Heating and cooling a home absorbs a disproportionate amount of a homeowner's budget. For some homeowners, the cost of keeping a home comfortable can be reason enough to consider going off the grid. If you are looking for a way to reign in your utility costs, a ground-source heat pump might be just what you need. In fact, such a heat pump might just be the most energy-efficient to provide year-round comfort for your home.
What Does the Term Ground-Source Mean?
A heat pump heats a home by extracting heat from an area outside of your home and then expelling it into your home. By reversing the function of the coils it uses, a heat pump can extract heat from your home and vent it outside to provide cooling. In the case of a ground-source heat pump, you have a specially designed set of coils buried in the ground outside of your home. Because the temperature of the earth just five to ten feet below the surface stays at a constant 50–60 degrees year round, a ground-source heat pump can function more efficiently than the more common air-source heat pump, which looks and functions more or less like an AC unit.
How Efficient Is a Ground-Source Heat Pump?
Heat pumps are most efficient when the outside temperature is moderate. This is a problem for air-source heat pumps because air temperatures can fluctuate wildly. On the other hand, if you can tap into the consistent temperatures below the earth's surface, you get a much more efficient HVAC system. In fact, a ground-source heat pump can reach efficiency levels of up to 600%. In other words, for every unit of electricity your heat pump uses, it will create 6 units of heat or cooling.
How Do You Go off the Grid?
If you want to make going off the grid more than a fond dream, a heat pump is still a good choice. Because a heat pump runs on electricity, all you have to do is install a set of solar panels or a wind-turbine. With the energy thus created, you can meet the heating and cooling needs of your home without paying for any electricity from the local power company.
A ground-source heat pump may not be the first thing that springs to the mind of the average homeowner when contemplating ways to heat and cool a home, but it should be. If you are looking for an efficient, money-saving way to keep your home comfortable, talk to an HVAC contractor like Actionaire Inc to see if a ground-source heat pump could work for you.