In my monthly meetings with one of my civic organizations, several of our members, who are also Santee Cooper customers, inquired about the effectiveness and efficiency of geothermal heat pumps, so I decided to share just a little energy information with you.
Geothermal heat pumps are very similar to the ordinary heat pumps of today, but instead of using heat from the outside air, they rely on the stable, even heat from the earth to provide heating, air conditioning and, in most cases, hot water.
A geothermal heat pump (or ground source heat pump), uses the natural properties of the earth to provide heating and cooling to a residence or building. Remember, a geothermal heat pump doesn’t create heat by burning fuel like a furnace does. Instead, in the winter it collects the Earth’s natural heat through a series of pipes, called a loop, installed below the surface of the ground or submersed in a pond or lake. Fluid circulates through the loop and carries the heat to the house. Once there, an electrically driven compressor and a heat exchanger concentrate the Earth’s energy and release it inside to the home at a higher temperature. The ductwork distributes the heat to different rooms.
When in the cooling mode, the geothermal heat pump will transfer the excess heat absorbed back into the earth loop and is often used for pre-heating water.
Geothermal systems can also provide supplementary hot water to the residence domestic hot water system, which amounts to “free” hot water at no penalty to the residence.
Santee Cooper customers interested in using geothermal systems for their home can visit www.reducetheuse.com to learn about rebate opportunities or to contact one of our Trade Allies for installation information.