Geothermal Heating and Cooling



Geothermal heating and cooling is considered to be the most efficient way to keep you home comfortable. However, very few people actually know what geothermal really is, or how it work, and how much it costs. In this article we will look at basic principles of geothermal system operation and review residential geothermal heating and cooling system operation and installation costs. We will also review the cost of financing a new geothermal systems, compare your monthly payment against the money saved by switching from a conventional HVAC to geothermal.

Basic principles of geothermal heating and cooling system operation:

A geothermal heat pump system uses the ground you already own to heat and cool your home for less. Geothermal works by using the difference in temperature between the outside air and the ground. The ground is like your own solar panel, absorbing fifty percent of the suns energy which keeps the ground temperature a constant fifty five degrees. When the summer sun produces those ninety five degree days, the ground remains at its constant fifty five degree temperature. In the winter, the ground temperature remains around fifty five degrees, even with the snow.

To exploit these temperature differences holes are drilled anywhere from fifty to hundreds of feet deep to house a system of piping known as the loop field. These holes are filled with a grout to improve heat transfer with the earth. The loop field is brought into the home where it connects with the geothermal heat pump. The system circulates a water mixture through the entire loop.

In the winter, the water absorbs the heat in the earth which is then compressed by the heat pump to a warmer temperature and distributed throughout the home as heat. For every unit of electricity used in this process, four units of heat are produced. The most efficient gas furnaces are ninety four percent efficient. Geothermal is four hundred percent efficient.

The operating costs of a geothermal system can be up to seventy percent less than conventional systems. In the summer, the same process is reversed except now the ground acts as a heat sake instead of a heat source. Heat and humidity from the home are pulled out and rejected back into the earth. Cool air is distributed throughout the home providing air conditioning. The geothermal heat pump is also equipped with a desuperheater which is used to preheat hot water saving you even more money!

Geothermal heat pumps operate extremely quietly and often use the same thermostat system. They can be installed as a retrofit or a new construction. Stop paying the propane, heating oil, coal and natural gas companies’ increasing fuel prices. Cut your homes dependence of fossil fuels, your carbon footprint, and combat rising fuel costs. GeothermalEnergy.org encourages you to learn more about why switching to geothermal is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.

Financial benefits of switching to Geothermal:

With average heating bill in the northeast being about $250 per month, and average cooling bill at about $100 per month, you can spend as much as $2100 just for these two items, adding significant amount to your household budget each year. However, with energy prices being so volatile, and usually on the rise, you can expect this amount to increase each year, or at best stay about the same.

Imagine you could save only 70-75% on year heating and cooling bill, and pay $525-630 for your heating and cooling each year. You would save as much as $1500 / year, and would not need to worry much about your energy-related expenses rising rapidly, anytime the OPEC decides to jack the oil prices or the gas prices skyrocketing because the winter is expected to “very cold”.

Residential Geothermal heating and cooling cost:

You may ask – “if everything is so great in Geothermal world, why isn’t every homeowner in the US switching to geothermal?” The answer is rather simple – as with most green and renewable energy technologies out there, the high initial cost of the geothermal heating and cooling system, is prohibitive for most people. However, if you look at the real math, you will see that geothermal systems in not only 400% efficient and is about 70% less expensive to operate than a conventional HVAC systems, it is also cheaper to own.

Let’s say that your new residential geothermal system costs $45000. At the same time a new Gas or Oil heating system will cost about $15000. A central air AC will cost another $4000. Therefore an conventional Heating + Cooling systems costs $19000, and the difference between the geothermal and regular system is $26000.

Now, in the first year, you will get a Renewable energy tax credit of 30% of the total cost of the system – this will be $13500 off your tax bill. So now the difference between the geothermal and conventional heating and cooling systems is $12500.

As we calculated above, a geothermal heating system will save you on average $1500 per year, so it would take about 8 years and 4 months for your geothermal heating and cooling system to pay for itself. But lets be conservative and say that you home is well insulated and your annual saving will be $1250 instead of $1500 per year. In that case it will take you exactly 10 years to break even, after which the savings will be piling on.

In the next article about the residential geothermal systems, we will discuss the financing of the geothermal system with a 5 year home equity loan and compare it to the same loan for a conventional HVAC system.



This entry was posted on Monday, September 27th, 2010 at and is filed under Geothermal Heating and Cooling. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Geothermal Heating and Cooling”

  1. Lisa Green Says:

    I feel Geothermal heating and cooling is GREAT investment! I did my research (Geothermal HVAC) and there are plenty books, videos and sites that can better inform you on on this great investment! There is a wonderful book Geothermal HVAC that answers all questions and concerns about geothermal heating and cooling.

  2. Xue Xiandi Says:

    To pretect our air enviroment,the goal of my life is to use geothermal to heat the house and apartment countryside.

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