Pros and Cons of Water Source vs. Ground Source Heat

Pros and Cons of Water Source vs. Ground Source HeatNo other heating and cooling system provides as much energy efficiency as a geothermal heat pump (GHP) does. These systems use heat transfer with a ground or water source to extract or lose heat. Their efficiency is unmatched by any other kind of heat pump or combustion heating system.

GHPs work just like refrigerators do. They move heat from one place to another, but unlike a refrigerator, GHPs use a reversing valve to move heat out or bring it in. Water and land are two of the best sources for heat extraction, since temperatures are fairly stable year-round, even in a lake whose surface is covered with ice in the winter.

Both water and ground source GHPS have distinct advantages and disadvantages, and choosing between them is often a function of the geology and hydrology of your lot.

Using Water

All GHPs cost more to install than standard HVAC equipment because they need a loop field for heat transfer. Of the two, a water source heat pump costs less to install because there’s much less digging involved. Installers dig a trench to lay the water pipes for the GHP and place the loop field at least eight feet under water. Once everything is placed, they backfill the trench.

However, such a heat pump depends on a reliable supply of water and it could be affected by droughts. Water quality could degrade as levels drop that could impact the system. You may also need jurisdictional approval to use a water resource for your HVAC system.

Using Underground Resources

An underground loop field gives you the most reliable source for the heat exchange process. Temperatures vary little throughout the year and they’re unaffected by above-ground weather. The downside of this type of heat pump is its installation costs. But once buried, the loop field generally lasts 50 years or longer.

The comfort and energy savings that GHPs offer, whether they’re ground or water source, make them well worth considering as a viable HVAC option. To learn more, contact C.R. Wolfe Heating & Air Conditioning, providing trusted HVAC services for Middletown homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Middletown, New York about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 845-367-4482.

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