Although we may not always realize it, the earth beneath us holds a great deal of energy. This energy is largely in the form of heat. The heat comes from two sources: sunlight, which warms the earth's surface, and the earth's core, which continuously emits heat.
At two metres below the surface, the earth's temperature holds steadily at approximately the average yearly air temperature for that region. In Peel Region, the average temperature is approximately 10 degrees Celsius. That means that even in the coldest days of winter, the earth's temperature two metres below us stays around 10 degrees Celsius.
A geothermal system, or an earth energy system, consists of a heat pump, a ground loop, and an air distribution system. The ground loop is a fluid-filled pipe that exits the home, is buried underground and then circles back to the home to close the loop. As the fluid passes through the underground portion of the loop, it warms to the earth's temperature and is carried indoors. Once inside, this warm air is compressed to increase the temperature and then distributed throughout the home or building.
For the summer months, the same geothermal system works in reverse, using the earth's temperature to cool building interiors. The system starts by drawing heat from a home or building and then carrying it through the ground loop for cooling. Once cooled in the underground, the fluid is brought back into the home to cool the interior air providing a clean, efficient way to air condition the home.
Maintenance of the geothermal system is minimal. Once a year, a service technician will flush the ground loop to remove any sediment build-up and ensure all components are in good working order.
A geothermal system is about three to four times more efficient than a conventional heating-cooling system. And best of all, by drawing on the earth's underground temperature, geothermal systems are environmentally friendly and can produce great cost savings for home and business owners.
To learn more about geothermal systems, please visit Natural Resources Canada.