Written by Brad Crawford
Has your geothermal heat pump system gotten its yearly maintenance check? Even though it’s a “heat pump,” it’s already working hard this summer. But if you missed your regular springtime maintenance call, you don’t want the thing to struggle and overwork itself trying to keep your house cool. Geothermal systems are capable of cooling (and heating) your home very efficiently. They transfer heat energy into the ground rather than burning fuel. Geothermal heat pumps use the earth’s constant temperature to exchange heat between your home’s interior and the outside. The primary component of a geothermal system is the ground loop, which is either open or closed. In a closed loop system, the pipe is typically between 4 and 6 feet deep and horizontally, or vertically at a depth of between 100 and 400 feet. The pipes are filled with an environmentally safe antifreeze and water solution that acts as a heat exchanger. In the less-common open loop system, surface water is used as a heat transfer medium.
Seasonal geothermal maintenance
This heat extraction and release process repeats until your home is cool. To stay cool, it’s wise to call in a heating and cooling pro twice a year at the start of the cooling and heating seasons. The technician will ensure proper airflow, mechanical function, and system performance by the following methods:
- Thoroughly clean the indoor and outdoor units. This includes removing dirt build-up and blockages that consistently occur at the heat-exchanger coils and blowers.
- Measure blower air speed. Airflow that’s too slow reduces heat exchange efficiency. Airflow that’s too fast wastes electricity, and produces more noise than necessary.
- Electrical components are inspected for function, tight connections and wear and tear.
- All moving parts are lubricated.
- The system is checked for leaks. If there are leaks, the technician will discuss repair options with you.
- Once the geothermal system is clean, airflow optimized, and no refrigerant leaks are detected, accurate refrigerant levels may be measured.