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3 Reasons to Install a Geothermal Heat Pump

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3 Reasons to Install a Geothermal Heat Pump

Fluctuations in oil and gas prices make it difficult to predict the cost of your energy bill each month. For some, dealing with the fluctuations just isn’t worth it, and alternative energy sources make more sense. Solar energy helps stabilize the electric bill, but there’s nothing for gas. Or is there?

Geothermal heating draws upon the steady temperatures found at a specific depth in the earth. The technology to reach these depths is fairly straightforward. It’s how the air is brought into the home that is more advanced. While it’s cost-heavy to install geothermal, it pays for itself over time and keeps the home comfortable without relying on fossil fuels.

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What is a Geothermal Heat Pump?

Waterkotte heat pump

    Image via Flickr by Bryn Pinzgauer

    A geothermal heat pump works by circulating an antifreeze solution through pipes buried in the ground, then drawn into the home for cooling and heating. Geothermal heat uses pipes installed at a specific depth which are then connected to one another and the heat pump itself. There are a number of configurations available for a geothermal system and all are designed to work in different square footages.

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    The basic idea of a geothermal heat pump is attaching the existing HVAC ducting to tubing or pipes buried in the ground. Liquid in the pipes draws heat out in the summer as it flows in one direction, and is reversed to draw heat in during the winter.

    The Latest in Heat Pump Technology

    Absorption pumps are the latest advancement in heat pump technology. They use an external heat source that includes solar, propane, or geothermal-heated water. An absorption pump uses an ammonia-water mixture to heat and cool. The ammonia gets condensed in a coil to release the heat, reducing the pressure and evaporating to absorb or release heat from the home.

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    The concept is one of simple physics. When the pump is set to condense, the ammonia flowing through the system releases the heat evenly throughout the home. If it’s set to absorb, the fluid cools down the home. And even though the absorption pump system uses an external heat source, it’s a relatively minor amount and the cost is negligible.

    Why Install a Geothermal Heat Pump?

    Not only do they save you money, they also run quietly. You’ll never know the pump is working because there is no noisy fan to distribute the air into the home. Savings on energy costs is another factor to consider even though the up-front cost of installation is expensive. Burying pipes requires the use of heavy machinery to dig down deep enough for the circulating fluid to reach optimal temps. But once it’s finished and installed, the geothermal heat pump requires far less maintenance and causes the fossil fuel bills to drop precipitously.

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    Long-Term Energy Savings

    Geothermal heating is much more efficient at delivering stable temperatures than electric energy. The amount of electricity required to run the heat pump is one-sixth that of an electric furnace, and up to one-half the cost of running an air conditioning unit. More savings are realized when using the heat pump to heat up the hot water tank through the use of a desuperheater. The desuperheater captures the small amount of heat loss from the pump and sends it to the hot water tank. No more constant running of the heating element to create hot water on demand.

    Geothermal heat pumps work in a variety of climates but work best where the temperatures don’t fluctuate much throughout the year. They do save money over the long run and need fewer working parts that eventually need repair, making it a sensible choice for keeping a home comfortable.

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    Featured photo credit: Image via Flickr by Bryn Pinzgauer via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on November 25, 2021

    How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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    How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

    There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

    Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

      What Does Private Browsing Do?

      When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

      For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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      The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

      The Terminal Archive

      While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

      Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

      dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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      Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

      Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

      However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

      Clearing Your Tracks

      Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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      dscacheutil -flushcache

      As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

      Other Browsers and Private Browsing

      Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

      If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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      As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

      Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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