The popularity of alternative energy and using it in our homes is growing every day. If you or someone you know is interested in learning about harnessing the power of geothermal heat pumps, then you’ve found the right place to get started on your geothermal journey and get some expert advice too.
What is Geothermal?
Geothermal energy is when heat is gathered from below the earth’s surface, which can then be harnessed to heat or cool your home. It is one of the best ways to get clean, renewable energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Most geothermal systems – more accurately called ground water source heat pumps – use a series of pipes underground that help grab the heat generated by the Earth’s core and use that energy in your home.
The Pros and Cons of Geothermal
As with any appliance, or really anything you buy, there are advantages and disadvantages to each choice. We’ve gone through the list of pros and cons before (which you can read here for a more extensive breakdown), but we’ll bullet point some of them for easy access.
- Environmentally friendly.
- True source of renewable energy.
- Low cost to operate.
- Reliable temperature control – steady source year round.
- Takes up very little space – doesn’t have much above-ground footprint.
- Expensive to install.
- You’ll still need another energy source to run the pump (electric, solar, etc.).
- Costly or difficult to retrofit or install in older homes.
- Much more of a hassle if you need to repair in-ground piping.
There is no substitution for doing your homework, so make sure you research all the benefits and disadvantages before making a choice.
Expert Advice On What You Should Know Before Considering Geothermal
Our resident expert, Keith Hill, technical support manager at Minnesota Air, says the research you put in beforehand is one of the most important steps.
“My advice to anyone interested in geothermal is to do their homework. Find a contractor that has a lot of experience with geo, not someone who dabbles in it,” he says. “You need someone who has a good relationship with an excavator or well driller to ensure that the ‘dirt side’ of the system is done right.”
If you have to do it over or make a repair, that can get really expensive when it comes to pipe buried in your backyard.
Keith also says to be prepared for sticker shock. According to the energy design website, Energyhomes.org, a typical home of 2500 square feet will cost between $20,000 and $25,000 to install.
“Although the price of operation is the lowest of all the HVAC systems, the upfront costs are the highest,” says Keith.
Lastly, he says don’t miss out on energy program dollars. There are big rebates and discounts for those wanting to turn to alternative energy.
“Back to doing your homework – there may be utility rebates and federal tax incentives for geothermal. Make sure you look at all of your options before you make your buy decision,” says Keith.