Geothermal heat pump

Table of Contents


A geothermal heat pump or ground source heat pump is a central heating and/or cooling system that transfers heat to or from the ground. It uses the earth as a heat source or a heat sink. This design takes advantage of the moderate temperatures in the ground to boost efficiency and reduce the operational costs of heating and cooling systems, and may be combined with solar heating to form a geosolar system with even greater efficiency. Ground source heat pumps are also known as "geothermal heat pumps" although, strictly, the heat does not come primarily from the centre of the Earth, but from the Sun. They are also known by other names, including geoexchange, earth-coupled, earth energy systems. The engineering and scientific communities prefer the terms "geoexchange" or "ground source heat pumps" to avoid confusion with traditional geothermal power, which uses a high temperature heat source to generate electricity. Ground source heat pumps harvest heat absorbed at the Earth's surface from solar energy. The temperature in the ground below 6 metres is roughly equal to the mean annual air temperature at that latitude at the surface.

What are the components of a geothermal system?

The three main parts consist of the geothermal unit, the underground piping system (open or closed loop), and the ductwork. HOW EFFICIENT IS A GEOTHERMAL SYSTEM? A geothermal system is over five times more efficient in heating and more than twice as efficient in cooling as the most efficient ordinary system.

Geothermal heating system costs

National average cost $20,000
Average range $12,000-$30,000
Minimum cost $9,000
Maximum cost $40,000

Geothermal Heat Pump Costs by Type

There are two basic systems – closed and open loops. Closed-loop systems are the most common. Open loops may only be installed in very specific circumstances, so they are much less common and rarely installed.

Open loop $9,000 – $15,000
Closed loop $12,000 – $30,000

Closed-Loop Geothermal Heat Pump Cost

Type of Closed Loop System Average Cost Range
Pond/Lake $12,000 – $15,000
Horizontal $12,000 – $25,000
Vertical $15,000 – $30,000

Geothermal Heat Pump Compressor Cost

Compressor Type Average Cost (unit only)
Single-stage $2,300 – $3,400
Dual-stage $3,100 – $5,400
Variable-stage $4,000 – $7,000

Geothermal Heat Pump Cost By Ton

System size (tons) HVAC energy use (BTUs) Average installation cost
1 12,000 $4,000 – $8,000
2 24,000 $8,000 – $16,000
3 36,000 $12,000 – $24,000
4 48,000 $16,000 – $32,000
5 60,000 $20,000 – $40,000
6 72,000 $24,000 – $48,000
7 84,000 $28,000 – $56,000
8 96,000 $32,000 – $64,000
9 108,000 $36,000 – $72,000
10 120,000 $40,000 – $80,000

Geothermal Heat Pump Size

What size geothermal heat pump do I need?

Average 25 BTUs per sq.ft.  
36,000 BTUs 3 tons
44,000 – 50,000 BTUs 4 tons
52,000 – 60,000 BTUs 5 tons

2,000 sq.ft, 50,000 BTUs, then 4 or 5 tons.


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Geothermal Heat Pump Efficiency

An air-source heat pump extracts heat from the outside air. A ground-source heat pump is typically more efficient than an air-source heat pump because there’s less fluctuation in the temperature underground than the air outside. That means geothermal heat pumps use less energy to heat and cool.

Geothermal heat pumps reach high efficiencies (300%-600%) on the coldest of winter nights.

Geothermal heat pump cop

The higher the COP, the more efficiently the system heats. The rating is a ratio of heat produced (in Btu per hour) over electrical energy input. Simply stated, it indicates how much home heating you get for the amount of electrical energy the system uses to concentrate that heat. Geothermal heat pumps typically have COPs of 3 to 5.

Geothermal heat pump energy usage

Benefits of Geothermal Heat Pump Systems The biggest benefit of GHPs is that they use 25% to 50% less electricity than conventional heating or cooling systems. This translates into a GHP using one unit of electricity to move three units of heat from the earth.

Geothermal Heat Pump Pros And Cons


Operate geothermal heat pump

Do geothermal heat pumps run constantly?
Geothermal heat pumps are sized to provide just enough heat on the coldest day of the year and no more. So, on the coldest day of the year, the heat pump will need to run continuously to meet this demand. This won’t hurt your heat pump and is completely normal.

Geothermal heat pump how deep?
It requires trenches at least four feet deep. The most common layouts either use two pipes, one buried at six feet, and the other at four feet, or two pipes placed side-by-side at five feet in the ground in a two-foot wide trench.

How far down do you need to drill for geothermal?
Trenches are normally four to six feet deep and up to 400 feet long, depending on how many pipes are in a trench. One of the advantages of a horizontal loop system is being able to lay the trenches according to the shape of the land. As a rule of thumb, 500-600 feet of pipe is required per ton of system capacity.

How much land do you need for geothermal heat pump?
A useful benchmark: about 400 to 600 feet of horizontal loops are needed for each ton of energy required to heat or cool. A mid-sized house usually requires a 3 ton unit, and so it would need space for approximately 1200 t0 1800 feet of coils.

What type of soil is best for geothermal?
Dense clay soils work best for geothermal heating and cooling systems. Dry, sandy soils transfer heat poorly. Wet, sandy soils are superb! The buried loop in the soil can be done one of two ways.

Relate Video

How a Geothermal Heat Pump Works

Benefits of Geothermal Heating and Cooling

How Geothermal Heat Pumps Are Installed

Residential Geothermal Heat Pump Video

Is Geothermal Heating and Cooling Worth the Cost?

My DIY Geothermal System Was So CHEAP!!!

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