With rising energy costs many homeowners are asking if geothermal energy could be a cost effective way to heat and cool their home. Geothermal heating and cooling offers several advantages over conventional electric, gas and oil based systems, as well as a few disadvantages.
Geothermal is not a new technology, it operates on the age old principle of heat exchange and the fact that the temperature underground is a more or less a consistent 55F. Pipes are installed underground to circulate water throughout the ground. The water returns to an energy pump inside the home which uses the temperature difference to extract the energy from the water.
During the hot summer months, cooling with 55F water is more efficient than with a conventional AC condensor using electricity to chill 90F air. During the cold winter months, making heat from 55F water is far more efficient than heating 15F air with conventional fuels. Sounds simple enough, but what's the catch?
Disadvantages of Geothermal Systems
The main disadvantage of residential geothermal systems is the initial cost. Depending on the conditions for drilling the average residential geothermal energy system costs $10,000-$20,000. It's an investment that can take 5-10 years to pay off.
Another disadvantage is the geothermal pump needs a conventional power source, although it uses minimal amounts of energy.
Advantages of Geothermal Systems
The main advantage of residential geothermal systems is it's a truly renewable energy source that will never run out and is virtually cost free. Geothermal is also among the greenest ways to heat and cool your home, with an extremely small carbon footprint.
Geothermal energy is also extremely reliable. Because the temperature of the ground will be very consistent, energy costs and output will be reliable from the minute the system goes online and for many years down the road. Compared this to the variability of wind and solar energy and even fossil fuels which can fluctuate in price dramatically, geothermal is a safe bet for home energy savings.
Have questions about whether geothermal is right for your home? Give us a call, we're here to help.