If you are planning to install a geothermal cooling and heating system as a replacement for your existing HVAC system, you may need to retrofit your home to accommodate the unique properties of geothermal.
The exact changes you will need to make depend on the specifics of your home and the equipment that you are replacing.
Sealing and insulating
Before installing a geothermal cooling and heating system, you want your home to be well-insulated and sealed. By reducing your home’s cooling and heating load, you reduce the size of the necessary geothermal system, lower both your installation and operating costs, and potentially reduce the need for the further retrofits listed below.
Whereas a traditional furnace heats air to about 140 degrees, a geothermal system only heats the air to approximately 100 degrees. Because of this, geothermal systems are designed to supply a higher volume of air so that the same amount of heat is provided. This may also mean that your existing ductwork will need to be expanded to handle the increased airflow.
However, if you’re replacing an older air-source heat pump, or have a very old furnace system, your existing ductwork will probably be sufficient.
Since geothermal systems can also produce hot water, they can easily be converted to work with a water-based heating system, such as radiators or radiant floor systems.
Cast-iron radiators can work with geothermal heating, but copper or aluminum radiators will probably have to be replaced.
A radiant floor system may require no retrofitting at all, assuming it was designed with enough heating loops. You can get rid of the chimney or exhaust vent, though, because geothermal cooling and heating produces zero emissions within the home.
If you’re considering geothermal cooling and heating for your northwest Arkansas home, please contact us at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal in Springdale. We offer turn-key geothermal systems, and can handle every aspect of their design and installation – including any necessary upgrades or changes to your home’s insulation, ductwork or hot water systems. Feel free to call us with any questions.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Northwest Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about geothermal and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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