What is geothermal heating and cooling?
Without any effort from humans, rays from our Sun, or Solar Energy, warm the Earth everyday. Earth stores some of that heat underground. The word geothermal comes from geo (Earth) and thermal (heat), or heat from the Earth. Since the 1940s, humans have been tapping and harnessing this enormous source of geothermal energy and funneling it into homes and businesses as a primary or secondary heat source. Instead of using the outdoor air which is either much hotter or colder than ground temperature, the Earth’s constant temperature is used to either help heat or cool a building depending on the season. This reduces the amount of energy it takes to keep you comfortable.
Geothermal energy is a renewable resource, unlike fossil fuels like natural gas, coal and oil. Some of these non-renewable resources have been used to heat homes for hundreds of years. Geothermal energy is renewed each day as the Sun rises and heats the Earth’s surface. Tapping this resource can pay off in a fairly short time.
Cost of geothermal heating and cooling
The average price to install a new residential geothermal hvac system in Delmarva is between $10,000 – $20,000 depending on your home, land and your heating and cooling needs. Drilling the wells that are used in the geothermal process adds a variable to the project and is addition to the install price. The costs for the wells can range from $10,000 to $30,000 depending on your land and the type of system you choose.
While geothermal hvac systems cost more to install than a traditional heat pump, they are much more energy efficient. This will save you a ton of money for the next 20-30 years and is better for the environment. Geothermal hvac is truely an investment. Both in your portfolio and in the environment.
These numbers are super impressive. Standard heat pumps are 175-300% efficient, compared to a whopping 300-600% efficiency for geothermal heat pumps. In other words, a normal heat pump will produce 1.75-3 kW of thermal energy for every 1 kW of electrical energy consumed. Whereas a geothermal heat pump will produce 3-6 kW of thermal energy for every 1 kW of electrical energy consumed. Or in layman’s terms, this means huge savings each month for those with geothermal hvac.
Monthly Operating Costs
Geothermal heating and cooling can reduce energy bills by 40-60 percent. That’s huge! $30,000 to $90,000 savings over 20 to 30 year life expectancy of a geothermal hvac system. Or approximately 2/3 less (66% savings) than using propane to heat your home or business. That’s a huge savings every month (like a modest car payment). Some of our clients save as much as $3000 per year on energy bills. You may save more or less, depending on your current energy consumption, the size heat pump you choose, the style geothermal system you install, and the construction your home.
Life Span and Maintenance
Standard heat pumps reside outdoors in the blistering summer heat and freezing Delmarva winters. This is a hard, salty life. Geothermal heat pumps reside underground and indoors. A more sophistcated life for a much better hvac system. Living indoors and underground also minimizes routine maintenance, reducing your operating expenses even more.
Installing a geothermal hvac system will increase the value and sellability of your home. Geothermal heating and cooling makes your home more desirable than those with standard heat pumps. Why! Partially because of the reduced maintenance and energy savings.
Again, depending on your home and current utility rates, you could pay your new geothermal hvac system off in 2 to 10 years. The energy savings achieved with a new energy efficient geothermal system will pay you for years. With approved credit, you may even qualify for special financing for 60 months on your new geothermal hvac system. Ask your representative for more details. Call us now for your Free, No Obligation, Geothermal Consultation and Written Estimate.
How does a geothermal heat pump work?
Geothermal heat pumps (GHP, GeoExchange, earth-coupled, ground-source, or water-source heat pumps) work similar to normal heat pumps, essentially, as long as the outdoor temperature is above freezing. BUT, instead of exchanging the heat in your home with the outside air, it exchanges stored heat from underground that has been generated by solar energy (the Sun). How is this better? Underground temperature is more consistent (50-60 degrees year round in Delmarva) than above ground temperature (0-100 degrees depending on season in Delmarva).
Geothermal Heating Example
Let’s say it’s 40 degrees outside and your heat pump is trying to keep the inside of your home at a toasty 70 degrees. A standard heat pump must raise outdoor air 30 degrees to achieve this desired temperature.
A geothermal hvac system can pull from the constant 50 degree temperature from underground and now only has to raise that 20 degrees to achieve the same 70 degree desired indoor air temperature. Bamm! Heat your home for less.
