Boehmer Heating & Cooling Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Geothermal’

Consider Geothermal Heating and Cooling for Better Home Efficiency

Monday, August 15th, 2016

It’s a recent advancement in home cooling and heating technology, but it’s been around long enough for engineers and technicians to perfect the manufacturing and installation process. Geothermal heating and cooling allows you to have efficient heating and air conditioning that lasts for decades to come. If you’re in the market for a new home heating and cooling system, either for a new home or an existing one, consider geothermal!

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3 Reasons to Consider Geothermal Cooling

Monday, May 18th, 2015

As we head closer to summer, many people are turning their thoughts to air conditioning. If you are in the market for a new air conditioner, and being “green” is a priority to you, you may want to consider the installation of a geothermal system. Geothermal systems work very differently from other types of home air conditioning systems for several reasons, as we’ll explain below. Because these systems operate differently, they are also designed and implemented differently than traditional HVAC systems, so it’s critical to work with professionals who specialize in geothermal installation and service. The experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling are these kinds of experts, and we’ve installed and service numerous geothermal systems throughout the Pittsburgh, PA, area. This is why, if you are considering a geothermal system, we should be the first phone call you make.

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Geothermal System Guide

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Geothermal systems serve as a viable alternative to traditional gas furnaces, using the ambient temperature in the ground itself to heat your home. They usually cost more to install than gas furnaces, and may require certain types of property to function as they should, but they make up for that with lower month-to-month costs and a reliability that can’t be beat.

The system basically works like this: a trained technician installs pipes under your yard, which circulates a water or a mixture of water and anti-freeze. This liquid absorbs heat from the ambient temperature of the ground, and then goes to a heat pump. The heat pump heats the air and circulates it throughout your home. In the summer, this process is reversed to cool your home.

Some geothermal systems are planted horizontally,  with the pipes at least 4 feet beneath the surface.  This usually needs a large property lot for it to work, but makes it easier for the technician to reach it if there’s a leak or some other repair is needed. For houses that don’t have a lot of spare space, there are vertical installations in which pipes are installed running down from 100 to 400 feet deep. While this takes less space for installation, the pipes  may be trickier to reach in the event of a problem.

Whatever the particulars of the system, they’re extremely easy to use once they’re in place. They’re also extremely efficient, which will lower your monthly heating bills as well as raising the resale value of your home. Call the experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling for a consultation. Our trained professionals can discuss your options with you, then set up an installation schedule that works for your circumstances.

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Is Geothermal a Good Cooling Option in Pittsburgh?

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Every year, thousands of homeowners are turning to geothermal heating and cooling for its highly-efficient, cost-reducing, and eco-friendly energy. It is very similar to how a heat pump works, and shares most of the same components. But it differs from the air source heat pump in its capacity to harness the energy of the earth. When looking at cooling options in your area, you’ll have to take into consideration your cooling needs, the size and location of your home, as well as your budget. A geothermal system can be an innovative and reliable way to make your home comfortable this cooling season. For more information, or to schedule a consultation with a Pittsburgh geothermal expert, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling.

The two major components of your geothermal cooling system are underground piping, also known as the “earth loop,” and the geothermal heat pump. Depending on your location and the topography of your land, your geothermal piping will be arranged either in a shallow horizontal bed, or in deep vertical wells. The pipes are typically made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and they circulate the water-refrigerant mixture in a closed or open loop. The geothermal heat pump is just like a regular heat pump, but instead of transferring heat indoors and outdoors by drawing it in and out of the air, it draws the heat from the earth loop during the winter, and disperses it into the earth loop during summer.

Geothermal Benefits:

  • Efficiency: Geothermal cooling can often cut your bills in half. The heat pump uses very little energy when compared to a standard air conditioner.
  • Durability: As an alternative to other systems, geothermal cooling systems are made with durable materials that are intended to survive the elements and last many years.
  • Eco-friendly: In a world of every-increasing energy demands, it can be comforting to know that you rely on the temperature of the earth under your feet to cool your home. You’ll not only save money, but you can also reduce the production of ozone-depleting substances.

All in all, geothermal cooling is a great option. For more information, or to schedule a consultation with a Pittsburgh geothermal cooling expert, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling today!

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Pittsburgh Geothermal Question: Is Geothermal Installation Possible in My Yard?

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Geothermal systems are a terrific way to potentially reduce the amount of energy that you use to heat and cool your home. Most heating systems have to burn a fuel source in order to create heat. But geothermal systems actually use the endless and free energy stored in the earth to both heat or cool your home. At Boehmer Heating & Cooling, we provide complete geothermal installation in Pittsburgh. Because of the unique way that geothermal systems work, not every home can accommodate them. If you’re interested in having a geothermal system installed at your home, here are a few of the considerations that you need to think about.

