Raleigh Heating & Air Blog : Posts Tagged ‘Geothermal’

Vertical and Horizontal Loops in Geothermal Installation

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Here in Wake Forest, a geothermal system makes for a great alternative to more traditional forms of heating. It uses looped tubes filled with water and antifreeze to facilitate a heat exchange with the ground: beneath the earth, the temperature stays constant no matter what the weather is like outside, and a geothermal system uses that physical constant to warm and cool your home extremely inexpensively. The underground loops can be placed in two basic formats: horizontally or vertically. The net effect is the same, but you should still understand the differences between vertical and horizontal loops in geothermal installation.

Most residental installations are horizontal loops, which are buried about 4-6 feet beneath the earth. The coils are buried at least 4 feet underground and run parallel to the ground. It costs less to install than a vertical system, which is why many homeowners prefer it to the vertical models.

Indeed, vertical models are often the purveyance of schools and businesses, which don’t always have the square footage to handle a horizontal system. But they’re also available to homeowners who want a geothermal system, but whose property isn’t big enough to handle a horizontal field. In these cases, holds are drilled straight down – at least 100 feet and sometimes deeper – and the tubes extend down into it before looping back up and connecting with your home. As you might expect, this can be much more difficult to install and repair when things go wrong, but it doesn’t take much square footage to work as it should.

The complexity of geothermal systems means that you should consult with an expert before making your plans. In Wake Forest, geothermal installation can be performed by the experts at Raleigh Heating & Air. We’ll be happy to discuss your options with you, then perform your geothermal installation with courtesy and care. Pick up the phone and give us a call today.

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Geothermal Question: How Deep Do the Underground Coils Need to Be?

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Geothermal heating makes a viable alternative to more traditional forms of heating. It uses the ambient heat in the ground itself to facilitate an exchange: running tubes full of liquid through the ground which can both transfer heat into the earth and pull it from the earth, depending upon what you need.  Here in Raleigh, geothermal heating systems can be installed quite easily, provided your property can support the size of the coils needed. They can save a great deal of money over traditional forms of heating and may increase the resale value of your house to boot. Before you pull the trigger on installing a new system, however, you need to know what’s involved.

Here is a common geothermal question we get: how deep do the underground coils need to be?

Geothermal heating works because the temperature under the ground doesn’t change no matter how cold or warm it gets outside. You have to bury the lines deep enough so that they are completely unaffected by the frost. Usually, that means anywhere from four to six feet deep, though your technician may wish to go a little deeper based on existing trends.

In some cases, the loops need to be placed vertically instead of horizontally (usually as a means of saving space). In such cases, the coils can extend several hundred feet deep, which can be more effective and make it easier work with the size of the property. Similarly, you might place the system’s coils in a pond or similar body of water, though it usually needs to be a little deeper if you’re going to place it in a pond. (At least six feet and likely deeper.)

Regardless, you need an expert to help you answer questions like “how deep do the underground coils need to be?” In Raleigh, geothermal heating systems can be installed and repaired by the experts at Raleigh Heating & Air. Were trained in geothermal heating systems and can perform an expert installation after surveying your property. Give us a call today and let us show you what we can do!

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Geothermal Heat Pump Repairs

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

There are many different ways you can heat your Cary, NC home, and they all have one thing in common – they will need repairs at some point. Even geothermal systems, which run a series of tubes below the frost line of the ground, will occasionally need service. Geothermal systems are able to heat your home because the temperature down there stays constant no matter what the weather is like outside, and a heat pump can transfer that energy to warm your home. The tubes themselves rarely suffer from damage, since they feature no moving parts and are safely out of harm’s way inside the earth. The heat pump, however, can suffer problems from time to time, just as all mechanical systems do.

