Powering Geothermal and Air Source Heat Pumps with Solar

Powering Geothermal and Air Source Heat Pumps with Solar

If you’re wondering why a geothermal system is truly the most efficient way to heat your home, it helps to have some basic knowledge of the various other types of heating systems and their benefits and drawbacks. Here is a quick primer on commonly used heat sources as well as our thoughts on why geothermal and air source heat pumps are perfect for Colorado homes. We also explain why powering them with solar panels (photovoltaic systems) makes a good thing even better.

A Quick Primer on Natural Gas and Electric Heat

Most heating systems in Colorado rely on natural gas or propane. Natural gas is very inexpensive here for many reasons, but a major one is that we are very close to the source of major pools of natural gas. Though people like natural gas because of its low cost, even the highest efficiency natural gas heating units can only achieve 98% efficiency.

Electric resistance heat, on the other hand, is very expensive to operate (since electricity must be “manufactured”), but it can achieve 100% efficiency.

Geothermal and Air Source Heat Pumps

Geothermal and air source heat pumps are inexpensive to operate even though they use electricity. Why? Because of a fun little engineering number called Coefficient of Performance (COP). Any COP number above “1” means that the system is MORE than 100% efficient. This is because the electricity is used to transfer heat from the ground or air to the house (while heating) or from the house to the ground or air (while cooling). The electricity just pumps the heat in either direction.

Geothermal heat pumps are even more efficient than air source heat pumps because the ground holds more heat than air does (especially in Colorado, since our air is so much thinner than at sea level).

So how much can geothermal systems save you? Well, it’s normal for geothermal heat pumps to achieve efficiency ratings of over 300% (COP of 3 or higher). This means that for every $100 spent on electricity, you can get $300 worth of heating or cooling! 

Using Solar Panels to Run Heat Pumps

So now that you know why geothermal systems are the absolute most efficient heating option, how can you make them even more appealing? By letting solar panels do the work of transferring heat. Why pay utility companies to do the work when you can use electricity generated from the sun to run your heat pump? solar panels photovoltaic systems geothermal heat Colorado

This works best if the geothermal system can draw kWs from dedicated solar panels that are not being used for other purposes in the house.

Ready to receive a free estimate for the most efficient heating system for your Colorado home? Contact Dan at 720.876.7166 or dan@sensibleheat.net today.

By | 2017-07-11T20:42:56+00:00 February 23rd, 2017|Geothermal, Heating|0 Comments

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