Scientist Reveals How Geothermal Heat Pumps Lower Electricity and Increase the Quality of Air

Geothermal Cooling and Heating UnitDo you know Gerald McClain, after numerous years working with geothermal energy leader James Bose at Oklahoma State University, has designed a new home geothermal cooling and heating unit? Heat pumps work as a fridge in reverse, they use electric power to transfer heat from one place to another rather than making heat directly.

For that reason, they can be 2 to 3 times more energy-efficient than typical electric heating units.

What is a Geothermal Heat Pump

A geothermal heat pump is a central heating and/or cooling system that pumps heat to/or from the soil. It uses the earth as a heat source (in the winter) or a heat sink (in the summer months).

The geothermal pump systems are between the most energy efficient systems for providing HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) and water heating.

The installation rates are higher than normal systems (approximately $45,000 reduced by 30 per cent with government tax credit), but the difference is normally returned in energy savings in three to ten years.

How Does it Work?

The Gerald McClain’s geothermal system is based on:

  • 6 one inch diameter pipes sunk 3 hundred feet into the soft red clay below his home
  • A water antifreeze mix in the pipes that picks up the ground’s constant 62 degree F. temperature
  • 3 heat pumps in the attic that use a small electric powered compressor to heat or cool the home

The energy for the pumps costs around $100 a month, much less than the common heating and cooling monthly bill in the area.

Additional Benefits

A well controlled heat pump system not only will help you save electricity, but will also blow dust out of the house, improving interior air quality.

Indoor dust can pose health dangers, especially to young kids. New studies (As published in the epa.gov site in Sept 09) indicates that indoor dust is highly contaminated by persistent and endocrine disrupting substances (such as poly-chlorinated biphenyls).

Heat pumps get energy productivity by transferring heat around as opposed to liberating it. This is not to say there is no air movement with a heat pump, but the heat exchange lowers that process. So does the lack of a cold-cycle as it exists in many conventional air conditioners, which also acts to blow dust through the house.

About The Author: Lorie Wampler publishes articles for the heat pumps reviews blog. It’s a non profit blog centered on her personal knowledge with hvac to cut down energy usage and improve indoor air quality. With this she would like to increase the interest on eco-friendly tips for the home and change the general public perception of energy efficiency.

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