Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

Can Geothermal Heating Really Deal With Our Local Winters?


Although humans have drawn warmth from the Earth since they learned how to dig, using geothermal heat as a full home heating solution is relatively recent. Because it’s still new to many people, geothermal heat pumps raise plenty of questions. The most common one: Can this thing actually work in our extremely cold winters?

The answer is, yes. Although you have to make sure that when you decide on a heating system replacement in Frederick, MD to put in a geothermal system, you rely on professionals for the work. A correctly installed geothermal heat pump is a great investment, and the experts will make sure you get the results you need from it.

Pulling Heat From the Earth

You probably understand the basics of how geothermal heating works. A series of buried loops containing a water-antifreeze mixture absorbs heat from the ground beneath the frostline. This heat is then transferred through a heat exchanger into the indoor refrigerant of the heat pump, where it can be released into the home’s air for circulation through ducts. The higher temperature of the earth below the frostline allows the heat pump to gather enough heat to provide comfort to the house.

You can already see this effect in action even if you don’t have a geothermal system. All you have to do is walk down into your basement. The reason you find basements here and not in warmer climates like the Southwest is because storing plumbing pipes under ground keeps them warmer and prevents them from freezing. There’s enough heat down that far to stop freezing.

Is That Much Heat Enough?

We know this doesn’t sound like much—“above freezing”—but this is sufficient for a heat pump to warm up a house. Even a standard heat pump that uses the air outside as its source for heat can operate efficiently in above freezing weather. A 40°F day is no problem for a heat pump. And the temperature beneath the frostline remains steady around 45°F no matter the temperature on the surface. A geothermal heat pump never has to deal with below-freezing conditions that can lower its effectiveness because it always has the amount of thermal energy it needs.

Technological Improvements

The technology of geothermal heat pumps and air-source heat pumps has advanced significantly over only the last decade, making them more efficient than ever. There are now air-source heat pumps that can perform in sub-freezing weather without requiring a back-up source of heat. You can imagine how much more effective a geothermal heat pump is!

Something else to keep in mind: investing in geothermal heating is also investing in geothermal cooling. That steady 45°F is a perfect heat sink on days when the temperature is above 80°F. The geothermal heat pump is ideal for all our weather conditions.

If you want to know about the possibilities of installing a geothermal system for your home, our technicians are glad to consult with you.

At Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, we pledge to exceed expectations at every turn. Call to find out more about geothermal heating and cooling.