The Pros and Cons of Geothermal Heat
Geothermal energy provides so many benefits to people and their homes. They’re not only safe and healthy but they’re cost effective as well. This is the reason why the geothermal heating system is gaining popularity in the different parts of the globe and might even become the most preferred in the future.
Geothermal energy comes from the ground. When heat is at its peak during the summer months, the earth absorbs the heat and retains it even until the winter season. Underneath the earth, a temperature between 8 and 14 degrees Celsius is maintained the whole year through. And so with the use of a ground source heat pump, underground heat can be provided to your home at a very low cost without doing any harm to the environment.
A geothermal heating system is made up of pipes and a heat pump. Installing this type of
heating system entails the digging of long trenches underground about two meter deep or the so-called vertical boreholes. Pipes are laid in these trenches to form a closed circuit filled with water which acts as the heat absorber.
When water reaches the heat pump, the heat is further compressed to produce more heat and increase the temperature to a maximum of 50 to 55 degrees Celsius. The heat pump is similar to the size and shape of a small fridge and functions in the same way.
The heat produced by the system can then be circulated throughout the home using an
under floor heating system which operates at far lower temperatures compared to ordinary central heating units.
This system can also be used together with a conventional immersion heater to increase water temperature for radiators or as a source of hot water for purposing of washing or bathing.
Pros and cons
The foremost advantage of geothermal heating is its being environment-friendly. Its source of energy is natural, the heat from the underneath the earth, so there’s no worry about any hazardous effects to the surroundings unlike those that burn fossil fuels. There’s no tax imposed and there’s always constant supply.
Secondly, it’s efficient and cost
effective. Being energy efficient means less electricity costs and this, in turn, leads to savings. Additionally, this is around 70 percent cheaper than heating a home using electric heating, oil or liquefied petroleum gas.
A third benefit is its compact size. A typical geothermal heating using a heat pump is just about the same size as a small fridge and works in two ways – for both heating and cooling.
Another advantage is its low maintenance. As natural ground energy is used, no hazardous chemicals are produced, no flammable oil, LPG or gas pipes, fuel tanks or chimney are used. No regular servicing or yearly checks are required.
On the contrary, some disadvantages found for this system include the use of refrigerants. Refrigerants as well as the electricity to power the heat pump are not totally eco-friendly.
Wide space and long pipes are also needed to lay the pipe system in trenches which means it is not ideal for suburban neighborhoods which are densely populated. The pipes may prove difficult to repair as they’re underground.
Lastly, for areas that need vertical installation of pipes, drilling may be a hard task and a big rig is even required.