Geothermal Heat Pumps | HVAC Heating & Cooling

Geothermal heat pumps use ground water or water circulated through pipes to exchange heat with the earth. Geothermal, versus air source heat pump systems, use the earths natural temperature to exchange heat and provide heating and cooling. The temperature of the air varies widely with the weather whereas the temperature of the earth is nearly constant and makes the use of a geothermal system ideal for heating and cooling your home or business. It also costs less in energy use because of the constant earth temperature versus the widely varying temperature of the outside air. Geothermal systems make sense and can save lots of money in energy use.

Geothermal Heat Pumps – Operating Costs

Geothermal heat pumps provide you with heating and cooling at nearly half the energy cost that standard air conditioner and heating systems or air source or gas or oil systems cost to run in the typical residential or light commercial setting. The high installation costs of geothermal can be offset by the savings in energy usage over a period of time making these systems ideal for the present and future use. Energy costs are rising every year as finite resources become limited and the world population increases demand for energy. Ground source systems can be a solution to save energy costs in the future. There are some considerations you need to know about having a geothermal system installed for your home or business.

Geothermal Heat Pumps – Requirements

First you need to have a source of water in a large body or a well that can handle the load of a geothermal system. In some cases, if you have a large area of land, a trench can be dug and special geothermal heat pump piping can be installed in the trench to provide a water loop for the geothermal system. The cost of have a well drilled, trench dug, or piping ran to a large body of water can make the installation cost of the geothermal heat pumps rise well above the normal air to air heat or cooling systems however the energy savings realized over a period of time by utilizing a geothermal heat pump system can offset this high installation cost.

Geothermal Heat Pumps – Features and Options

A geothermal heat pump system can come as a split system or it can be a single packaged unit. A geothermal heat pump system will still require the installation of duct work because geothermal systems are forced air systems. An added benefit of a geothermal heat pump system is that some geothermal heat pumps can be fitted to heat water for domestic use so you can use your geothermal heat pump to heat water for your shower and washing dishes. Other geothermal heat pumps  are water to water and can produce hot water for a radiant heating system, used as a pool heater, or used in snow melting. Geothermal heat pump systems are all electric and considered to be more efficient than other forms of heating and cooling.


Geothermal heat pumps closed loop diagram

Geothermal heat pump closed loop diagram

Geothermal heat pumps can be open loop, closed loop, or use a large body of water for the heat exchange process from the Earth. Closed loop systems can be installed either vertically or horizontally if there is enough land for a horizontal installation. Open loop geothermal systems require two or more wells where one well receives the water from the geothermal system and the other well pulls water from the well for the geothermal system. Special piping is used in all applications and when a large body of water is used for the geothermal systems the piping is secured under the water below the average freeze line in the water. Ground source heat pumps.


Here is an excellent video of how a geothermal system heat pump works. Lengthy video and intense discussion of a ground source heat pump system but very good. Geothermal heat pump systems are the most efficient systems used and do not require back-up heat like an air source heat pump system. The cost of installing a geothermal heat pump system is higher but over the long term the savings in energy usage from a geothermal heat pump system to an air to air heat pump system is greater. The discussion includes the payback in energy savings from the cost of installing a geothermal heat pump system. is your source for information concerning geothermal heat pumps, geothermal heating, and heat pump systems. Geothermal Heat Pump Systems are among the most efficient type of heating and cooling systems available today.

Other resources can be found here.

High Performance HVAC

Geothermal Heat Pumps


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  1. I am in the San Diego area, I have a split system that is air cooled with a gas furnace backup. I want to remove the condenser and replace it with a heat exchanger and use my water well to supply the heat exchanger with the water returning to the well, with a electrical shutoff valve on the output of the heath exchanger controlled by the compressor fan that would be removed . If the compressor needs cooling i could rap the compressor with copper cooling coils before it enters the heath exchanger.The well has three check valves to prevent contamination. The well is used for irrigation only. Help Jim ps the water seams to be not hard water

    1. Sounds like you want to build your own water source heat pump. This is probably not a good idea unless you have an engineering background. Geothermal heat pump systems that you can buy from an HVAC geothermal heat pump supplier are specifically engineered with the water coils and the refrigerant coils engineered to work together to provide the appropriate flow for the proper heat exchange between the refrigerant and the water. Wrapping the compressor is not necessary as the compressor is cooled by the refrigerant gas that comes from the evaporator. The well is another important factor and I do not know if an irrigation well is appropriate for a geothermal system. The well or water source for a geothermal system is very important for the proper and reliable operation of the heat pump system. It must have the capacity and quality of water to properly give a good heat exchange ratio with the geothermal heat pump condenser. I’ve seen cases where the wells were sucked dry and the geothermal system would not operate properly. Other cases where the well was drawn low and sucking mud that continuously clogged the water filters so the well is very important to the system as a whole. The better type of geothermal system for the water source, in my humble opinion, is a closed loop system but this requires lots of acreage and/or a large body of water near the home or business where the geothermal system will be operating. If you want a reliable system that operates properly then hire an expert to do it for you. Of course like everything it will come with a high price because geothermal heat pump systems are costly. If they were cheap then everyone would have them installed in their homes and businesses. They will offer you savings on power bills and over time that pays for itself.

      If you decide to do it yourself and you are successful keep us up to date on your progress. I wish you luck.

  2. Thank you for the fast reply and good info. Does any one make a water cooled system for air conditioning only. As the cost for heating and cooling heat pump systems are, as you say very expensive. A normal air cooled air conditioning system is not that expensive and just adding a heat exchanger shouldn’t cost that great but I can’t find any ready made suplyer. it would be a normal air conditioning system except instead of a fan and condenser it would have a heat exchanger. Thank you again Jim

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