Geothermal Advantages/Disadvantages

geothermal-no-carbon-footprintGeothermal is increasing in popularity in many parts of the world. This article will share with you both the advantages and disadvantages of installing geothermal heating and cooling in your home. How Geo Works Video.

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Geothermal energy is being installed in more and more homes each year as energy prices continue to climb. It is important to understand both the advantages and disadvantages when considering geothermal for your home.

The first advantage of installing geothermal in your home is the fact that geothermal has no carbon footprint. This means that it does not use any carbon based fuel to operate such as natural gas or propane. Geothermal is a renewable energy. This means that the earth continually replenishes the energy that the geothermal uses from the ground to supply heat and cool for your home. Ground source heat pumps always produce significantly less greenhouse gasses than air conditioners or furnaces. Each home that uses geothermal energy to provide heat and cool has the environmental impact of planting 750 trees or permanently removing 2 cars from the road forever!

The second advantage of geothermal heat pumps is that they are 3 to 4 times more efficient than high efficiency furnaces or electric furnaces. The same goes for air conditioning, geothermal is far more efficient because the ground temperature is consistent at 55 degrees. Compared to a central air conditioner where in Iowa the outside air temperatures can exceed 95 degrees in the summertime.
Several other advantages follow: Geothermal heat pumps also have very good lifespan, estimated at around 25 years for inside components and 100+ years for the ground loop. Geothermal heat pumps work very silently unlike some conventional air conditioners that can be quite noisy. Once geothermal heat pumps are installed they have very low maintenance costs. Geothermal heat pumps can also add value to your property if you decide to later sell your property.

The major disadvantage of geothermal heat pumps is increased upfront initial costs, which are in average two to three times higher than conventional systems. This really becomes a disadvantage if the system is not installed properly. Thousands of heating and cooling systems are installed each year that do not produce the intended energy savings due to improper installation techniques. With geothermal systems it is even more critical that the contractor is qualified to install the system. A good step in determining if a contractor is qualified is to use the Quality Installation Checklist provided by Air Conditioning Contractors of America. Another good step is to ensure that the technicians within the company have their Nate Senior Analyst Certification. This is the highest level of certification for the HVAC industry. The large initial cost is mostly due to the well system. Fortunately properly installed well systems will last a lifetime so this allows the cost to be spread over a long period of time.

The disadvantages of geothermal can be greatly reduced by selecting a quality contractor with installation and design experience with ground source heat pumps.