The Pros and Cons of Geothermal Heat Pumps in the Greencastle Indiana Market
If you’re considering a geothermal heating and cooling system (also called a ground source or water source heat pump) you’ve probably heard some of the key points that are floating around in cyberspace. They’re still a minor blip in the HVAC world – only about 50,000 installations per year, as opposed to over 1,000,000 of the more common HVAC systems like air-sourced heat pumps and central air conditioners – but growing in popularity very quickly. As potential owners learn about the dramatically increased performance, efficiency, and eco-friendliness of geothermal heating and cooliong, the companies who sell and install these systems are fielding more and more questions. A geothermal heat pump uses a “ground loop,” which is a substantial loop of pipe filled with liquid. It uses the fact that below the surface of the earth, the ground remains a fairly constant temperature. That makes the temperature exchange by which a heat pump cools or heats your home much less strenuous to effect. Because of the growing interest in geothermal energy, customer inquiries are common. In the interest of transparency, we are assembling here a Pros and Cons list for people who only want the full story. Fair warning, though – the Cons list is going to be a lot shorter than the Pros list, and probably very situational. Geothermal heating is uncommonly good technology, and finding points against it requires a little creative thought. Without further ado, let’s begin. The Pros Environmentally friendly. Particularly compared to existing heaters such as gas or oil furnaces, a geothermal heat pump is an ecologically sound investment. They do not use any non-renewable resources or burn fossil fuels to produce heat. They emit far, far fewer greenhouse gasses. They also do not produce carbon monoxide. It has been estimated that over a period of 20 years, using geothermal heating reduces greenhouse gas emissions with staggering results. To equal that reduction, 58,000 cars would have to be retired from American highways, or someone would have to plant nearly 200 square miles of new forest. Even when you take into account their electricity usage and the associated power plant emissions, it’s hard to find a greener way to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. Energy efficient. Geothermal heating uses electricity very wisely. It is much easier to move heat around than it is to generate it, and that is the principle all heat pumps work on. However, unlike air-sourced heat pumps, a geothermal heat pump isn’t hamstrung by temperature extremes. They are twice as effective as an air-sourced heat pump on a hot day, and anywhere from 50%-300% more efficient than the best furnaces on the market. That efficiency translates to less usage, and we’ll get to that in a little bit. Minimal disturbance of your landscaping. While the installation process is pretty dramatic, once the ground loop is installed, there really isn’t much to see. The bulk of the geothermal heat pump apparatus is buried beneath the ground. There is no outdoor unit like you’d find with an air-sourced heat pump or central air conditioner. Safe to operate. The main ingredient in a geothermal system is the liquid flowing through your loop of pipes below the earth. The earth naturally maintains that liquid at approximately fifty degrees Fahrenheit. The heat pump draws on that heat in the winter and sends it into your home, or removes heat from your home and directs it into the loop in the summer. Because it isn’t using fossil fuels or any kind of combustion to heat, you have zero risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or the other hazards of furnaces. And because there is no outdoor unit exposed to the elements, the risk of weathering or damage to the system is minimal. Less expensive to operate. The annual cost of operation for a geothermal heat pump is distinctly less than conventional heating and cool systems. They free you entirely from a gas bill unless you use a gas-powered stove or water heater. On average, you’re looking at a 30-60% reduction in your heating costs and a 25-50% reduction in your cooling costs. Imagine that! The ConsWe had to get to these, of course, and we’re not going to pretend that there is nothing about a geothermal heat pump that might dissuade some folks from choosing to purchase one. However, we believe that most or all of the items mentioned below are surmountable, or may not apply to your situation. The elephant in the room is high installation costs. This is the biggest “con” anyone will be able to bring up. There is no getting around the fact that geothermal heat pumps are pricier than their air-sourced cousins. Part of that is because the installation is very involved. It typically requires excavation of trenches to bury the pipe for the ground loop of liquid, and a longer installation process than a more conventional product. Less suitable for older homes. Older homes and historic homes might be unwilling to allow the kind of digging required for a geothermal heat pump. They’re most easily installed during a new home build. Installing a geothermal unit after the fact will necessitate some landscaping expenses. More difficult to find. There is less demand for geothermal heat pumps than for air-sourced heat pumps and central air conditioners. Because of that, it can sometimes be tricky to track down a qualified and reputable installer. It also means that there is less competition to drive down prices, and so there are companies out there who charge excessive prices, knowing their customers have little choice. (Fortunately, you’re on our website already, and you don’t have to deal with a company like that!) Give us a call today at 765-653-8802 and ask whether a ground source heat pump is right for your home. ROYAL COMFORT HEATING & AIR SERVES GREENCASTLE, DANVILLE, BAINBRIDGE, CLOVERDALE, FILLMORE, COATSVILLE, PLAINFIELD, AVON, MONROVIA & STILESVILLE.
