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What It Is - Fundamentals


Geothermal Equipment A geothermal heating and cooling system consists of three main pieces of equipment:

  • Underground loops of piping act as a heat exchanger. When the liquid antifreeze solution passes through the loops, it absorbs heat from the ground, which causes it to evaporate.
  • An indoor heat pump unit includes the condenser coils. When the heated antifreeze vapor passes through the coils, it gives up its heat to the surrounding air and condenses back into a liquid.
  • An air-handling system takes the heated air and moves it through ductwork to individual rooms.

During the summer, a reversing valve switches the indoor coil to act as the "evaporator" and the underground pipes to act as the condenser

Learn more about: The Anatomy of a Geothermal Heat Pump

In addition to the primary equipment, other components are integral, including:

Not all geo systems are alike - most provide summer air conditioning, but some models are designed only for winter heating.

Geothermal heat pumps also can be different in the way they're designed. Self-contained units combine the blower, compressor, heat exchanger and coil in a single cabinet.

All components of a geothermal system - except the underground loops - are placed inside a building, usually in the basement, garage or crawl space. Because they're indoors, the compressor and other vital parts are protected, with most having a life span of 20 years or more.

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