Geothermal Cooling Example
Let’s say it’s 90 degrees outside and your heat pump is trying to keep the inside of your home at a cool 70 degrees. A standard heat pump must work like crazy to lower that outdoor air 20 degrees to cool your home.
A geothermal hvac system can gently pull the from the constant 50-60 degree temperature from underground that is already well below your desired indoor air temperature of 70 degree. Thus it just needs to pull that free coolness from the earth and transfer it to your home. Vuala! Cool your home for less.
Types of geothermal hvac systems
The Heat Pump
The heat pump itself is similar to a standard heat pump, just configured a little different to exchange heat with the ground instead of the air. And the above ground unit is often stored indoord instead of outdoors like a standard heat pump.
Closed Loop vs Open Loop
Closed Loops are just that. A closed system of special tubes or pipes that circulate an antifreeze type solution to exchange heat underground. This system is placed in a Horizonal or Vertical Loop.
Open Loops are less expensive to install (as much as 60% less than closed loop geothermal systems) but can be a real pain to keep running smoothly. It pulls water from a source (lake or well water) and discharges it elsewhere after exchanging its heat.
Horizontal vs Vertical Loop
Vertical Loop is, you guessed it, Up and Down. This is for those without much open land. We dig down deep into the earth (hundreds of feet sometimes) using a well boring machine. The closed loop in inserted in this hole and filled in with a conductive solution.
Horizontal Loops are shallow, installed just a few feet below ground level. This is less expensive to install than Vertical, IF you have a lot of open land to dig up. We install either slinky or straight pipes to draw that free solar energy from the Earth.
Environmental impacts of geothermal hvac
Simply put, geothermal heat pumps are much better for the environment than standard heat pumps. And don’t even compare to fossil fuel burning heating systems. Geothermal hvac systems emit zero carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases because they are 100% electric. And they use less energy to run due to modern technology that makes the systems run smoother and easier than in years past.
Installing a geothermal hvac system on your home is like planting an acre of trees. How? The reduction in greenhouse gas is equivalent to planting all those trees on your property. That’s a huge help for the environment.The EPA will back us up on this. Over 20 years, your geothermal hvac system will be like planting 120,000 trees. 180,000 trees over 30 years. WOW!
Geothermal hvac systems use much less energy (as much as 60 less) than standard heat pumps. Thus, saving energy, money and the Earth. Read about the pros and cons of geothermal next.
Pros and Cons of geothermal energy
Let’s be real. Is there really nothing bad about geothermal energy?
Pros – Advantages
- Save a ton of money on energy bills (up to 60% on heating and 50% on cooling).
- Help protect the environment.
- Smallest carbon footprint of any hvac system.
- Works on any size home or business.
- Ignore gas and oil price fluctuations.
- Quieter than standard heat pump.
- Longer lifespan than standard heat pump.
- Fewer moving parts means less maintenance.
Cons – Disadvantages
- Higher upfront investment than standard heat pump.
- Boring holes/wells will temporarily disturb your yard. But, this could actually be a pro, if you wanted a new yard anyway.
- You still need electricity to run the heat pump, just less of it.
- Underground loops could be damaged by tree roots, rodents, etc… This is extremely rare, but for full disclosure, it could happen.
What do you think? Which wins, the pros or the cons? If you said the pros, it’s time to call the Pros for your Free, No Obligation, Geothermal Consultation and Written Estimate. No pressure. Call us now for your Free Estimate.
Why choose renewable energy?
Now is a great time to invest in a geothermal hvac system. Prices are at their lowest ever. Technology is at its best ever. And this Planet’s renewable resources are being depleted at an astonishing rate causing increases in natural gas and oil prices. Electric bills will continue to rise slowly. So using less of it is a no brainer, if you have the funds to invest in a geothermal hvac system.
With approved credit, you may even qualify for special financing for 60 months on your new geothermal hvac system. Ask your representative for more details. Call us now for your Free, No Obligation, Geothermal Consultation and Written Estimate. Call now to see if geothermal is right for you and your home or business.