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.
AC Repair: Why Is My Heat Pump Not Cooling?
Here is a simple checklist for you troubleshooters out there. DISCLAIMER: heat pumps are complex systems that utilize large amounts of electricity. Do not take any action that might bring you in contact with high voltage. Your heat pump is blowing warm air? Or it is blowing no air? Or it’s not turning on at all? We’ll address the things that can cause problems for you, so you can hopefully prevent an AC repair bill and get right back to the business of being comfortable. Thermostat IssuesThe very first thing you can do is make sure that your thermostat is set correctly. It should be set to AUTO or COOL, or to HEAT depending on the season, and the setting temperature should be, at minimum, a couple of degrees below (or above for heating) the actual temperature of the home. Tripped Breaker and Other Miscellaneous Power IssuesOne of the first things you can check yourself is whether or not your heat pump is receiving power. Most residential installations have the outdoor unit easily accessible outside the building. Turn your thermostat down a few degrees and go outside to check the unit. Be sure to give the system up to 8 minutes to cycle on after you lower the thermostat. If it is not turning on at all, it’s possible you’ve got a power interruption somewhere. You can go check the breakers to see if they are tripped. If, however, resetting breakers doesn’t work, or they trip again, stop troubleshooting and call an AC repair professional. Power issues are not to be taken lightly. This could also be a bad capacitor, which, fortunately for you, is one of the least expensive AC and heat pump repairs we’ll discuss today. Low RefrigerantIf your blower is turning on and blowing air, but the air doesn’t feel cold, you may have low refrigerant. You can’t check this yourself, but AC repair contractors can diagnose and fix this quickly, and it’s not the most expensive repair on this list. In older systems that use R22 refrigerant, this could cost a little more, as that refrigerant is being phased out and current supplies are getting more expensive. Airflow ProblemsAirflow issues can also cause insufficient cooling. If your vents are blowing weakly, or not at all, check your air filters and clean them according to the instructions provided with your heat pump. Dirty filters can cause an excessive buildup of cold air inside the units themselves, making them ice over. This insulates the coils and prevents them from cooling the air properly. You’ll have to defrost those by blowing the fan for a while before your system will work properly again. If not, call your AC repair contractor. If you need AC repair for your air conditioner or heat pump system, call us today at 765-653-8802 and save $35! Related Articles: COOLING SYSTEM - 3 SMART REASONS TO AVOID A SUPER HIGH-EFFICIENCY CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONER CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONER INSTALLATION – HERE’S WHY HEAT PUMPS ARE GROWING IN POPULARITY DO PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTATS REALLY SAVE MONEY?
