Energy Division

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal Terms


Blowing Motor
An electric motor which pushes air through the ductwork to heat or cool buildings.

Circulating Pump
A pump which pumps liquid (water or refrigerant) through the heat pump and ground loops.

COP
Coefficient of Performance when used as a heating device, it is the ratio of the heat delivered in the high-temperature coils to the energy output.

Compressor
Device used by the geothermal system to compress refrigerant gas in a heat pump to raise the temperature and make it able to heat air or water.

Desuperheater
A heat exchanger installed with the compressor to remove a portion of heat from the refrigerant with the intent of heating domestic water.

Distribution system
A system which distributes hot or cold air throughout the building. This can be either ductwork for forced air or water pipes in a hydronic heating system.

Fossil fuel
A combustible substance created by compression of organic matter over a long period of time; such as oil, coal or natural gas; which is burned to create heat or energy.

Geothermal heating system
A geothermal system which utilizes heat stored in the first few metres of soil or water below the frost line. This system will transfer heat to a building to warm it in the winter and will reverse the process and return excess heat to the ground in the summer.

Geothermal
A source of heat derived from the earth.

Ground loop
The medium for heat exchange between the earth and the heat pump. Often pipes filled with refrigerant in the case of closed loops, or pipes drawing water from wells in open loops.

Ground water
Water supply circulating within the earth or drawn from an aquifer.

Heat pump
The main device in a geothermal heating system. Heat pumps are designed to extract heat from water circulated from an open or closed ground loop. It consists of a compressor, blower motor and circulating pump. Reversing valves allows it to also return heat from the building to the ground as a heat sink.

Hydronic Heating
A conventional water-based system of heating your home with hot water, usually uses radiators and a boiler or in-floor heating.

Radiant heat
Heat waves which is emitted from a heat source, such as heat from the sun.

Refrigerant
A fluid used in a heat pump and ground loop system designed to condense and vaporize at specific pressures and temperatures to enable heat exchange

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