How Geothermal Systems Work

If you were to dig down into the ground about 10 feet the temperature there would be about 55° F. No matter what the temperature is outside the ground below the surface will stay that same temperature. Geothermal systems use a long series of coils buried in the ground to take advantage of the energy stored there. A heat pump in your home circulates refrigerant through those coils.

In heating mode, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the ground and moves it into your home. In cooling mode it does the opposite: it removes heat from the air in your home and exhausts it in the ground.

Geothermal Installation in Pittsburgh

During geothermal installation large holes need to be dug into the ground to bury the coils. The coils can be installed vertically in some homes where space is limited. The holes need to be dug very deep into the ground to accommodate the long pipes of refrigerant. In a horizontal installation, a large area of ground is dug out and the coils are laid out and then buried.

If you’re interested in potentially reducing the amount of energy that you use to heat or cool your home, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling for geothermal installation in Pittsburgh.

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How Does Geothermal Heating Work? A Pittsburgh Geothermal Installation Question

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Are you interested in a home heating and cooling option that will allow you to keep your home comfortable while drastically reducing the amount of energy that you use in doing so? Contact the home heating experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling today to learn more about how a professionally installed geothermal heating and cooling system can help you do just that. By utilizing a heat pump and the energy stored right beneath your feet, you too can heat and cool your home in a more efficient, environmentally friendly way. Make your Pittsburgh home a little greener with the installation of a geothermal heating system.

Like other heat pump systems, geothermal heating and cooling systems make use of ambient energy for use in your home. Unlike air-source heat pumps, though, geothermal heat pumps draw this heat from beneath the ground or under the water on your property. A loop system is buried or submerged in your property, and an antifreeze solution is circulated throughout this system. When heat has been gathered the liquid goes through the heat exchanger in the heat pump, and the process is repeated. The conditioned air is then distributed through a ductwork system throughout your home.

Because the temperatures at the depths that these loop systems are either buried or submerged are more constant than that of the air, geothermal systems are actually more dependable than other heat pumps. A number of factors and geological considerations of your property will decide if a geothermal system is right for your home. Only a qualified professional is able to determine this.

If you would like to learn more about the installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system in your home, contact the experts at Boehmer Heating & Cooling today. A member of staff will be happy to answer all of your questions. We can help you to decide if a geothermal system is the right choice for your Pittsburgh home.

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Pittsburgh Geothermal Guide: Types of Loop Systems

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Energy resources are changing rapidly.  The conventional oil, gas and coal fuels are giving way to alternative sources like wind, solar and hydro.  Geothermal energy is less understood by consumers, but potentially the most abundant source available, nearly as huge a supply as the Earth itself. Many people are considering installing geothermal heating and cooling in Pittsburgh.

From the Greek word “geo” for “earth”, geothermal energy is generated by the natural process of heat gravitating toward cooler temperatures.  The by-product can be captured and utilized simply as heat or converted to electricity. In small, self-contained residential or large commercial applications, this typically happens in either closed or open looped systems.

Closed Loop Geothermal Systems

Systems using water or anti-freeze that run from the pump into the ground and back to the pump continuously are closed looped.  Most efficient for smaller residential systems where land is available, two or three horizontal loops are side by side just a few feet underground.  Sometimes the loops are spiraled underground to extend the overall length in a shorter area.

Where the need for length may be prohibitive to run alongside the building, large commercial buildings and schools often use vertical systems.  A series of holes four inches in diameter are drilled about 20 feet apart and 100–400 feet deep and filled with two pipes connected at the bottom to form a loop. Each loop is connected with a horizontal manifold pipe in a trench which connects to the heat pump in the building. Vertical loops are also the choice when the soil is too shallow for trenching.  This system minimizes the disturbance to existing landscaping.

If the site has an adequate water body, a pond/lake loop may be the lowest cost option where a supply line is run underground directly to the water and coiled into circles at least eight feet under the surface to prevent freezing before looping back to the building.

Open Loop Geothermal Systems

An open loop system takes surface water or a well to use as the heat exchange fluid that circulates directly through the GHP system instead of a piped fluid passing through the surface. Once circulated through the system, the water returns to the ground through the well or a discharge over the surface.

Hybrid systems using a combination of a geothermal loop underground and outdoor air (i.e., a cooling tower), are another technology option, particularly effective when cooling needs are significantly higher than heating needs. Where local geology permits, the “standing column well” is a variation of an open-loop system with one or more deep vertical wells drilled.

Whichever loop is used, it is clear the face of energy is changing and geothermal energy is beginning to play an increasing role of supply to meet the new demand.

For more information about getting geothermal heating and cooling installed in your Pittsburgh home, give Boehmer Heating & Cooling  a call today!

