Ground Heating – Ground and Water are the Two Main Sources of Heat in the Earth’s Surface.
There are two main sources of heat in the earth’s surface; ground and water. Ground is where you can find the most heat, and it also is the most practical for human use. It is also a non-renewable resource that cannot be replaced. We have to dig deeper holes than we could ever imagine before. The only way to get more out of our ground is to dig deeper, which means digging up more of it. And when we do that, we lose the ability to store it as it comes out. As we continue to dig and extract more, we will eventually run out of the source. What would happen if we ran out of ground? Would we stop digging? Would we start burning wood or coal? No, because we would have to go back to the original method of getting heat from fire. We would need to burn something else. So what would happen if we ran out of that source too? Well, we would just have to go back to the original method again, and so on and so forth. This shows us that ground has its limitations and that there is no such thing as infinite ground.
Water is the second main source of heat and is renewable. There is enough water on earth to last forever. With proper technology, we can harness this energy and convert it into steam and electricity. But, unlike ground, water is not very accessible. Most of the world’s resources are located deep under the ocean, or far away in space. If we could tap into some of these other resources, it would make the process of harvesting ground heat much easier.
Geothermal Energy is an example of tapping into this alternative source of heat. It uses the heat that already exists underground to create hot water or steam for us to use. It doesn’t require any new sources of fuel. All of the heat is already right there waiting for us.
What Is a Geothermal Heat Pump?
A geothermal heat pump is basically a reverse air conditioner. It takes the heat from the ground and pumps it into your home. Think of it like a heat exchanger. Instead of cooling down your house, it heats up the inside while bringing in cool outside air.
The first thing you’ll want to consider when looking at a geothermal heat pump is how large of a hole you have to drill to install one. You’ll have to dig a hole at least 6 feet wide and 4 feet deep. Not all homes can accommodate this size of a hole. Another consideration is whether or not you live in a zone with enough heat underground to actually use this type of system. The average temperature of the ground in North America is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t live anywhere near this temperature, then you won’t see a significant difference between using ground heat or not. Some areas of Africa and South America have ground temperatures of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit! These high temperatures require larger and more powerful systems to work properly.
If you live in a colder climate, you may want to look at installing an auxiliary heat pump. This is basically a separate unit that runs off your existing gas furnace. It is essentially a heat exchanger that heats up your home instead of cooling it down.
So Are They Worth It?
It depends on what kind of budget you have. If you’re trying to save money, then you should probably consider geothermal heat pumps.
Ground heating is expensive. The price varies depending on several factors, including your location, soil type, and other variables. However, they typically range from $12,000-$25,000 per ton. That’s roughly $1/sq. ft. If you have an area that requires a lot of heat, such as a basement, then it makes sense to invest in a geothermal heat pump.
In some cases, you might be able to get away with a smaller system. For instance, if you’re building a new home, you can likely avoid having to dig a huge hole. In fact, you can even build a foundation without needing a hole at all! When purchasing a new home, ask your realtor if there are any pre-existing wells nearby. A well that was drilled years ago could provide you with enough heat to keep your home comfortable through the winter months.
Another option is to just put a well on your property. You can buy a geothermal well kit online and install it yourself. Then you can connect the system to your home’s electrical wiring. You could even use the well for irrigation purposes.
One final option would be to hire someone to come out and dig the hole for you. You can pay extra for that service but it is often cheaper than buying the equipment.
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Geothermal is a great solution if you live somewhere with a consistent warm climate year round. However, if you live somewhere closer to the equator, it might be better to rely on an auxiliary heat pump. This way you can still enjoy the benefits of ground heating during the coldest months of the year.