Does Geothermal Heating Work in Cold Climates?

Does Geothermal Heating Work in Cold Climates?

If you’re considering geothermal heating for your Duluth area home, no one can blame you for wondering whether the system will work properly during our harsh Minnesota winters. Since geothermal heat pumps draw heat from outdoors, it’s easy to assume they’ll only perform well in warmer climates, but that’s a widespread misconception.

Here’s the truth: Geothermal heating works great in cold climates and it’s fully capable of heating your home even on the coldest day of the year. How’s that possible?

Let’s take a look.

Subsurface Earth Temperatures & Heat Retention

The earth is constantly absorbing heat energy from the sun, and it stores that energy in the ground. Several feet beneath the surface of your yard, the temperature of the earth remains relatively constant at about 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit year round.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking at Duluth or south Florida – the earth’s subsurface temperature is basically the same. And whether it’s scorching outside or well below zero, that temperature hardly varies.

A geothermal heat pump relies on this minimally fluctuating heat source to warm any home – even those located in cold climates.

How Geothermal Heat Pumps Function

The ground-source heat pump (GSHP) is the beating heart of a geothermal heating system. The heat pump is connected to a ground loop that's buried several feet beneath the surface of the earth.

That pump is filled with a heat-conducting liquid solution that absorbs stored warmth from deep within the ground. That liquid solution circulates continuously, so after it absorbs heat from within the earth, it circulates back to the heat pump. The heat pump then draws the heat energy from the solution, concentrates it, and pumps it into the home via ductwork or vents.

Rather than using electricity or gas to heat cool air to the appropriate temperature, geothermal heating simply moves heat energy from one place to another. Even in the midst of a Minnesota winter, the earth’s subsurface temperature remains steady, so the ground-source heat pump has an endless source of heat from which it can draw.

Designing a Geothermal Heating System for Homes in Cold Climates

If you’re thinking about installing a geothermal heat pump, it’s critical that you get the right size pump and ground loop for your home, or the system won’t perform as well as it should.

An appropriately designed duct system is also important for efficient heating and cooling, so you’ll need to schedule a system consultation with a geothermal expert.

During your consultation, one of our heating and cooling experts will perform a Manual J Load Calculation to determine your home’s HVAC system requirements. Once we run the numbers, we’ll be able to determine the appropriate heat pump size and system design for your unique needs, and we’ll go over your options with you in detail.

For additional details, check out how our geothermal system installation process works.

Ready to Learn More? Request a Geothermal Heating Consultation

Curious if a geothermal heating and cooling system is right for you? Get in touch with our team at The Comfort Company to schedule a system consultation today! We specialize in HVAC assessments, geothermal equipment selection, system design, and installation for homeowners in Duluth, Proctor, Hermantown, and the surrounding areas.

To learn more or get started, feel free to give us a call today at 218-231-4436 or send us a message with any questions or concerns, and we’ll be in touch!