Episode 136: What is a ground-source heat pump and should I install one in my house?

Can heat from the ground reduce home energy costs? Stephen Lee, professor in Carnegie Mellon’s School of Architecture, explains how a ground-source heating pump helps regulate the temperature indoors.

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Geothermal Heat Pumps from the Department of Energy

Guide to Geothermal Heat Pumps from the Department of Energy

Choosing and Installing Geothermal Heat Pumps from the Department of Energy


Transcript

HOST: What is a ground-source heat pump and should you install one in your home? On this week’s Energy Bite, Stephen Lee, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has some answers.

LEE: You may be familiar with heat pumps and might already have one in your home. In the summer, heat pumps extract heat from your home and pump it outside. The reverse is true in the winter, when heat pumps extract heat from the outside air and pump it into your home. But, when the temperature falls below 40 degrees, this process becomes both inefficient and very expensive.

HOST: What is different about a ground source heat pump?

LEE: A ground source heat pump does this same extraction process, but as you might have guessed, from the ground, which has a nearly constant temperature all year round. Ground pumps are much more efficient, but cost more due to the need for drilling.

Some utilities do give deep discounts or rebates to homeowners who commit to electric heating, which makes ground source heat pumps more economically feasible.

HOST: Would you install a ground-source heat pump in your home? Take our poll, see the results, and ask your energy questions at Energy Bite dot org.

ANNOUNCER: Energy Bite is a co-production between 90.5 WESA and Carnegie Mellon’s’ Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.

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