Ground source (geothermal) heat pump systems are arguably the most efficient technology for heating and cooling Wisconsin homes and businesses. These systems transfer heat from one place to another using the relatively constant temperature of the ground as a heat source in the winter and heat sink in the summer to provide heating, air conditioning and, in some cases, domestic hot water. Unlike conventional heating and cooling systems, ground source heat pumps do not burn fossil fuels themselves. Rather, they use electricity to provide heating, but in a much more efficient manner than electric baseboards or portable space heaters. In a cold climate like Wisconsin, consider a ground-source heat pump to save natural gas.
Ground-source systems in homes do not usually use backup heat because the ground temperature remains constant at 45°F to 55°F all year round. However, even a ground-source heat pump may not be able to completely meet a home's heating needs on the coldest days of the year. Thus, these units are usually equipped with backup heat. Focus on Energy recommends using a gas heating source as the backup heat.
If you are thinking about installing a ground-source heat pump, look for the ENERGY STAR®. ENERGY STAR qualified geothermal heat pumps use about 30% less energy than a standard system and are quieter than conventional systems. In addition to efficient heating and cooling, ground source heat pumps offer other benefits, such as less maintenance and convenient room-by-room temperature control.
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