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Create a Livable Outdoor Space by Adding a Deck

Outdoor livable space is a popular trend. You can set up an outdoor seating area, outdoor kitchen or outdoor dining space. This allows you to entertain guests outside or host a larger party than what your home can hold. This trend inspired my wife and I to build our own outdoor livable space. However, one of the biggest decisions we faced was what the base for our space would be. We could use concrete, lay pavers or construct a deck. After doing a lot of research, we decided on a deck. It was a challenging decision, but we are pleased with the outcome. In fact, we are so happy we decided to start this blog and help educate other people on decks and livable spaces. Learn the benefits, learn the downside, learn how to care for your and learn what kinds of wood are best for an outdoor deck.

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Create a Livable Outdoor Space by Adding a Deck

Answers To 4 Commonly Asked Questions About Geothermal Energy

by Kelly Simmons

With natural resources continuing to dwindle, many people find themselves considering alternative ways of controlling the temperature of their home. Geothermal energy is one method that has gained momentum in recent years--yet many people still fail to understand it completely. If you would like to learn more about using geothermal energy to heat and cool your home, read on. This article will provide answers to four commonly asked questions.

What is geothermal energy?

The term geothermal refers to energy stored below the surface of the earth. As you may already know, the earth's core is made up of molten lava. Luckily, to harness geothermal energy you don't actually have to dig down quite that deep. In fact, even in a cold climate like that of Minnesota, suitable amounts of geothermal energy can be accessed by digging a mere 150 to 200 feet below ground.

How does geothermal energy heat a home?

Geothermal energy is harnessed through the installation of a geothermal heat pump (GHP). A GHP is capable of both heating and cooling your home. It works by moving an environmentally friendly solution made up of water and antifreeze through a looped network of underground pipes. As this solution moves through the heat pump, it exchanges thermal energy with the surrounding earth. In winter this works to heat up the solution--and thus your home--whereas in summer excess heat is displaced into the earth, thereby cooling your home.

Can I install a geothermal heat pump myself?

In most cases, installing a GHP requires a hiring a professional such as Benson's Heating and Air Conditioning. That's because it takes a very specialized set of tools to bore the holes to the appropriate depth. The walls of these boreholes must then be sealed with a special grout, which not only helps to make the holes more structurally sound, but it also helps to promote a more effective heat transfer. Finally, the pipe system is installed in the bore holes, filled with fluid, and attached to the pump, whose role is to circulate it through the pipes.    

How economical are geothermal systems?

The high installation costs of geothermal systems make many people nervous. Yet compared to conventional methods of heating and cooling a home, geothermal systems are estimated to use 25-50% less energy. In other words, once installed, a geothermal energy system will help you save money by drastically reducing the energy consumption of your home. In many cases, these savings are so great as to recover your installation costs in as few as two years.

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