumps produce fewer pollutants than standard models, making them more eco-friendly
GHPs offer steady operation, while other sustainable methods like solar and wind power vary.
Geothermal offers an endless, renewable source of heating and cooling
GHPs have a longer lifespan than traditional, electric heat pumps.
Disadvantages of geothermal
It sounds too good to be true, so here are some disadvantages for perspective:
Geothermal heat and cooling is currently more expensive for most homeowners to install.
Not all homes can be converted to geothermal energy because of their location, size of property, or high water table.
Installing underground piping for geothermal heat collection can sometimes result in the release of gases below ground.