Here’s a list of some common geothermal heat pump repairs:

  • Leaks: Leaking refrigerant can appear anywhere there’s a breach in the line or an imperfect fitting. That can severely interfere with the system’s ability to generate heat, forcing it to work harder and raising your monthly bills accordingly. A trained technician can hunt down the source of the leak and seal it before restoring the refrigerant to its required levels.
  • Fan problems: The blower fan moves the heated air into your home from the heat pump. Problems with the fan will severely restrict its ability to move the air. That can include a faulty fan motor, a frayed or broken fan belt, electrical problems depriving the motor of power, or a bent or misaligned fan blade itself.
  • Thermostat controls: The thermostat regulates the functioning of your geothermal heat pump, telling it when to turn on and off to heat your home. If the thermostat is faulty of if it’s placed somewhere that can’t accurately reflect the temperature (such as near a draft), then it will cause problems with the pump itself.

Geothermal heat pump repairs of all varieties can be conducted by the experts at Raleigh Heating & Air. We offer excellent heating repair services in Cary, NC and we can correct any problems you may be experiencing with courtesy and care. Pick up the phone and call us today to make an appointment. You’ll be glad that you did!

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Benefits of Choosing Geothermal

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Geothermal heat pumps act as an alternative to gas and electric heaters, drawing upon the heat of the earth itself to heat your home. A circulating system of tubes is buried beneath the ground, where the temperature stays more or less constant throughout the year. A ground heat exchanger moves heat back and forth between the system and the ground, helping to keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  In cities like Wake Forest, NC, geothermal heating and cooling is an appealing choice. Here are some of the benefits of choosing a geothermal system:

  • Environmentally friendly. Geothermal systems reduce our dependence on fossil fuels because it doesn’t use much energy. More importantly, it generates no pollution itself: helping to keep the Earth green while providing clean and safe heating and cooling for your home. And geothermal energy is renewable, meaning you don’t have to worry about it ever running out.
  • Efficient. Unlike gas and electrical heaters, geothermal heaters don’t cost you much in monthly electric bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, efficiency ratings can climb as high as 600% on cold winter nights, reducing the costs by as much as 80% over other forms of heating. Over time, it recoups the additional cost of investment, as well as adding resale value to your house as a whole.
  • Reliability. Geothermal systems are surprisingly straightforward, and while they require regular maintenance and upkeep their components operate according to very simple principles. This makes geothermal heating and cooling extremely reliable, reducing the risk of a breakdown just when you need it the most.

Geothermal heat pumps can be set up along both horizontal planes (spreading the circulating tubes across a wide-but-shallow swatch of land) and vertical planes (sending the tubes deeper underground using a narrower piece of land). The former requires much more land space, though you can find homes suited to both systems. Geothermal heat pumps aren’t a casual investment, but they could very well be worthwhile in the long run. For advice and installation options, contact the Wake Forest, NC geothermal experts at Raleigh Heating & Air. Our experts can guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

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Geothermal Guide: Some Basic Components

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Geothermal heat pumps draw upon the heat of the Earth to help make your home comfortable. While the air above ground is subject to seasonal variations in temperature, the temperature is remarkably even just a few feet below ground. Geothermal heat pumps use that principle to pull heat from the earth into your house in the winter, and remove heat from your house into the ground in the summer. (In some cases, a pond or lake is used instead of the ground, but the principle it the same.) In towns like Holly Springs, they could make an extremely attractive option for home comfort.

The basic components to a geothermal system break down as follows:

  • Underground Loop: The underground loop is a series of pipes planted below the earth (or sometimes placed in a pond or a lake). Water or antifreeze circulates through the loop and absorbs heat from the ground to take into your home (or discharges heat into the ground if you’re trying to cool your home).
  • Geothermal Heat Pump: A heat pump then transfers the heat from the loop into the wintertime and moves it into your home, then reverses the process in the summer time. Heat pumps in geothermal systems can also be used to heat the water in your home.
  • Ductwork or some similar air delivery system: This serves the same purpose as the ductwork in a traditional central air conditioning system: to distribute the hot or cool air efficiently throughout your home. If your geothermal system was installed in a home with a previously existing AC system, it might actually use the same ducts as that earlier system. However, you might need different size ducts, so you should consult a professional before deciding to use your current ductwork.

