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What Kind of Refrigerant Does a Geothermal System Use?

Geothermal comfort systems are a type of heat pump. Instead of using the air outside as a medium for heat exchange, as with a standard heat pump, a geothermal heat pump instead uses the temperature in the ground beneath the frost line (approximately 6–10 feet deep) for heat exchange. Refrigerant moving through the ground coils deposits heat from indoors during the summer, and absorbs it during the winter. Because the ground temperature remains relatively stable at this depth, a geothermal heat pump operates more efficiently than a standard “air-source” heat pump, especially during the winter.

If you are interested in a geothermal heat pump installation for your house, or if you wish to schedule service for a current one, call Raleigh Heating & Air. We specialize in geothermal in Cary, NC and the surrounding areas.

The Refrigerant of Geothermal Heat Pumps

The way refrigerant works in a geothermal system is different than in air-source heat pumps. The standard heat pump has only one type of refrigerant in it: a chemical blend called R-410A (which replaced the older R-22), the same kind found in air conditioners. Closed loop geothermal systems operate with two sets of refrigerant: one that runs through the ground loops, and one that runs through the indoor heat pump components.

The refrigerant that moves through the ground loops is a solution of water and anti-freeze that circulates in a closed cycle. The anti-freeze, after passing through the ground loops, enters a water-to-refrigerant heat exchanger indoors, where it transfers or absorbs heat (depending on what mode the heat pump is in) from the indoor refrigerant, which is standard R-410A chemical blend. This refrigerant then moves to the indoor coil of the heat pump, where heat is either absorbed or released.

There is another configuration of geothermal heat pump, called an “open loop” system, which uses ground water for the refrigerant in the loops. These systems are not as common as closed loops because the home must have access to a ground water source. A geothermal specialist will be able to tell you if an open loop system is practical for your property or if you should stick to a closed loop system.

Although geothermal heat pumps bring many benefits to a home and are especially helpful in areas that suffer from extreme cold during the winter, they are not ideal for all homes. Make sure you consult with professional installers before you make a choice about geothermal in Cary, NC. You can rely on quality geothermal services at Raleigh Heating & Air to help you find the right heating and cooling it fit your household and budget.

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