Thursday, April 16, 2009

Geothermal heat pumps

The energy obtained from the inside of the earth is called geothermal energy. Geothermal energy can be put to many uses. One of the most common applications of geothermal energy is a geothermal heat pump.

The upper ten feet of the earth’s surface maintains a constant temperature. During winters, this temperature is warmer than the air above it and in summers, this ground temperature is cooler than the air above it. The geothermal heat pumps take advantage of this fact for heating and cooling buildings.

A geothermal heat pump consists of three parts- heat exchanger, heat pump unit and air delivery system. The heat exchanger consists of pipes called loop. The heat exchanger is buried in the ground near the building. A fluid flows through the pipes and absorbs or releases heat within the ground.

During winters, the geothermal heat pump removes the heat from the heat exchanger and pumps it into the air delivery system to keep the buildings warm. During summers, the geothermal heat pumps move the heat from the air delivery system into the heat exchanger thus cooling the building. The heat removed from the geothermal heat pumps during summers can be used to heat water as well and thus provide a free source of heating water.

Geothermal heat pumps use less energy than the conventional heating systems because the energy is drawn from the ground. Also the geothermal heat pumps are not very expensive. They are easy to use, install and maintain. They are beneficial for the environment as well as they do not cause any pollution.

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