Geothermal systems aren’t right for every home, but if the conditions work and you’re willing to pay a higher up-front cost, you can save a great deal on monthly energy bills. Not only can they cool your home more efficiently, but they do so without generating the kind of pollution that traditional systems do. If you’re interested in a geothermal system for your home in Holly Springs or any of the nearby communities, contact the experts at Raleigh Heating & Air. We can explain your options and help you determine what’s right for your home, then perform an installation with an eye on your complete satisfaction.

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Air Ducts and Geothermal Systems Tip

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

As energy costs continue to rise, more and more homeowners are looking for more and more efficient ways in which to heat and cool their homes. Many have turned to geothermal heating and cooling systems in Raleigh, NC. A geothermal heating and cooling system operates by transferring between the ground and your home: in the summer heat is removed from your home, and in the winter heat is brought in. Thanks to the fairly constant temperatures beneath the surface of the ground, geothermal heat pumps are even more reliable than air source models. However, the geothermal heat pump experts at Raleigh Heating & Air also know that there are certain issues which can reduce the efficiency with which your geothermal system operates.

Like a split central heating and air conditioning system, your geothermal heating and cooling system depends on a ducted forced air distribution system in order to circulate heated and cooled air throughout your home. This means that every bit of air conditioned by your geothermal heating and cooling system must pass through your air ducts. If your ductwork is compromised in any way, it can serious reduce the efficiency with which your geothermal system operates.

Should your ductwork corrode, be torn during service, or suffer any other problems, you are going to wind up paying more money for a weaker performance from your geothermal system. That’s because it will have to work harder in order to replace the energy escaping from your air ducts. Plus, if your ductwork system was not properly installed, designed and fabricated to begin with, it may have unnecessary twists, turns and kinks that will force your system to work harder in order to distribute air through it. Do not lose out on the great efficiency with which your geothermal system ought to operate. Contact us today if you think that your geothermal system is suffering at the hand of your ductwork.

At Raleigh Heating & Air, We are able to offer custom ductwork that will fit your geothermal system in Raleigh, NC like a glove. Contact us today to learn more.

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Do Geothermal Systems Dehumidify the Air?

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Do you know what a geothermal system is? Or how it works? Among the various types of HVAC systems available on the market today, few are as energy efficient as a geothermal heat pump. This is an important consideration for any homeowners, especially in the Raleigh area where high heat and humidity levels keep your cooling system busy. But homeowners who already own a geothermal system as well as those curious about its technology may have some questions about how it works. For example, do geothermal systems dehumidify the air like central air conditioning systems do?

One of the essential processes of cooling air involves dehumidification. In an ordinary air conditioner, this process occurs in the indoor unit. When cool, liquid refrigerant arrives at the evaporator coil, it cools the warm air extracted from the inside of your home by the blower motor. When the air cools, the water vapor in the air condenses on the exterior surface of the coils and collects the condensate drain pan. The cooled and dehumidified air then returns to your living space. However, the dehumidification is not always enough to cut the humidity in our service area.

A geothermal heat pump works similarly to an ordinary air-source heat pump in that it can both cool and heat your home throughout the year, but it uses a series of underground piping circulating anti-freeze to warm or cool the air, depending on what is needed. However, the moderate temperature cooling that is produced by a geothermal heat pump will not be able to combat the high humidity levels alone in some cases, which is why a whole-house dehumidifier might be necessary. This device is integrated directly with your ductwork and affects all of the air in your home. It is highly efficient and can make your home a more comfortable place to live.

Call Raleigh Heating & Air today for all of your Cary, NC geothermal needs. We can make sure that your geothermal system is well taken care of.

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Geothermal Services: What Geothermal Maintenance Consists Of

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Geothermal heating and cooling systems have been around for a long time, but they have really gained traction in recent years as the technology has improved and more people understand the operation of these systems. Like any other heating and cooling system, they require routine maintenance to continue to operate efficiently. Contact Raleigh Heating & Air when you require any Apex, NC geothermal services. Here is some information to help you better understand your system’s maintenance needs.

