EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio)
The ratio of cooling provided by a geothermal heat pump to the energy it consumes. Higher EER equals higher efficiency.
COP (Coefficient of Performance)
The ratio of heating provided by a heat pump to the energy it consumes. Higher COP equals higher efficiency.
Ground Source Loops
The loop that is installed into the ground outside the house is referred to as a ground source loop. These can vary in size, layout, and flow but all are designed to bring heat from the ground with the Heat Transfer Fluid into the Heat Exchanger component of the geothermal unit. All ground loops are made with specially designed HDPE pipe with a 160PSI rating and all joints in the pipe are a fusion weld joint to ensure no leaks when the loop is buried. There are two types of Ground Source Loops: a Closed Loop and an Open Loop.
These loops are filled with Heat Transfer Fluid that circulates within the loop and takes the heat from the ground and brings it into the Heat Exchanger part of the geothermal unit. There are three types of geothermal ground loops installed in Haliburton:
- Horizontal Loop
A closed loop system installed below the frost line. These loops take up the most room and require the longest lengths of pipe.
- Vertical Loop
By drilling straight down into the bedrock, these loops take full advantage of the temperature of the earth’s crust. With a very small installation footprint, vertical loops can be installed almost anywhere.
- Lake Loop
Since there are so many lakes around Haliburton, we are able to install plenty of closed loops into the lakes. A trench is dug down to the water and the pipes are sunk to the bottom of the lake, similar to a waterline. The water at the bottom of the lake is above freezing year-round and has excellent heat-transfer properties.
As opposed to a Closed Loop System, an Open Loop system takes water out of a well from an aquifer and extracts the heat out of the water and then dumps the water back into the same aquifer in another well. While there are varieties of open loop systems, only systems that use the same aquifer as the water source and discharge, as well operate independent of the domestic water system, are permitted in Ontario.
The Heat Exchanger is the component of the geothermal until that extracts the heat from the Heat Transfer Fluid and warms up the refrigerant that is in its liquid stage. The Heat Transfer Fluid and refrigerant do not come in contact with each other during this process.
The compressor increases the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant and simultaneously reduces its volume while causing the refrigerant to move through the geothermal heat pump to facilitate heat transfer between the air in your home and the heat pump. ClimateMaster offers geothermal heat pumps with compressors that are either 1 or 2-stage. 2-stage compressors are more efficient than their 1-stage counterparts.
Heat Transfer Fluid
A liquid comprised of mostly water and a percentage of another substance with a lower freezing point to keep the loops from turning to ice and restricting flow. Ethanol, Propylene Glycol, Methanol, and Ethylene Glycol (Car antifreeze) are all examples of antifreeze liquids that have been used at one time or another in geothermal heating systems. Currently, both Methonal and Ethylene Glycol are banned from geothermal use due to their high toxic levels. This Heat Transfer fluid is used in both the exterior loops when taking heat out of the ground as well as the interior hydronic loops when distributing heat in the building. Both loops are independent of each other and can have different compositions (e.g. geothermal loop with ethanol and interior loop with propylene glycol)
Water Flow Control
In order for a geothermal heating and cooling system to exchange heat via its underground loop, water must be continuously circulated between the ground and the heat pump. This is the job of the water flow control. ClimateMaster offers 2 different water flow control methods in its geothermal heat pumps:
- vFlow® Internal Variable-Speed Water Flow Control
vFlow® builds the major water circulation components into the heat pump for a cleaner, smaller installation and intelligently varies water flow to minimize pump energy consumption. This is ClimateMaster’s most energy efficient water flow option and is currently available only in the Tranquility® Digital Series.
- External Fixed-Speed Water Flow Control
This is the traditional method of water flow control in which fixed (single-speed) pumps are housed outside of the heat pump. This method of water flow control requires a bit more space to install and is not as efficient as vFlow®.
The indoor fan is responsible for circulating conditioned air throughout a home’s air conditioning ductwork and is housed inside of the heat pump. ClimateMaster heat pumps are currently offered with 2 types of indoor fans:
- Variable Speed Indoor Fan
ClimateMaster’s variable-speed indoor fan intelligently varies fan speed to minimize energy consumption. This is ClimateMaster’s most efficient indoor fan option.
- Single Speed Indoor Fan
The single speed indoor fan operates at only one speed. It gets the job done but is not as energy efficient as the variable speed fan.
The electronic controls are the brains of a ClimateMaster geothermal heat pump. They control all aspects of unit operation and receive and translate information from the thermostat. ClimateMaster geothermal heat pumps are currently offered with two types of electronic controls:
- iGate® Communicating Controls
iGate® Communicating Controls allow for 2-way communication between the thermostat and heat pump and analyzes the status of sensors and other 2-way communicating components to determine how best to operate your system for optimal comfort, efficiency, and long term reliability. iGate® technology represents the next generation in intelligent controls and will allow for future accessories to access and control your system via internet devices. iGate® controls are available only in the Tranquility® Digital Series.
- Non-Communicating Controls
These are traditional electronic controls that do not support 2-way communication. These will get the job done but are not able to control geothermal system operation as efficiently as iGate® communicating controls.