As heating costs continue to skyrocket, many homeowners are turning away from fossil fuels to less expensive — and more environmentally responsible — methods of heating their home. Geothermal energy is one of the most effective and efficient ways to heat a home. These systems utilize heat trapped beneath the soil to meet virtually all of your heating needs.

Like all heating systems, a geothermal system is prone to developing certain issues from time to time. As a responsible homeowner, you should have a basic grasp of common problems. This article will educate you by discussing two frequent issues besetting geothermal systems.

Scale Build-Up

As noted above, geothermal systems act to transfer latent heat from the ground to the inside of your home. These systems do this most often by circulating water through a circuit of beneath-ground pipes. The water acts to absorb and thus transfer the heat. Even a relatively small temperature difference between ground and air is enough to make your home snug and warm.

One common area where problems tend to occur has to do with the water that is circulated through your system. This is especially true for those who live in areas with hard water. Over time, the calcium and magnesium molecules in hard water will build up as a layer of scale inside of the geothermal system.

This is the sort of change that may not lead to noticeable problems for many years. Yet as sensitive internal components experience increasing scale build-up, these components will gradually become so restricted that they lose their ability to function properly. This generally causes your home heating expenses to undergo a related price increase.

Existing scale buildup can be effectively eliminated by having a professional flush the system with acid. This acid acts to dissolve the scale while leaving the pipes themselves unharmed. To prevent scale from becoming a problem again down the line, consider installing a water softener to remove unwanted minerals from water before it enters the system.

Pipe Leaks

A geothermal system relies on a large and expansive network of underground pipes. These so-called loops are constructed out of heavy-duty plastic. Because they are located safely beneath the ground, they are generally safe from the sort of wear and tear that often affects above ground pipes.
Nonetheless, geothermal loops do develop leaks from time to time, especially as they near the end of their lifespan. As you can imagine, spotting a geothermal leak can be difficult — the pipes are underground, after all. Yet when the leak is significant, it will often manifest as a wet or soggy portion of your lawn.

You may also notice that your system seems to be heating and cooling your home much less efficiently. This has to do with the fact that the water that should be transferring heat to your home is instead spilling uselessly into the dirt of your lawn. Be sure to contact a reliable geothermal repair company if you have noticed such a drop off in your system's performance.

Once you've determined that a leak may be a probable cause of your system's drop in performance, the next step is to have a professional try to determine the leak's location. This is done by injecting dye into the system. This harmless substance will then leak out into your yard, causing a noticeable change in color where the leak is.

Bottom Line 

Geothermal heat pumps are among the most reliable and least trouble-prone of all home heating systems, but that doesn't mean that problems won't arise now and then. Please don't hesitate to contact the experts at Air Necessities Heating & Cooling if you believe there's something going wrong with your geothermal system.