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Answers a Few Common Questions About Commercial Geothermal HVAC

geothermal-vents-in-groundGeothermal energy offers special advantages for heating and cooling commercial facilities. These systems remove boilers and cooling towers from the conventional HVAC set-up for a building and instead use the thermal energy of the earth—a renewable resource and one that allows for high levels of energy efficiency.

Although geothermal heat pumps aren’t “new” technology, they are new to many commercial facility owners and operators, who often have many questions about how geothermal operates and if it will work for their specific needs. We’re experienced with all types of HVAC for commercial and industrial facilities and have worked extensively with geothermal HVAC in Toronto, ON, so we can provide answers to some of the most common questions.

Do geothermal heat pumps cool as well as heat?

Yes. It’s easy to think of “thermal” in the word “geothermal” and imagine only heat can come from a geothermal system. But a geothermal heat pump, like a standard air-source heat pump, can work as a powerful cooling system. Instead of drawing heat from underground, in cooling mode the heat pump uses the stable underground temperature as a heat sink to deposit the heat drawn from indoors.

Does my facility have space for the ground loops?

We can’t give you a specific answer here because we don’t know your facility and the property around it (yet). You can call us for a consultation. What we can tell you is that geothermal loops have flexible layouts and types, making them available to more facilities than ever before. 

For example, the standard horizontal loops that are buried 6 to 10 feet underground are no longer the only option. For facilities with less available space for loops, we can drill deep vertical holes (100 to 400 ft) and place the loops down them. A facility near a body of water can make use of lake loops that use the water for heat transfer. 

Will a geothermal heat pump save me money?

If a geothermal heat pump is a good match for your facility, it’s likely that it will save you money over its service life. These systems have higher energy efficiency than air-source heat pumps and can cost less to run than natural gas, propane, and oil-powered systems. Many businesses experience a 20 to 60% decrease in heating and cooling costs thanks to geothermal energy.

Do geothermal heat pumps use refrigerant?

They do in the interior components, which are almost identical to air-source heat pumps. However, refrigerant isn’t pumped through the ground loops. Instead, a mixture of water and antifreeze circulates through the loops to move heat. This water mixture passes through a heat exchanger where it transfers its energy to the indoor refrigerant. The ground loops are safe for the environment.

How long can I expect a geothermal heat pump to work?

The indoor components will last about as long as an air-source heat pump: 10 to 15 years. The ground loops, which are the most labor-intensive and expensive parts to install, can last for over 50 years. 

Advantage Airtech Commercial Ltd. is the Double “A” Name with the Triple “A” rating. Get in touch with us today to learn more about commercial geothermal HVAC.

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