cooling system - 3 smart Reasons to avoid A Super High-Efficiency Central Air Conditioner
Generally, a more efficient central air conditioner is preferable to less efficient alternatives. However, this isn’t always the case. In this article, we’re going to talk about a few reasons you may want to deliberately opt for a heating and cooling system without the coveted “super-efficient” descriptor. When shopping for HVAC systems, salespeople might tell you that your first priority should be efficiency. However, in my opinion, the first and most important consideration should be your specific needs. That means, if you read this list and it applies to you, you may choose to opt for a lower-cost cooling system. Let’s begin! You may want to consider a less efficient air conditioner IF: The home in which you’re having a cooling system installed in a home where you do not pay the power bill. If you’re a landlord or property manager, the energy bills in a home are likely not your responsibility. In that instance, it might be worth saving yourself some money by opting for a simple air conditioner that will be sufficient to your tenant’s needs but may not be the most efficient available option. While cheaper systems do have higher energy bills, that cost A) won’t be passed on to you, and B) won’t be so much higher that your tenants will be negatively impacted. You aren’t home in the summertime. Many people keep vacation homes these days, or travel during the warmer months, or for other reasons find themselves away from the home during the peak months of air conditioner operation. If you’ve got a forested cabin, a beachfront bungalow, or a ski-lodge tucked away somewhere, you probably aren’t using your central air conditioner all that often, anyway. At that point, it makes sense to purchase a simple cooling system without all the bells and whistles that raise the price tag. You’re selling the house. This one’s pretty obvious, in our opinion. This doesn’t mean that you should absolutely avoid more expensive central air conditioners; it just means that you should weigh what your buyer needs. If keeping the cost low is extremely important to your customers, then opting for a less-efficient, and thus less expensive cooling system would be the right choice. If you are able to pass the cost of a more expensive air conditioner onto the home buyer without incident, then you have more options. The bottom line? You should weigh what you need first, not what a salesperson or technician says you need. If you need a new central air conditioner or a complete heating and cooling system, call us today 765-653-8802 and enjoy out lowest prices of the year!
CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONER INSTALLATION – HERE’S WHY HEAT PUMPS ARE GROWING IN POPULARIty
Heat pumps are a good alternative to electric or fuel based, heating and cooling systems. They are becoming more and more popular throughout the country but there are a lot of misconceptions about their cost and usage. To dispel all of these, here are 6 reasons to choose a heat pump instead of a gas furnace for your heating and cooling needs: Cost efficiencyA ground source heat pump (geothermal heating and cooling) can save users up to 60% of energy costs, whereas air source heat pumps can save up to 40%. This cost efficiency is created as the system moves existing heat that always exists rather than creating all of the heat by itself. This means that the need for precious resources is eliminated and your carbon footprint is greatly reduced. Perfect temperatureHeat pump systems can maintain the right temperature in every room including home offices, bedrooms, basements, garages and more. Most homes here in Indiana are candidates for a heat pump but only your heating and air conditioning installation company can tell you for sure. Heat pumps do become less efficient once the temperature drops below about 40 degrees or so and are supplemented with an electric heating element. Energy efficiencyIf planned and installed properly, a can produce heat at a highly efficient rate. For example, a ground source heat pump can produce 4KW of heat while consuming only 1KW of energy, which is a co-efficient of performance of 4:1. Air source heat pumps have a COP of 3:1, which is still better than most other heating and cooling systems. Reduced maintenanceUnlike other systems, heat pumps require a lot less maintenance. Good heat pumps could last for more than a decade with simple maintenance. Manufacturers are so confident in their product that they offer warranties for up to 10 years. Unlike heat pumps, furnaces can lose efficiency over the years and are not as efficient. SafetyHeat pumps have been proven to be safer than most other heating systems. They have a very low prevalence of accidents as no hazardous materials are present. Boilers, for example, are more hazardous as they involve boiling water and carbon monoxide. Easy installationMost air conditioning and heating companies can complete an installation quickly and efficiently, usually in a day or less. This means that homeowners don’t need to face the hassle of planning where or how to install the system. Heat pumps are growing in popularity and it’s easy to see why. With a reduced environmental impact, heat pumps are efficient. Moreover, some utilities provide incentives to make the equipment even more affordable. If you would like to learn more to determine if a heat pump system is right for your home, call us today 765-653-8802 and claim your free estimate and get a biggest savings of the year!