Geothermal Heat Pumps

Implement an efficient home heating and cooling system that harnesses the underground energy of the earth.

  • Just feet below the earth’s surface is a source of heat that stays constant through most of the year and is just waiting to be harnessed. Including a geothermal heating and cooling system in the plans of your new home or remodel will prove to be cost-effective.
    Cover courtesy of PixyJack Press
  • “Power with Nature” by Rex A. Ewing explores the effective methods of powering the modern world with renewable energy systems.
    Cover courtesy of PixyJack Press

Power With Nature (PixyJack Press, 2012), by Rex A. Ewing, is a practical guide for self-reliant homeowners planning to decrease energy costs and careless usage by harnessing the free energy of the earth. Ewing has written multiple books on renewable energy and powers his own residence with solar and wind energy. The methods he shares are effective and combine modern living with natural solutions. This excerpt talks about heating and cooling a home from underground by implementing geothermal pumps.

Most of the energy solutions in this book, Power With Nature (PixyJack Press, 2012), come from the great, untapped potential of the sunlight and breezes overhead. Mount a solar-electric array in the midday sun and you’ll have ample electricity. Or stick a wind turbine high up on a tower and let an unsettled solar-heated atmosphere toast your bread and run your stereo system. For hot water all you need are a few solar hot-water collectors on your roof where the sun can do what the sun does best. Firewood, which is stored sunshine, is a pleasant source of heat for anyone with a chainsaw and a ready supply of dead trees. It’s all quite elementary; the sky is where it’s happening.

And yet for home heating and cooling, there is another source of energy—largely but not entirely originating from the sun, that may be the best solution of all. It lies right beneath your feet. Say 5 to 8 feet down. That’s about the level where the effects of the different seasons are so gradual they barely fluctuate; where all the year’s hot days mix with the cold ones in a terra-firma stew that never really ever warms or cools. In the northern states the deep ground will stay a fairly constant 45 degrees – 50 degrees Fahrenheit all year long, while Southerners can expect constant ground temps of 50 degrees – 70 degrees.

But is this really good news for those of you living in the North Dakota hinterland, where winter heating bills rival the mortgage and cordwood procurement becomes a blinding obsession? Yes; especially you. It’s just a matter of changing the way you think about heating.

In many ways the Earth is like a magic battery capable of collecting the oppressive warmth of the summer sun and storing it until winter, when you really need it to heat your house. So efficient is this battery that with a properly sized and installed system you will never have to burn another gallon of propane, natural gas or fuel oil to keep your house warm, and — as an added bonus — the Earth also stores the waste heat from your home’s air conditioning until the mercury plummets and the snow flies.

Too good to be true? Not at all. Tens of thousands of people are proving every day that it is both practical and cost effective to heat and cool your house with the energy stored in the ground. It’s just a matter of moving heat back and forth using the same clever science that makes refrigerators and air conditioners possible: the common heat exchanger.

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