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How GEOthermal Works

Published On: August 08, 2014

One of the biggest users of electricity during the summer is air conditioning. Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) accounts for about half of a home’s annual energy use.

The modern air conditioner was invented by Willis Carrier in 1902 for use in a printing company and while they have become more efficient, reliable, and common in homes, they all work the same as the original. They all have an indoor coil that cools and removes moisture from the home’s air. An outdoor coil dumps heat from the house outside. It takes energy to force heat to flow from inside the house where it’s cool to the hot outdoors. The greater the temperature difference between inside and outside, the more energy it takes.

In addition to raising your thermostat setting, there are things you can do help your air conditioner be more efficient. Changing the air filter frequently, keeping air vents open and unblocked helps air circulate. Sealing the ductwork reduces air leaks. Getting a periodic checkup by a NATE-certified technician is also a good idea.

If you are considering a new HVAC system for your home, you have a lot of choices.

One significant opportunity for reducing the cost of operating your HVAC system is to install a Geothermal or Ground-Source Heat Pump. Geothermal systems use an outdoor coil to get rid of heat to the hot outdoors by using coils buried in the ground – either in horizontal loops , vertical wells, or ponds. Because the temperature of the ground is cooler in the summer than the air, the system doesn’t have to work as hard to cool your home and saves you energy and money. The same system also can reduce your heating costs. Even when the air temperature is below freezing, the ground is much warmer. Most geothermal systems can heat water also.

Geothermal systems are more expensive to install and they should only be installed by a skilled and trained technician. 30% federal tax credit on geothermal systems reduces the cost difference. Check with your local Touchstone Energy Cooperative about incentives and assistance.

For additional information, check out the FAQ by the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association 

Check out this video and additional information on how to choose and install a geothermal system.

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Tip of The Day: LED and CFL bulbs use 75% less energy than traditional bulbs.