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What is geoexchange technology?

Geoexchange technology uses the earth's renewable energy, just below the surface, to heat or cool a home or other building, and to help provide hot water. It's sometimes referred to as a geothermal heat pump, a ground source heat pump, or green heat. No matter what you call it, geoexchange systems are the best choice you can make for both your pocketbook and your planet.

How does it work?

A few feet beneath the surface, the earth's temperature remains fairly constant, ranging from 45° or so in northern latitudes to about 70°F in the deep south-year round. Geoexchange takes advantage of this constant temperature to provide extremely efficient heating and cooling.

In winter, a water solution circulating through pipes buried in the ground absorbs heat from the earth and carries it into the home. The geoexchange system inside the home uses a heat pump to concentrate the earth's thermal energy and then to transfer it to air circulated through standard ductwork to fill the interior space with warmth.

In the summer, the process is reversed: heat is extracted from the air in the house and transferred through the heat pump to the ground loop piping. The water solution in the ground loop then carries the excess heat back to the earth. The only external energy needed for geoexchange is the small amount of electricity needed to operate the ground loop pump and fan.

Will geoexchange work in a very hot or very cold climate?

Yes, geoexchange technology can be used in any part of the country. Why? Because it transfers heat to and from the earth, which remains at a relatively constant temperature, rather than the air, where temperatures can vary greatly.

How long will it take for my system to pay for itself?

The answer to this question depends on what it would have cost you if you were operating another heating and cooling system, and how much lower your bills will be when you're using the geoexchange system. You should ask your contractor to give you an estimated life cycle cost analysis, which should tell you about how much it will cost you to operate the system and how long it will take for the savings to cover the cost of the system completely.

What size of system will I need?

The size of the system depends on the size and design of your home or building. Just as with the previous question about cost estimation, sizing questions are best answered by a local contractor who can take into context all the variables of your unique installation.

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