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A Home Geothermal Heating and Cooling Primer

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If someone were to mention using geothermal energy as an alternative to traditional appliances to heat and cool your house, you would probably instantly think of a giant volcano or massive underground drills! However, as it turns out, scientists have found a way to manipulate the temperature of the earth's surface (and the area just underneath) to heat and cool the inside of your house efficiently and economically. There is more to the science behind it than that, but we'll keep it simple.
A Home Geothermal Heating and Cooling Primer
Courtesy of Dandelion Energy

What is geothermal energy?

To put it simply, geothermal energy is the energy that is stored in the earth and is responsible for the temperature of matter. The word geothermal comes from the Greek 'Geo' meaning 'earth, and 'Therme' meaning 'heat.' Scientists have figured out a way to harness the energy that is naturally occurring underneath the earth (specifically underneath your property) and use it to both heat and cool the inside. If you have gone into a basement or cellar, you may notice that it is often a consistent temperature despite it being underground. This is because of the wonders of geothermal energy - the temperature up to 40 feet below the earth's surface manages to consistently stay between 50 and 60 degrees, no matter what the weather is outside.

Keeping your house warm and cool with geothermal energy

Now that we understand how geothermal energy keeps the temperature underneath your house at a constant and quite pleasant temperature, how does this help create warmth or cooling the home above the ground? The best and most efficient way is to drill underneath the house and lay special pipes down underground. Each company offering geothermal heating and cooling solutions will be slightly different in their approach. Still, they will work in the same general way – water in the pipes will change temperature and will either be colder or warmer than the outside air. Then special pumps will draw this warmer or cooler air up through the house and can be controlled by you to ensure that the air in your home is whatever temperature you want. A geothermal heating and cooling system will use the energy stored underground to create heated air in the colder months and cooler air in the summertime. All controlled by you!

Just think how nice it would be to have every room in the house be kept at a consistently comfortable temperature year-round, from the bedrooms to the living areas and even the kitchen.

Cost of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

As a homeowner, the cost of keeping your home a favorable temperature year-round is going to be of high importance, especially if you live in a fluctuating climate where it's hot in summer and below freezing in winter. It is crucial to keep in mind the long-term cost of any heating or cooling systems – the cheaper appliances can end up using a lot more power, and therefore be more expensive in the long run.

So, it can be worth a slightly more significant investment for a system that will be cheaper to run and manage and have a longer life expectancy. Installation of geothermal heating and cooling systems may seem expensive at first (costing upwards of $10,000 to $30,000 to connect); however, this can be broken down into monthly payments, and the lowering of future power bills means that it can eventually end up paying for itself.

Some companies, such as Dandelion Energy offer geothermal systems for no money down and payments as low as $150 per month, making them affordable for a majority of homeowners.

The technology speaks for itself. Not only is it an economical and effective way of heating and cooling, but it is also nearly carbon-neutral, so it will not hurt the environment. It is a fantastic technology that can make the inside of your house a comfortable temperature year-round, and this is worth every penny.

About the author: Robert Beaulieu  is a renovation consultant with a focus on sustainable designs. In his free time, he likes to read about new innovations in architecture and smart home designs. Right now, he is enjoying sharing his passions and expertise through his writing.

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