The Simple How and Why of a Geothermal Heat Pump

One of the most unexpected things about a geothermal heating and cooling system is that it has almost no moving parts. There’s just that much less that can go wrong– that much less to need maintenance. And that by itself goes far in decreasing the overall energy costs of Olive Branch homeowners who’ve gone geothermal.


That said, the system isn’t totally devoid of moving parts. Most of them are found in its most conspicuous component, too: the geothermal heat pump.

This is the system’s engine. Its role is to transfer heat. And it transfers heat either from the ground into your house or from your house into the ground, depending on ambient temperatures. Thus, it’s a furnace and an air conditioner united in one unobtrusive package.

What, then, does a heat pump use to transfer heat? Water! Well, that or a solution containing antifreeze. This liquid circulates through loops of underground pipes to which the heat pump is attached above ground. During heating season the liquid draws heat from the ground, the heat pump draws the warm liquid up into refrigerant coils, and the heat is then is distributed throughout a home by either a forced air or a hydronic system. During cooling season it runs in reverse: the pump draws heat from your home and transfers it underground via those same buried loops. Oh, and somewhere in all this, lots of geothermal systems also provide domestic hot water.

The basic differentiator between a geothermal heat pump and a ordinary furnace is that a heat pump doesn’t burn fuel to generate heat. Instead it takes heat that already exists and just moves it around. That naturally makes it a much more efficient heating and cooling system. Bear this in mind, too: underground temperatures generally remain at around 50º F through the year. And that means? A geothermal heating and cooling system uses considerably less energy to cool your home than conventional air conditioners.

So … is a geothermal system the answer for your Olive Branch home? Talk with this region’s geothermal pros, the cordial gang at Air & Heat Service Co..