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How does geothermal work?

No matter what climate you live in, the temperature throughout the year varies. For some climates that means blazing summers that cool to frigid winters. What many people don't realize is that the temperature below ground (regardless of climate or season) stays fairly consistent all year. While air temperatures can vary greatly from day to night or winter to summer, the temperature just a few feet below the earth's surface stays an average 55°-70°F year-round.

The World's best solar collector sun
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The World's Best Solar Collector

The ground is able to maintain temperature consistency because it absorbs 47% of the sun's heat as it hits the Earth's surface. WaterFurnace geothermal systems are able to tap into this free energy with a series of underground pipes called an earth loop. This technology is used to provide your home or office with access to an infinite energy source for heating, air conditioning, and hot water.

Geothermal Heating
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15 Air
55 Ground
Geothermal Heating

As outdoor temps fall, a GHP draws from an underground reservoir of heat, concentrates it, and moves it to your home. Meanwhile, an ordinary heat pump collects heat from frigid winter air, making it least efficient when you need it to be the most. And unlike a furnace, geothermal units don't create heat through combustion. They simply collect and move it.

Geothermal Air Conditioning
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Geothermal Air Conditioning

As outdoor temps rise, a GHP collects the unwanted heat in your home and moves it to the cooler earth. Ordinary heat pumps and air conditioners dump that heat outside, but, unfortunately, hot summer air is already saturated with heat and is less willing to accept more. That makes ordinary cooling systems least efficient when you need them to be the most.

Hot Water Assist
Hot Water Assist

As a WaterFurnace unit runs, it can capture heat that would normally go to waste and divert it to your water heater tank (using an optional component called a desuperheater). Your unit can generate up to 50% of your hot water—at almost no cost. For larger volumes of hot water, we also offer dedicated hydronic units.

Learn more about hydronic units

Infinite Energy For Every Home

A geothermal system uses small-diameter, High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pipes buried underground called a "loop." The loop circulates water to move heat energy to and from your home. It's the heart of a geothermal system and its biggest advantage over ordinary heat pumps, air conditioners and fossil fuel furnaces. The type of loop is based on available space, ground composition and installation costs for specific areas.

  • Horizontal Loop
    Horizontal Loops

    Used where adequate land is available, horizontal loops involve one or more trenches that are dug using a backhoe or chain trencher. High density polyethylene pipes are inserted, and the trenches are backfilled. A typical home requires 1/4 to 3/4 of an acre for the trenches.

  • Vertical Loop
    Vertical Loops

    Vertical loops are used when space is limited. Holes are bored using a drilling rig, and a pair of pipes with special u-bend fittings is inserted into the holes. A typical home requires three to five bores with about a 15-foot separation between the holes.

  • Pond Loop
    Pond/Lake Loops

    If an adequately sized body of water is close to your home, a pond loop can be installed. A series of coiled, closed loops are sunk to the bottom of the body of water. A 1/2 acre, 8-foot-deep pond is usually sufficient for the average home.

  • Open Loop
    Open Loops

    An open loop is used where there is an abundant supply of quality well water. The well must have enough capacity to provide adequate flow for both domestic use and the WaterFurnace unit. 7 Series units require 3-10 GPM, depending on size.

Benefits of Geothermal
Benefits of Geothermal

Geothermal heat pumps are not only the most comfortable way to heat and cool, they also have a number of other benefits. Learn why our units last longer, provide cleaner indoor air, offer unmatched environmental benefits, and more!

Learn more about geothermal benefits
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