Saturday, January 09, 2010

Is your Geo-Thermal Heating Sustainable?


Sustainable Geo-Thermal Energy?

Weather Affected?

This damn cold spell has put me in a negative mood and set me to thinking - problems. I am wondering how well those heavily SEI grant-aided Geo-Thermal ground source heating systems are coping in this current Arctic weather??.

As the temperatures go down and down, the efficiency of a geo-thermal system gets less and less. In sustained freezing weather, like we have had for almost a month now, the cost of running a system gets much higher as the thermal efficiency is reduced.

Unless the external heat-gathering pipes in a ground sourced system are buried deeper than a meter, there is every chance that the system could be an “Over – Unity” system - that is, it would take more than a kilowatt of electricity to give a kilowatt of heat.

Air sourced Geo-Thermal with external temperatures of minus 10 degrees centigrade would be nothing short of a joke - dont waste your time turning them on.

Anyone out there having winter freezing fun with his or her Geo-thermal system??

Maintenance Costs?

Although it is a bit too early to tell yet, because most Irish systems are only in place in the last two to three years, I suspect that some users are in for a BIG shock when the heat pump breaks down. That the compressor will break is inevitable, and when it does, expect a truly vicious bill to follow. The heat pump is very expensive and there is also the engineers time.

Manufacturers are fast to state that heat pumps will last at least 10 years. But how many domestic appliances that you are aware of live longer than 10 years?? I would also have reservation about the life-span of those miles of piping and the many dozens of connectors. Have you ever known any plumbing system that has not had some problems??

And the Big Question:

How many installers and manufacturers actually give you a written 10 year guarantee on their heat pumps?


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