Today, media coverage continues to feature the rapid rise of the average Ontarian’s power bills, an increase affecting commercial and residential customers equally.
It doesn’t help to know that if you lived in Quebec instead of Ontario, you could be enjoying rates less than half of the price you are paying now.
From the looks of things, energy inflation in Ontario is here to stay, which has many of our customers considering alternatives to traditional fuels like electricity and gas. One such system is the geothermal heat pump, which can deliver a whopping 400 percent energy efficiency!
In this post, we introduce you to geothermal energy and the modern technology that makes it accessible to you right now for trimming your energy bills year-round.
What Is Geothermal Energy?
The word geothermal literally translates to mean “earth heat.” Geothermal energy is the internal heat contained within the ground itself.
As the U.S. Energy Information Administration explains, this trapped heat energy is fully renewable. This is because it is being produced continuously by our planet.
At its core, our Earth has an average temperature of 10,800°F (5,982°C). Up near the surface of the planet, where geothermal heat pumps work, the temperature stays between 50 to 60°F (10 to 16°C) year-round.
So there is likely to be an abundant supply of trapped heat energy we can harness for all sorts of uses for the foreseeable future.
What Is a Geothermal Heat Pump?
A geothermal heat pump system uses technology that harnesses trapped heat energy in the earth to heat and cool homes and workplaces, and heat your water as well, if desired.
A very small amount of electric energy is required to run the technology, which is the same basic technology that is used to power your refrigerator.
A geothermal heat pump uses a system of ground loops to move heat energy around as needed. These loops can be horizontal or vertical depending on the amount of available space on your property.
There are two types of loop systems: open-loop and closed-loop. A closed-loop system uses water with a bit of antifreeze mixed in to avoid freezing in winter. An open-loop system is filled with water only.
The magic happens inside the heat exchanger, which uses refrigerant to move the heat energy inside in winter and outside in summer.
What Is a Desuperheater?
Heat pumps can be equipped with a nifty device called a desuperheater. This device recycles heat from the heat pump’s compressor that would otherwise go to waste. It then uses this trapped heat waste to heat water!
A geothermal heat pump equipped with a desuperheater can provide cooling in the warm season, heat in the cold season and hot water year-round.
How Does a Geothermal Heat Pump Save Energy?
A geothermal heat pump's energy efficiency is measured using a formula called the “coefficient of performance.” This formula measures how much electric energy the geothermal heat pump system uses against the heat energy it harnesses.
A high-efficiency geothermal heat pump system harnesses approximately $4 worth of heat energy from the earth for every $1 of electricity required to generate it.
What this means is that a high-efficiency geothermal heat pump system is pulling in five units of energy to do its job and four of those units are free! So a brand-new geothermal system will reliably deliver 400 percent energy efficiency right from day one.
In addition, if your geothermal heat pump is equipped with a desuperheater, you can look forward to free hot water all summer and a reduction by half in the cost of heating your water in winter because your heat pump is recycling wasted heat energy for water heating.
How Does a Geothermal Heat Pump Compare to a Traditional HVAC?
Traditional HVAC systems have come a long way over the last decade. Today, some Energy Star-certified furnaces and air conditioners can deliver anywhere from 78 to 98 percent energy efficiency.
This looks pretty great, until you compare it with 400 percent energy efficiency.
Add in that the typical geothermal heat pump system has a 20-year life expectancy compared to the 10- to 15-year life expectancy of a typical HVAC system and there really is no comparison.
In nearly all cases, operation of a new geothermal heat pump system fully pays for itself within the first five years of operation, giving you 15 years of 70 percent energy savings.
Other Geothermal Heat Pump Perks
Because a geothermal heat pump system does not need to burn traditional fossil fuel (gas, oil, propane, wood) to do its job, the reduction in carbon emissions is instantaneous. In the absence of burning fossil fuels, your risk of carbon monoxide emissions is also reduced to zero.
As well, for every year of use, the reduction in your personal carbon footprint is equivalent to planting 750 new trees each year or taking two cars used for daily commuting off the road entirely! Our commercial customers (and their customers) especially love this local sustainability perk!
Best of all, once your geothermal heat pump system is installed, only minimal preventative maintenance is required to keep your system running smoothly and efficiently.
Get in Touch
Is your traditional furnace and air conditioning system showing signs of wanting to retire? Are you tired of trying to budget for ever-escalating energy costs?
It may be time to make the switch to an energy-efficient geothermal heat pump system. We are proud to carry a wide range of geothermal heat pump systems to suit the needs of our residential and commercial customers.
Contact us online or give us a call at 877-885-3403.
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