Retired Oklahoma College researcher suggests how geothermal heat pumps save energy and enhance air quality

03 settembre 2010
Retired Oklahoma College researcher suggests how geothermal heat pumps save energy and enhance air quality

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Are you aware that Gerald McClain, after numerous decades working with geothermal energy master James Bose at Oklahoma State College, has designed an innovative home geothermal cooling and heating solution? Heat pumps work like a fridge in reverse, they normally use electrical energy to transfer heat from one place to another instead of producing heat directly. Consequently, they can be two to three times more energy-efficient than traditional electric heating units.

A geothermal heat pump is a central heating and/or cooling system that pumps heat to/or from the terrain. It uses the earth as a heat source (in the winter months) or a heat sink (in the summer). The geothermal pump models are among the most energy efficient technologies for providing HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) and water heating. The installation rates are higher than standard systems (approximately $45,000 lowered by a 30 percent with federal tax credit), but the difference is generally returned in energy savings in three to 10 years.

The Gerald McClain's geothermal system is based on:
- 6 one inch diameter pipes sunk 3 hundred feet into the soft red clay below his home
- A water antifreeze mix in the pipes that picks up the ground's constant 62 degree F. temperature
- 3 heat pumps in the attic that use a small electric powered compressor to heat or cool the home

The power for the pumps costs about $100 a month, much less than the typical heating and cooling bill in the area.

A well maintained heat pump unit not only will help you save electricity, but will also blow dust into the house, improving indoor air quality. Indoor dust can pose health dangers, specifically to young children. New studies (As published in the site in September 09) displays that indoor dust is highly polluted by persistent and endocrine disrupting chemical substances (such as poly-chlorinated biphenyls). Heat pumps achieve energy efficiency by moving heat around as opposed to liberating it. This is not to say there is no air motion with a heat pump, but the heat transfer decreases that process. So does the lack of a cold-cycle as it exists in many standard heaters, which also acts to blow dust through the house.

The author - Lorie Wampler creates for the residential heat pumps blog. It's a nonprofit website concentrated on her personal knowledge with air cooling to decrease energy use and improve indoor air quality. With this she would like to increase the interest on eco-friendly tips for the home and change the public perception of energy efficiency.

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