You may be interested in pursuing various options for making your home more environmentally friendly. You may also want to improve your energy usage while maintaining excellent indoor comfort conditions. In either case, your greenest option for home comfort is a geothermal heat pump. Learning more about how geothermal systems work and the benefits of installing them may prompt you to go green as you consider updating your existing equipment.
Geothermal technology relates to the earth’s internal heat, and a geothermal HVAC system makes use of the more constant earth or water conditions to provide greater energy efficiency in home comfort control. Whereas an air source heat pump uses the surrounding air as heat is absorbed from or released into the environment, a ground source or water source heat pump uses soil or water to facilitate this exchange of energy. Because temperatures are more stable in the ground or in deep water, a geothermal system is able to operate with less energy consumption.
A geothermal heat pump relies on a loop field for outside heat absorption and release. In your air source heat pump, a refrigerant loop is much smaller with outside coils being housed in a condenser unit. The footprint for a geothermal heat exchanger can be extensive. The tubing used to construct these coils is usually plastic, and an antifreeze solution circulates through these coils to exchange heat with the refrigerant in the heat pump. The positioning of the coils in a more stable temperature environment means that the energy transfer between refrigerant and antifreeze remains consistent even in extreme weather conditions.
There are several important elements in a contractor’s design of a geothermal system for your home. Your heating and cooling loads must be calculated to determine the appropriate heat pump sizing. An HVAC contractor will generally size a geothermal system to accommodate between 95 and 98 percent of the heating load in northern climates.
The loop field is the other key component of system design. The four main options include vertical loops, horizontal loops, open loops, and lake or pond loops. Considerations vary based on the landscape and property where the loops must be placed. Common issues include:
The ability to use less energy is an important benefit of this type of system, but those interested primarily in trimming utility bills need to recognize that geothermal projects can be very expensive. According to Energy.gov, the additional costs of a geothermal system can be returned in between five and 10 years through more efficient system operation. Additionally, the life of such a system is estimated at 25 years, exceeding the life of an air source heat pump by more than a decade. The loops are estimated to last for 50 years or more. Energy tax incentives may defray some of the project costs as well.
If the benefits of geothermal energy seem to fit your interests and needs, you can contact W.E. Brown, Inc. in Charlottesville, VA, to schedule a consultation. Our team is available to calculate your heating and cooling loads and to provide you with the most appropriate loop field options based on your property details. Call our office for an appointment.
When life gets busy, it’s easy to forget or ignore routine home maintenance tasks. However, identifying minor problems can keep issues from turning into major, expensive repairs. Here are five home maintenance tasks you should never overlook: Fix leaky faucets: Fixing leaks is about more than just saving water and avoiding flooring or wall damage.Read More
W.E. Brown has thrived in the Charlottesville area since 1922 and every year, we try to find ways to give back to this amazing community where our customers live. This year, we’re partnering with our friends at NBC29 to host the W.E. Give Back Program. The goal of this program is to recognize and giveRead More
During the cold winter months, owning a generator can bring peace of mind. Being without power in frigid weather can be inconvenient and even dangerous. Here at W.E. Brown, we believe that investing in a generator is a step you can take to ensure that your family stays safe and that you don’t have toRead More
When a breaker trips in your home, it’s due to overcapacity or a short: The breaker trips, stopping the flow of electricity as a safety measure. A tripped main breaker will cut the power off to your entire house. SOME COMMON CAUSES CAN INCLUDE: too many appliances; appliances that require too much electricity; damaged breakers;Read More
Routine maintenance makes sure your heat pump is working at peak performance. But if one room is typically colder than the rest of your home, here are a few DIY tips you can do to help. Test your thermostat. Affix a thermometer on your wall next to your thermostat. Place a towel behind the thermometerRead More
To ensure that your toilet doesn’t overflow, remove the lid from the toilet tank and close the rubber flapper—unless you have a pressure-assisted tank. You may also reach behind the toilet and turn off the water supply. (Make sure you turn the supply back on when you’re ready to flush again.) PLUNGER Grab a heavy-dutyRead More
What is emergency heat—and why do I need it? As a follow-up to our recent blog “My A/C won’t keep my house cool enough on a 95-degree day,” we’re taking a look at how heat pumps use emergency heat to perform adequately during the winter. Emergency or auxiliary heat is a supplemental heating component installedRead More
It’s 95 degrees outside, and you can’t get your indoor temperature to go below 75 degrees—even with your thermostat set on 72 degrees. It seems as if the AC can’t keep up. First thing you might think; okay, let’s get a larger AC to keep perfectly cool when summer temperatures hit above 93 degrees. However,Read More
One year ago in May, severe rain in Charlottesville, Va. caused the banks of rivers and streams to flood; so much so that people lost their lives. I recently sat with Diana and Scott outside their home in White Hall to talk with them about the flood and how it changed their perspective on service.Read More
If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, an R-22 refrigerant phase-out has been taking place in the air conditioning industry (since 2013) that will affect you—if it hasn’t already. (Some systems after 2010 were manufactured with the use of R-22. You can check the nameplate on your condenser for the refrigerant type.) The R-22Read More
There are many steps you can take to create a more air-friendly indoor environment. Some of the devices and claims can make the topic of air filtration confusing. Well, it doesn’t have to be. Read our blog and take a look at the simplified diagram to see if we can help clear the air onRead More
Defined as relative worth, merit, or importance: value is different for everyone. The “best” may not always be the right value for your home. And this nuance is important to consider when it comes to replacing your HVAC system. Start with the right HVAC consultant or technician; they will walk you through a series ofRead More
Snow and ice are in the forecast for us (again). If you’re off to grab a few provisions, don’t forget to build in a little time to make sure your heat pump is ready for snow. A few simple steps can go a long way in ensuring you stay comfortable and safe during the snowRead More
There comes a time in every home owner’s life when they realize their furnace just isn’t what it used to be. Years of wear took its toll, and your once young and powerful heating system is now struggling to keep your room warm. We know it is hard to say goodbye, but delaying its replacementRead More
As you prepare to welcome your little one, there are probably a million things running through your mind when it comes to “baby-proofing” your home. While we cannot cover every safety tip out there, there are some important steps you can take to keep your family comfortable and safe during this new stage of life.Read More
A Smarter and More Efficient Way to Manage As manager of the call center, there is never a dull day for Chrissy Kelly. Her job involves overseeing all of the operations in the department, meaning she must keep track of a lot of information. The call center team works together to handle all follow-up coordination,Read More
There is a reason why more and more homeowners are making the switch to programmable thermostats every year–well… ten reasons actually: 1) It Saves You Money (Really) The best way to combat those high bills is to reduce your energy usage. Instead of heating or cooling your house while you are away, you are ableRead More
After decades of experience providing reliable plumbing, electric, and HVAC services, W.E. Brown has expanded their products/services to include smart-home technology. While the idea of smart-home devices may be intimidating for some, Jay Taggart (CEO of W.E. Brown) saw this addition as a natural progression for the company. After all, they have been installing theRead More
Seven years ago, Jessica Pritchett began to dream about becoming an electrician, but put her goals aside to care for others. Despite all odds, her unwavering passion led her to pursue that dream at W.E. Brown years later. Her whole life, Jessica has been passionate about fixing things and discovering how they worked. However, pursuingRead More
When a family’s cat was in serious danger, duct mechanic Roy Haislip and call center employee Jennifer Perry did not hesitate to come to its rescue. Their heroic actions and compassion for others exemplify what we always aim to achieve at W.E. Brown. Read about how the event unfolded through the eyes of Roy andRead More