cool jobs. hot future. We're Hiring

What Is the Difference Between an Air-Source and a Ground-Source Heat Pump?

When people say the words “heat pump” they usually think of a single type. The truth is that there are three main types of heat pumps: air-source, ground-source and water-source. The latter two heat pumps are used with geothermal systems, which can be great options for homeowners in Wake Forest; air-source heat pumps, also a good choice, are used with both ducted and ductless systems. So what is the difference between a ground-source heat pump and an air-source one? Let’s take a look.


During the winter, air-source heat pumps absorb heat from the surrounding air, concentrates it, then disperses it to your home. Air-source heat pumps work well with ducted and ductless systems, offering both heating and cooling (for cooling, the process is the opposite of the winter).


Ground-source heat pumps work the same as air-source heat pumps, but they absorb heat from the Earth through the geothermal ground loop. Below the frost line, the Earth stays in a steady temperature range of 55-61 degrees; the ground loop of the geothermal system absorbs this heat, concentrates it and disperses it to your home.

Heat Transfer Is the Key

The key to how heat pumps work without generating either heat or cool air is transference: they transfer heat from one location to another, using refrigerant (air-source) or environmentally-friendly anti-freeze (ground-source) to facilitate the process.

So Why Use a Ground-Source Heat Pump?

If you are interested in a ground-source heat pump for your home, then you are interested in a geothermal system. Benefits of a geothermal system include:

  • Great energy efficiency – geothermal systems produce 3-4 units of energy for every 1 unit they use, making them the most energy efficient systems around
  • Long lifespan – geothermal systems have an average lifespan of 25-50 years, making them incredibly durable
  • Offers both heating and cooling – with a geothermal system, you can have both heating and cooling in one system

Geothermal systems require expert installation, so you need to hire a trained professional for any geothermal services in the Wake Forest area. For over 20 years, Raleigh Heating & Air has helped customers with multiple types of whole-home systems, so call us today!

Raleigh Heating & Air