Geothermal Heating and Cooling
So you’re looking to save money in heating and cooling costs while also using alternative fuel sources? Look no further than geothermal heating and cooling. Though it’s still in its infancy as far as conventional HVAC goes, geothermal is becoming a trend, and eventually will be the norm. The Earth’s core provides the energy needed to heat and cool your abode instead of oil, natural gas, or a heat pump. Although geothermal does have a few drawbacks, the benefits will likely outweigh the disadvantages for you and your family. It seems like a clear and easy choice, but let’s talk about what might discourage a homeowner from going green when it comes to HVAC.
If you’re easily shocked by sticker prices, this one might throw you a bit. The cost, especially on older homes that must be retrofitted, can be upwards of $30,000. So you’ll have to decide if what you spend for a geothermal system is worth what you’ll save in the long run. The reason older home installations cost more is because of the great deal of excavation required to install. However, a business that is larger than most homes would benefit from a geothermal install more easily because the cost might be tax-deductible based on the state, county, or municipality that it’s located in.
As of 2019, there are very few installers of geothermal systems and therefore not much competition. This also lends to the higher price versus standard HVAC systems, and the plethora of installers for those.
Underground ecosystems and their parts (i.e. roots) can be detrimental to the components of geothermal HVAC and can have huge out of pocket costs.
The Earth’s energy alone isn’t what powers this type of system. Geothermal only refers to the source of heating and cooling, not the energy to run it. That would almost certainly be electricity – and a lot of it. So there is a slight pitfall there. Aside from the power bill, the water required for underground wells that are used for these systems is immense.
Now that we’ve done the bad news first, here’s the good news.
Compared to gas and oil furnaces, geothermal systems emit almost no pollution and are 300 to 500% efficient. Conventional systems average about 90% efficiency. As long as the planet stays intact, geothermal energy is 100% renewable. They also will not turn off because they run out of fuel.
Not only can two-bedroom homes benefit from these eco-friendly systems, but large commercial spaces can as well.
The savings for annual heating and cooling will drop drastically upon installation, typically between 40 and 60%. Gas and/or oil prices will have no bearing on what it costs to run a geothermal system. These systems make almost no noise as there isn’t a compressor to run or furnace to fire up.
The Whole Story
While geothermal energy may not be practical for all home or business owners, the future of this concept is quite bright. As more and more HVAC companies utilize geothermal energy systems and technology, prices will continue to fall, and they’ll become more readily available.