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What Is Geothermal Heating?

Geothermal heating uses heat from the Earth, rather than the air, to heat or cool buildings and to produce hot water. Geothermal heating is energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. Read on to learn more about this field.

Geothermal Heating Information

Geothermal heating takes advantage of the natural thermal energy of the Earth. Many sectors have made efforts to harness it to reduce the amount of unsustainable energy consumption used in heating and cooling buildings. A geothermal heating system can heat or cool homes, schools, office buildings, stores or factories. It is suitable for all climates (even extremely hot or extremely cold) since the temperature of the ground, just below the frost line, is quite constant regardless of location.

Courses focusing on geothermal heating systems can be found in various programs across the country. These programs can be as short as a workshop lasting a few days, or as long as a multi-year degree program. Although coursework varies from school to school, most programs cover the same general topics.

Important Facts About Geothermal Heating Courses

Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent; advanced courses require prior HVAC experience
Program Levels Certificate, graduate
Continuing Education Courses can count towards both national and state CE requirements
Possible Careers Electrician, plumber, construction manager, operating engineer
Median Salary (2019)$56,180 (Electricians) // $55,160 (Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters)
Job Outlook (2019-2029)8% (Electricians) // 14% (Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Geothermal Heating Courses

Below is a sampling of courses that teach students about geothermal heating:

Introduction to Geothermal HVAC Systems

This course is designed specifically for professionals involved in the HVAC industry who lack experience with geothermal systems. Students are given an overview of the basic tenants of geothermal heating, and course topics include the historical background of geothermal systems, terminology, and important components of geothermal systems. Students also explore the benefits and drawbacks of using geothermal heating as opposed to a more traditional system.

Geothermal System Design

After learning about the general principles of geothermal heating, students can then take courses about proper installation. This course covers the essentials of geothermal system design and installation and teaches students how to select a quality heat pump and ensure accurate ground loop design. The lesson also focuses on ground heat exchangers (GHEXs) and their role in a functioning system.

Geothermal Troubleshooting

For advanced students with prior experience, this course details the examination and repair of geothermal systems. Course content includes a comprehensive analysis of warranties and claim procedures, water and refrigeration analysis, and testing procedures for various pieces of equipment including circulating pumps, blower motors, metering devices, and air compressors.