What Is Geothermal

Geothermal is an energy-efficient form of heating and cooling that pumps heat into or out of the earth.  Heat is transferred to or from the ground via high-density polyethylene pipes that contain an antifreeze mixture.  Heating/cooling are distributed throughout the house via forced air or a hydronic system. 

Why Geothermal?

Canadians everywhere have been increasingly feeling the strain of their monthly utility bills. With two-thirds of average homeowners' energy costs going to heating, cooling and hot water, these homeowners are looking at alternative sources to heat and cool their home.

This is where a geothermal system from WaterFurnace comes into play.

A WaterFurnace geothermal system not only increases the heating and cooling efficiency in homes but also significantly reduces energy bills.

A geothermal system has been declared the most environmentally-friendly, cost-effective and energy-efficient heating and cooling technology available by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The earth retains 47% of the sun's energy, so a WaterFurnace geothermal system capitalizes on this stored energy. This energy is essentially free, is unlimited, 100% renewable and greatly enhances the efficiency of the heating and cooling in your home.

A WaterFurnace geothermal system is proven to be cost-effective, while emitting absolutely no carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or other harmful greenhouse gases.

How Kenora Geothermal Heating and Cooling works
  • Energy Efficient: Providing you with an unheard of 400% efficiency, the Envision system delivers up to $4 of free earth energy for every $1 of electrical energy used.
  • Cost Effective: The high efficiency of the Envision system gives you incredible energy savings, which usually more than offsets any additional installation costs within the first five years.
  • Comfortable: WaterFurnace systems provide consistent and comfortable heating and cooling. The optional zone control system lets you control the temperature in four different areas of your home.
  • Reliable: The WaterFurnace reputation for reliability has been earned by using only the highest-quality components, design and workmanship.
  • Quiet: WaterFurnace systems do not require noisy outdoor units that create unsightly additions to your home's appearance.
  • Safe: There is no combustion, flames or fumes and no chance of carbon-monoxide poisoning because natural gas, propane or oil are not required to operate a WaterFurnace unit.
  • Flexible: One compact WaterFurnace unit provides heating, central air conditioning and supplemental domestic hot water.
  • Clean: High-efficiency air cleaners found in WaterFurnace systems keep your indoor air quality clean, removing dust and pollen so you can breathe easier.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Installing a WaterFurnace system is the environmental equivalent of planting 750 trees or removing two cars from the road. No fossil fuel means no harmful emissions or greenhouse gases.


Types of Loops

Geothermal Heating and Cooling Closed Loops

Closed Loops

These loops are made of durable plastic pipe, are buried in the earth or submerged in a lake or pond, and transfer heat by circulating a solution through the system. Because water transfers heat better than soil, closed loops can be coiled and placed on the bottom of a pond or lake where it transfers heat to or from the water. A 1/2 acre, 8-foot-deep pond is usually sufficient. Closed Loops are the most commonly used systems in our area.

Open Loops

These loops use ground water pumped from a well as a heat source. The well must have enough capacity to provide adequate flow for both domestic use and the WaterFurnace unit. This technique allows the loop to be placed underneath homes, basements, wooded lots or even swimming pools without disrupting grass or landscaping. The water quality must also meet a standard for purity to be used in this system.

Geothermal Heating and Cooling Open Loops
Pond/Lake Loops

These loops often require less excavation than vertical or horizontal loops; therefore, they are often less expensive to install. They can be installed if an adequately sized body of water is located close to the home. A series of coils are sunk to the bottom, connected by a header with supply and return pipes leading to the home.

Horizontal Loops

These loops are used where an adequate open space of land is available, and no bedrock.  One or more trenches are dug, pipes are inserted, and the trenches are backfilled.

Vertical Loops

These loops are installed where space is limited. Installing vertical loops requires the use of a drilling rig. Multiple holes are bored about 10 feet apart. A double pipe connected with a U-bend is inserted in to each hole. The hole is filled with grout to provide good contact around the pipe and to seal the hole. The vertical pipes are then connected to a header system horizontally a few feet below the surface.

Which Type?

The decision on which loop configuration to use depends on the land terrain, the cost of trenching or drilling, the availability of quality ground water and the availability of land. Your geothermal dealer will help you make the best choice.

FAQ


How does a geothermal heating and cooling system work?
Outdoor temperatures fluctuate with the changing seasons but underground temperatures don't. Four to six feet below the earth's surface, temperatures remain relatively constant year-round. A geothermal system, which typically consists of an indoor unit and a buried earth loop, capitalizes on these constant temperatures to provide "free" energy. In winter, fluid circulating through the system's earth loop absorbs stored heat and carries it indoors. The indoor unit compresses the heat to a higher temperature and distributes it throughout the building. In summer, the system reverses, pulling heat from the building, carrying it through the earth loop and depositing it in the cooler earth.

What makes a geothermal system different from ordinary systems?
Unlike ordinary systems, geothermal systems do not burn fossil fuel to generate heat; they simply transfer heat to and from the earth to provide a more efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly method of heating and cooling. Typically, electric power is used only to operate the unit's fan, compressor and pump.

How Geothermal Heating and Cooling works graphic
Parts of a Geothermal Heating and Cooling System

What are the components of a geothermal system?
The three main parts consist of:

  • A heat-pump unit
  • The liquid heat-exchange medium (open or closed loop)
  • The air-delivery system (ductwork).

How efficient is a geothermal system?
A geothermal system is three to four times more efficient than the most efficient ordinary system. Because geothermal systems do not burn fossil fuels to make heat, they provide three to four units of energy for every one unit used to power the system.

What does geothermal mean for the environment?
Geothermal systems work with nature, not against it. They emit no greenhouse gases, which have been linked to global warming, acid rain and other environmental hazards. WaterFurnace provides an earth-loop antifreeze which will not harm the environment in the unlikely event of a leak. And much of the WaterFurnace product line uses R-410A, a performance-enhancing refrigerant that will not harm the earth's ozone layer.

Geothermal Heating and Cooling Effect on the Environment

Do geothermal systems require much maintenance?

As with all heating and cooling equipment, periodic maintenance checks are good practice. During these checks we will test and confirm the unit efficiency is reaching the target specifications from the manufacturer, go over electrical components, ensure clean drain pans and air coils, etc. We typically suggest every 2-3 years is a nice way to ensure your heat pump is continuing to run at optimal levels, and allows us to solve a problem before it becomes a greater issue. As a homeowner, the number one task you can do to maintain your heat pump, is to keep the filter clean.  Heat pumps need to move more air than other styles of heating systems, so keeping the filter clean is critical.  The geothermal unit’s fan, compressor, and pump are housed indoors, protected from the harsh weather conditions.  The geothermal system’s buried loop will last for generations when properly installed. 

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909 Ottawa Street,
Keewatin, Ontario
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