How Does Geothermal Heating Work in the Winter?

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You may wonder how a geothermal heating system works during the winter months. After all, it’s very cold outside. The truth is that geothermal heating systems aren’t affected at all by the cold, and that’s part of the advantage to using them.

What Is a Geothermal Heating System?

A geothermal heating system extracts heat from the ground. Even when it’s freezing cold outside, if you go far enough underground, the temperature stays a constant 54 degrees Fahrenheit. This system takes advantage of this by transferring heat from the ground to your home.

Geothermal heating systems, also known as ground-source heat pumps, consist of an above-ground unit and a series of tubes buried under the frost line. The tubes, called heat exchangers, have fluid in them that extracts heat. Depending on where you live, the frost line is somewhere between 0 and 8 feet underground.

Burkholder's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. is an HVAC company based in Emmaus, PA. We’ve been installing geothermal heating systems for many years.

Loops: Horizontal vs. Vertical

The tubes can be installed either horizontally or vertically, depending on how much space the HVAC company has to work with. A horizontal system needs a lot of space, so it won’t work if you have a small yard.

In a vertical loop system, each tube goes straight down up to 600 feet. The choice between a vertical and horizontal system depends on factors like climate, soil conditions and the price of different designs.

Sizing a Geothermal Heating System

The HVAC company will size the geothermal heating system according to how much heat your home needs on the coldest day of the year. On that day, your geothermal heat pump will run continuously throughout the day. This is perfectly normal, so it is nothing to worry about. Even on this day, geothermal heating systems are very inexpensive to operate when compared to other heating system types.

At Burkholder's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., we repair, install and tune up heating and cooling systems. Our other services include indoor air quality, duct cleaning, home and duct performance tests, zoning, and inspections. Get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment.