What is a heat exchanger?
A heat exchanger is exactly what it sounds like: a device that facilitates the exchange of heat between two gases or liquids of different temperatures. When a hotter material comes into contact with a colder one, the temperature difference causes heat to move from hot to cold.
As you might imagine, it’s very useful to be able to move heat from one place to another. As a result, exchangers have a wide variety of applications in a wide variety of industries, ranging from automotives and nuclear power to food packaging and wine production, and everything in between. More specifically, in the world of geothermal HVAC, heat exchangers facilitate the exchange of heat between the water (or steam) from the ground loops and the air from inside the home through direct contact, or conduction.
Why do geothermal HVAC systems need heat exchangers?
The heat exchanger is crucial to all HVAC systems because they are needed for heat transfer. Heat exchangers transfer heat from your HVAC system into or away from the air inside your home to generate heat or AC, respectively. This heat or AC then travels through your air ducts to warm or cool your entire home.
Geothermal HVAC is no exception. No matter how effective your ground loops and heat pump are, without a heat exchanger, your geothermal system wouldn’t be able to do its job! There would be no way to transfer heat from underground into your home in the winter and vice versa in the summer.