Do you wish you could heat and cool your home with a single system, all while doing less harm to the environment? Geothermal heat pumps, which are heating and cooling systems that function by exchanging heat between your home and the earth below your yard, are becoming more popular among homeowners. Read on to learn more about these energy-efficient, eco-friendly heating and cooling systems and their benefits.
What Are Geothermal Heat Pumps and How Do They Work?
Geothermal heat pumps are devices that can function both as heaters and air conditioners. You can switch them from heating to cooling mode with the flip of a switch. Connected to the heat pump are a series of large pipes or coils, which stretch through the soil about six feet beneath the earth’s surface. These pipes are filled with water.
Geothermal heat pumps are effective because the soil below ground remains a pretty consistent temperature year-round. In the winter, the water within the below-ground pipes pick up heat and carries that heat into the heat pump, which is located inside the home. In the heat pump, that heat is concentrated and then used to warm air that’s circulated through your ducts.
In the summer, the heat pump picks up heat from within your home and transfers it to the water. The water is then circulated through the below-ground pipes, discharging the heat into to the cool soil. As heat is continually carried out of your home, it remains cool and comfortable in spite of high outdoor temperatures.
Why Is a Geothermal Heat Pump a Good Choice?
Geothermal heat pumps are easiest to install in new builds, but they can be added to existing homes as long as your home is positioned in an area where the pipes can safely be installed below ground. These systems offer many benefits, including the following.
Lower Energy Bills
According to one estimate, the average homeowner saves between 25% and 50% on their heating and cooling bills when they switch from a conventional HVAC system to a geothermal heat pump. Geothermal heat pumps use electricity rather than natural gas, so installing one might allow you to cancel your natural gas service if you don’t have any other gas appliances.
Costs vary, but as a rough estimate, you can expect to pay about $1 per day to heat or cool the average 2,000-square-foot home with a geothermal heat pump.
Geothermal heat pumps benefit the environment in a number of ways. First off, they do not burn any fossil fuels as a traditional furnace does, so you’re not releasing any carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases into the air. Heat pumps do require electricity—which is sometimes generated by burning fossil fuels—but with several states turning more and more towards greener power, this is becoming less of a concern.
The heat below ground is seen as an unlimited resource. You don’t need to make any changes to a landscape to harness this underground heat as you might to obtain fossil fuels for conventional HVAC systems. This is one reason why geothermal heating is acknowledged by the EPA as being the most environmentally friendly heating and cooling option available.
Zero Carbon Monoxide Emissions
With any heating system that burns fuel, there is always a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that’s released whenever fuel is burned. It can cause headaches, nausea, confusion, and even death. Hundreds die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning in the United States. Since geothermal systems don’t burn fuel, they do not release carbon monoxide—so you don’t have to worry about this risk.
Traditional air conditioning compressors can be pretty noisy, especially when you’re near them outside. Geothermal heat pumps, however, operate very quietly in the summer and the winter. You don’t have to worry about the roar of your air conditioner getting in the way of your picnic or outdoor gathering.
Hot Water Production
Many geothermal heat pump systems are set up to also provide hot water to your home. You don’t need to have a separate hot water heater. This helps negate some of the increased cost of installing a geothermal system rather than a conventional HVAC system. It also means you have fewer appliances to maintain and more space in your basement.
Long Life Span
Most geothermal heat pumps are expected to last at least 25 years, and the exchange pipes can last 50 years or more. This is longer than the average life expectancy for a furnace or air conditioner, which is about 15 years. So, when you choose a geothermal heat pump, you won’t have to worry about replacing it as soon.
With a single geothermal heat pump, you can reduce your environmental impact, enjoy a quieter and safer home, and minimize the need for repairs and replacements. If you think geothermal heating and cooling may work well in your home, get in touch with Custom Comfort today for an estimate.