Electrically powered ground source heat pumps, also referred to as geothermal systems, tap into the stored solar energy of the earth. System components, buried deep in the ground to take advantage of the earth’s constant temperature, transfer energy to provide heating, cooling, and occasionally hot water to homes and commercial buildings.
Ground source heat pumps offer many benefits – and some of them may surprise you:
High efficiency, low cost operation.
A well-known benefit of geothermal is its efficiency – it’s off-the-charts. Providing a whopping 4 units of energy for every 1 unit of electrical energy, it stomps the competition. The most efficient gas furnace, with an efficiency rating of 96%, can’t get anywhere near the 400% efficiency rating ground source heat pumps deliver. This makes geothermal systems a welcome addition to the grid, as their low electricity requirements reduces peak grid demand, helping reduce both weather-driven brownouts and the need for additional electric plants.
Green & clean.
Because of their stellar efficiency and the fact that they, unlike other comfort systems, do not emit carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases, geothermal systems are recognized by both the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy as the most environmentally friendly way to heat and cool your home or business. Additionally, they do not emit carbon monoxide, as they do not operate via combustion, offering the opportunity for enhanced indoor air quality.
Long life, low maintenance.
Compared to the typical furnace, which is capable of lasting 10-15 years with regular HVAC maintenance, geothermal systems usually last 15 years or more, with their ground-based components, or ‘ground loops,’ holding an incomparable 50 year warranty. Housed under the cover of your home or business where they are protected from rain, snow, ice, and vandalism, they suffer far less wear and tear, enjoying added reliability compared to traditional heating and cooling systems.
Unlike air conditioners and heat pumps which require a noisy outdoor unit, the hum of a geothermal system is much like the operation of a refrigerator. That means no more family get-togethers, time by the pool, or gardening interrupted by the noisy clamor of outdoor components.
Ground source heat pumps, increasing in popularity as home and business owners seek to reduce their energy bills and carbon footprints, are becoming more and more affordable to install, with the average installation only slightly higher than typical HVAC fare. Installation typically pays for itself in two to 10 years – depending on utility rates, the efficiency of your home, and how much energy you use for heating and cooling. Add to this a longer system lifespan and energy savings in the 40-60% range, and you’re talking some serious savings.
Because of the green benefits of geothermal operation, federal, state, local governments, and even some power providers offer rebates and incentives toward the purchase of select high efficiency systems.