How to Install a Geothermal Heat Pump Air Conditioner

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Geothermal energy is a developing type of renewable energy resource that can be used as heating and cooling systems in large, multi-story homes. These units must be installed professionally, as they require specialized knowledge and skills to install correctly. Our article presents the step-by-step process in geothermal heat pump installation.

What is a Geothermal Heat Pump System?

A geothermal heat pump is a heating and cooling system that harnesses energy from the Earth's core. A geothermal HVAC system can properly warm up homes and buildings using naturally-derived energy, increasing energy savings for the space, and reducing the environmental footprint of these ground source heat pumps.

Geothermal heat pumps work by running water through the pipes of the unit. The water uses the natural heat of the Earth's core to deliver warm air into the home. To cool the home, the process is reversed in the geothermal system.

Geothermal Heat Pump Installation

While geothermal heat pump installations seem complicated, they are relatively straightforward despite the technical terms and steps. Installing a geothermal heat pump mainaly requires digging a bed for the loop system, and connecting the loop system to the main ductwork in the home.

Step 1: Discussing with the Homeowners

Before anything gets done, the professional installers will discuss with the homeowners about installing a geothermal heat pump in their home. New homes are generally easier to fit with geothermal heat pump systems, but most installation companies can retrofit geothermal heating systems as well.

After discussing with the homeowners, the installation company will assess each room in the house to get the proper units suitable to heat and cool the entire space. The professionals will take a look at the blueprints of the home to inspect the duct layout, and calculate the adequate heating and cooling power needed to optimize the unit.

Step 2: Digging a Pit for the Geothermal System

The next step is digging a pit where the geothermal heat pumps will be placed in. For new construction, digging a pit is straightforward. In retrofit situations, however, the installation company will try to disturb the ground as least as possible, using a horizontal burrowing tool or vertical loop system to install the unit instead.

The pit must be at least 6 feet to 8 feet deep underground, going below the frost line. This is to ensure the loops are safe from extreme weather changes, and to keep them closer to the Earth's core for more efficient heating.

Step 3: Laying Down the Geothermal Heat Pump Lines

After the pit for the geothermal heat pump has been finalized, the looped heat pump lines will be laid on the ground. Methanol solution, water, or other liquids will be coursed through these loops, so it is important that the loops are tested and deemed leak-free for the safety of the homeowners, and the environment.

Step 4: Connect the Lines to the Manifold

Next, each loop system will be connected to a manifold, which is often located in the mechanical room of the house. Each loop will have its own connection to adhere to so the homeowners can simply close off one loop in any case of a faulty heat pump unit.

Step 5: Connect to the Indoor Units

Lastly, the loop systems are connected to the indoor unit, which is located where the furnace should be. This is the challenge for the installation professionals as each connection must be adhered securely for the unit to work. The indoor unit includes coils and lines similar to a furnace, and will loop warm or cool air through the ductwork in the house.

Video References


#1 Is a geothermal heat pump the same as an air source heat pump?

No, ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps are not the same. Geothermal heat pumps take in energy and warmth from the Earth, while air source heat pumps take energy and heat from the air. In terms of efficiency, geothermal heat pumps are better than air source heat pumps as ground temperature is more stable than air temperatures.

#2 Can I install a geothermal heating and cooling system myself?

Theoretically, you may be able to install a geothermal system yourself, but this is not recommended as you will need extensive knowledge of the ground loop installation process, as well as the installation process to connect the ground loop system to the indoor unit. Always go for professional installation instead.

#3 How much are the installation costs for geothermal heat pumps?

A conventional heating system will cost around $15,000 to install, while ground loop installation costs can be as high as $25,000 to $30,000. Geothermal systems, however, have rebates and tax incentives in some locations due to the environmentally-friendly properties of the unit, bringing down the cost to around $20,000 in installation costs.

Why Go Geothermal?

Geothermal energy is clean, efficient, and renewable - it will save you money in the long run, and you will still get the same level of comfort in your home with this heating and cooling system. To see if your landed property can install a geothermal unit, contact us at Luce Aircon, and we'll provide you a full assessment!

Check out our other articles for buying tips and maintenance guides to keep your home cool all year long! 

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