While the initial investment in a geothermal heating and cooling installation is considerable, such systems are very highly regarded for the minimal amount of maintenance that they require. The geothermal loop system that is buried beneath the ground on your property or underwater will last for years, and the fan, condenser, compressor and other necessary components can be installed away from inclement weather conditions. The main concern regarding geothermal maintenance is actually to ensure that the installation is done properly the first time around.

If your geothermal installation is not completed properly, your system will not operate correctly. This will require frequent maintenance and service calls, or even a costly reinstallation. When all of the equipment is installed correctly, though, a geothermal system will not require any more maintenance than a traditional heating and cooling system. Any moving parts will need to be lubricated, and of course any electrical contacts and components will need to be inspected and maintained for proper maintenance. Ensuring that the system controls and your thermostat are well positioned and properly calibrated is also important to get the best performance possible from your geothermal heating and cooling system.

When all is said and done, geothermal heating and cooling systems actually have fewer components to experience problems with than many other systems. While this is no excuse for neglecting routine maintenance service, it is good news for those homeowners under the false impression that the design of such systems necessitates more maintenance. As long as your system is well thought out, planned and professionally installed, you should enjoy years of quality service from your geothermal system with minimal maintenance needs.

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Geothermal Guide: The Installation Process

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Geothermal systems are one of the most efficient heating and cooling options available to homeowners. However, the installation process for geothermal systems is very involved and should always be done by a professional. The Wake Forest, NC geothermal installation experts at Raleigh Heating & Air offer complete services for many different brands of geothermal systems. We wanted to provide a quick description of what the installation process is actually like.

The installation process for geothermal systems is much more involved than a traditional AC system. Geothermal air conditioning and heating systems require that a long series of coils be installed on your property. These coils can be buried in the ground or installed in a body of water like a lake, pond or stream. The first step of the installation process is to determine if your property meets the necessary requirements for a geothermal system.

If your home does indeed have the space for a ground-source geothermal system or if you have consistent access to a body of water, the installation process can move forward. Our geothermal experts will work with you to find the right-sized heat pump, the equipment that will actually be installed in your home.  Our specialists will work with you to design a system for your home that matches your heating and cooling needs as well as your budget.

After those 2 critical steps, the geothermal professionals at Raleigh Heating & Air can begin the actual installation process. Our technicians are highly trained and will be able to get your new system installed so that it will work well and last for as long as possible. If you are interested in installing a geothermal system in your Wake Forest, NC home, give Raleigh Heating & Air a call today!

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Geothermal Guide: Common Repairs

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Do you have a geothermal system? Are you considering one but want to know what some of the more common repairs are? A geothermal system uses the moderate ground temperature to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The basic setup is similar to an air source heat pump, but it is connected to what’s known as an “earth loop.” In this post, we’d like to review a few common repairs that you may wish to keep an eye out for.

  • Leak: When professionally installed, the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) piping that makes up your underground “earth loop” should not be problematic. But there are other leaks to consider. Air leaks in the ductwork of your geothermal system can radically cut down on energy efficiency and cooling performance. Moreover, the connections between the loop and the heat pump components may be exposed and subject to wear and tear that can lead to leaks.
  • Dirt: Your geothermal system should work well for years, but like any other heating and cooling system, it may accumulate dirt, dust, and other debris during the course of its lifespan. Any such accumulation on sensitive mechanical or electrical components can become problematic, so it’s best to keep your geothermal system as clean as possible.
  • Electrical problem: While geothermal systems are widely known for their high energy efficiency, your heat pump does require electricity to operate. If your system won’t turn on and turns on and off intermittently, then you may have an electrical problem. First, make sure that you haven’t blown a fuse or tripped the circuit breaker. If resetting the supply doesn’t work, then there may be a damaged wire somewhere that you need a professional to fix.

While repairs are sometimes inevitable, with professional installation and minimal routine maintenance, a geothermal system is a bit sturdier than other types of heating and cooling systems.

For more information about Raleigh, NC geothermal repair, call Raleigh Heating & Air today!

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