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North Hills Heating Tip: Geothermal Myths

Monday, December 19th, 2011

As with any misunderstood technology, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions concerning geothermal heat pumps and how well they work in North Hills. While these types of systems certainly have their limitations, the same is true of just about any type of heating and cooling system you could have installed in your home. But if you are really trying to evaluate whether or not a geothermal heating system is right for your home, you need to know exactly what is true about these systems and what is just not true.

For instance, there is a widely held belief that geothermal energy is not a viable heating option in areas with harsh winters. The fact is, though, that even when the air temperature outside is below freezing, the temperature several feet below ground can be as high as 55°F.

With a ground temperature like that, a geothermal heat pump will have no trouble extracting enough heat to keep your home comfortable even when it is well below freezing outside. And even when the ground freezes, the frost usually only extends three or four feet below the surface. Since the pipes for your geothermal heat pump will be at least four feet down, the frost should not affect them at all.

Also, it is common for people to assume that geothermal heat pumps will always need to have a regular heating system in place to serve as a backup. In fact, a geothermal heat pump is quite capable of providing consistent and adequate heating for your entire house as long as it is properly sized and installed. Make sure you are dealing with an experienced and qualified contractor and you will have no problems along these lines.

There are also plenty of myths floating around out there that geothermal heat pumps are just too expensive to make sense as a home heating solution. The truth is that geothermal heating costs almost nothing to operate.

While it is true the geothermal systems are quite a bit more expensive to install than many of the other options, alternative heating systems will still cost a significant amount to install and you will also have to pay much more to operate them on a regular basis. With a geothermal heating system, you pay quite a bit up front, but it is a one-time cost and there will be minimal monthly heating bills after that.

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How Often Should I Have My Geothermal System Checked? A Tip from Pittsburgh

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

The beauty of a geothermal system is that is requires very little maintenance from  your Pittsburgh contractor. They have fewer mechanical components are than other heating systems – and most of these components are underground or inside, shielded from the outdoor elements. The underground tubing usually is guaranteed to last 25-50 years and inside components are easily accessible for servicing.

Nonetheless, keeping a geothermal system working at peak efficiency is very important. If the geothermal system loses some of its efficiency, it will cost home and building owners money in energy costs, which makes little sense since geothermal system installation costs are higher than most other heating systems.

Its key component is the ground loop system, polyethelene tubing which carries refrigerant from below the Earth’s surface and back to an above-ground compressor. When installed correctly, the buried ground loop can last for decades. A leak in the metal tubing is usually the only problem if the ground loop is not installed correctly. In the case of a leak, it may be necessary to dig up the tubing – often installed at least ten feet below the surface – and repair the leak.

Other geothermal system components include its air handling unit, compressor, and pump. These components require periodic system checks by qualified professional heating and cooling technicians. Maintenance normally requires filter changes and component lubrication, to name the most common. In some cases, building owners can perform their own filter replacement and refill of lubricants. However, it is recommended that an experienced technician perform a multiple-point inspection of the geothermal system components, usually during regularly scheduled service calls.

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Will Switching to Geothermal Save Me Money? A Question from Monroeville

Monday, November 7th, 2011

There are simply a ton of different types of heating systems you can have in your Monroeville home and they are each more appropriate in different situations. However, some are certainly always going to be cheaper to operate than others, although that alone may not make one or the other right for you.

In the case of geothermal heating systems, the operating costs are definitely quite low. But those are not the only costs you will have to think about when you are considering what type of heating system to put in your home to keep your heating bills down.

Geothermal heating systems do not actually generate heat – they absorb it from the ground. Because of this, they actually use very little energy when they are running. All you are really paying to power is the fan that blows the heated air around your house. Also, because geothermal heating systems are more efficient at extracting heat in below freezing conditions than traditional heat pumps, they can continue to keep you warm on their own in more extreme conditions.

Traditional heat pumps, while they also cost very little to operate, do sometimes need to be supplemented by more conventional forms of indoor heating like a furnace when temperatures outdoors get too low. This is not the case with geothermal heat pumps, so if you live somewhere that has colder winters, a geothermal heat pump may be just what you are looking for. Of course, you can always opt for a furnace instead, but these will definitely cost more to run than either type of heat pump.

When you are trying to assess whether or not switching to a geothermal heating system will save you money, you first have to start with the heating bills you currently have. Then, factor in the cost of the geothermal heat pump installation as opposed to the installation of a more conventional system.

You are then in a position to see whether or not the amount the geothermal system will save you each month is enough to offset the higher cost of installation within a reasonable amount of time. Of course, the savings will always eventually add up over time, but if the length of time it will take you to break even is the same or longer than the expected life of the system, it is probably not worth it to invest in this type of heating.

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