With the ever increasing prices of heating oil and natural gas some people are starting to look into the feasibility of geothermal heating to heat their homes. In the US this technology isn’t as advanced and popular as in Iceland or parts of Europe but as energy prices go through the roof maybe its time we start thinking about what’s under the basement.
Once you start to get below 6 feet in the ground the temperature —stays between 50˚F and 60˚F year round so it is cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter in most areas. The basics of Geothermal heating and cooling is very simple; just circulate fluids through the ground to cool the fluids and then that cool fluid will then cool the air that circulates through your house via some type of ducts. The same principal is used for heating in the winter, the fluids and then the air is warmed in a similar manner. However, the heat generated is often not as warm as what most people prefer so a compressor is used that increases the temperature somewhat. Here is an excellent link, The Case for Geothermal, that goes into this explanation in far greater detail.
Here is a European based site, Geothermie.net which has some good information on how you might or might not be able to use it for your home.
However, in many parts of the US, like New England, the cost is steep upfront, like up to 15-30 Grand. However, overtime it may be cost effective and certainly will add to your home value.
Here is a link to the Geocomfort site that can get you hooked up with even more info as well as a local dealer.