5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Geothermal Heat Pumps
Interest in geothermal heating and cooling has spiked in recent years, and the climbing continues. Installations have doubled in the last decade. You’re an excellent candidate for a geothermal heat pump if you’re building a new home, live on a property with a pond or well, or are paying excessively high energy bills.
However, there are a lot of things the average homeowner doesn’t know about geothermal heat pumps, and we’ve compiled five things we think should be of particular interest.
The appliance in your home that bears the most resemblance to a geothermal heat pump might be your refrigerator.
Most people would guess air conditioner, and while that has the most functional and arguably physical resemblance to a geothermal system, the refrigerator has the greatest degree of technical similarity. A refrigerator constricts refrigerant, which absorbs heat from inside the refrigerator and becomes a liquid, initiating an energy transfer that cools the refrigerator (and pumps some of that ambient heat energy back into your kitchen) and keeps your milk from spoiling.
The mechanism by which a geothermal heat pump works is, at least in principle, very similar. Using an underground network of liquid-filled pipes referred to as a “loop,” the pump transfers heat from the earth into your home, or reverses that process to cool your home. This is possible because the earth, which absorbs tons of solar energy, maintains a fairly constant temperature year round.
Whether the air outside is blistering hot or colder than your freezer, below the surface, the earth remains somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 degrees. A geothermal heat pump takes advantage of that and efficiently maintains a comfortable home.
A geothermal heating system is more efficient than anything else on the market.
If efficiency is your top priority, a GHP is the way to go. You can forget two-stage compressors, inverter heat pumps, super-efficient furnaces, and anything else out there. If your property will allow for the installation of a geothermal heat pump, it’s going to be the most efficient thing you can buy for your home.
With the same amount of electricity, a geothermal heating and cooling system can produce the same amount of climate control energy as two air-sourced heat pumps, and anywhere from 1.5 to 5 times what a reasonably efficient gas or oil furnace can accomplish.
The payback period is about the same as any HVAC system – even though a geothermal heat pump is more expensive upfront.
The most expensive part of a geothermal installation is the ground loop. If you’re lucky enough to own a property with a lake, large pond, or deep well, that cost is drastically reduced. However, if you do not, your costs will include the labor required to dig long trenches to bury the pipe for the ground loop, or to drill vertical holes for the same.
Depending on your soil conditions, chosen system options, and the layout of your property, a geothermal heating system could cost anywhere from $10,000-$30,000, or about 40% more than an equivalent conventional HVAC system. That’s a huge amount of money. But even on the higher end of that scale, the period required to recoup your investment can be surprisingly short.
Professional estimates will help you figure out ahead of time what kind of payback period you’ll be dealing with, based on your utility rates and the expected efficiency of your system. Other factors can influence your costs, including:
- Whether your installation is on a new home build or is a retrofit on an older home.
- How much excavation is required to lay your ground loop in place.
- Financial and tax incentives, payment plans, and the installing contractors.
Geothermal heating is the greenest – and one of the longest lived HVAC systems.
That’s right, with a GHP, you’re saving the environment, and setting yourself up for a very long time. A geothermal heat pump drastically reduces your household’s carbon footprint. You’re using clean, renewable energy. In fact, even though your energy is ground-sourced, you will have something in common with the most visible form of alternative energy – the source that ultimately allows your system to work is solar power, as the earth absorbs the sun’s radiance.
Better still, you’ll never have to worry about carbon monoxide, fuel tanks, or combustibles. Regarding maintenance, almost every geothermal heat pump on the market has a minimum of 10 years on the warranty, and the pipes used for your open- or closed-loop are often guaranteed for FIFTY YEARS!
A geothermal heat pump is quiet as a mouse.
Typically, HVAC systems are associated with noise. That’s why you store the condenser unit of a central air conditioner outside, and why industrial systems so often use rooftop installation. You’ve got loud motors and fans. With a geothermal heat pump, there is no outdoor unit – which is also great for the aesthetic of a beautifully landscaped property.
The system consists of the underground pipes that form the loop – which are unseen – and a single indoor unit that connects to the loop and circulates air via your air ducts. That indoor unit makes about as much noise as a modern refrigerator, which is to say not much at all. That’s because it’s pumping liquid, not air, and thus no fan or compressor is required.
Of course, there are far more than five things you could learn about geothermal heating. Give us a call today at 765-653-8802, and we’ll fill you in on all the latest details.
ROYAL COMFORT HEATING & AIR SERVES GREENCASTLE, DANVILLE, BAINBRIDGE, CLOVERDALE, FILLMORE, COATSVILLE, PLAINFIELD, AVON, MONROVIA & STILESVILLE.