1. What is a Geothermal heat pump?
A geothermal heat pump is a heat pump similar to an air source heat pump except rather than absorbing heat from the air it absorbs heat energy from the ground. It has all the same components as a traditional system, an air handler inside used to distribute the heat inside the house and ductwork with registers typically in the floor. The system has a compressor and water pump used to circulate the heat through the system.
2. How does it work?
The Geothermal heat pump works by having a ground or water loop as its heat source. The system has a water line in the ground to absorb heat from the ground and bring it inside. The ground is a great heat source because of its constant temperature. The temp of the ground stays constant below 5 feet. The air source heat pump is dependent on outside air temperature which can fluctuate depending on the area you live in and time of year.
3. How much does it cost to install?
The cost of the system to install is based on several factors such as size of house, ground loop or water loop such as a lake or pond. The size of your house will affect the size of equipment needed and price. You typically need 600′ of pipe in the ground per ton. The equipment cost is more money than the typical heating system due to the better quality and it lasts longer. The basic cost for a geothermal system is 20-30 thousand.
4. Why is a Geothermal heat pump system better?
The Geothermal system is better due to cost of operation compared to other types of heating and cooling equipment. The geothermal system lasts longer and cost less to operate especially in climates that have long run times in the summer. The system gets its heat from the ground unlike gas furnaces that have to burn gas to create that heat energy. The heat pump sends water out through the ground loop and then the refrigeration process in the compressor creates heat or cooling for your house.
5. Are there any rebates out there or tax advantages to installing geothermal system?
There are several rebates available for this type of system. Your local utility will most likely have some sort of rebate for geothermal heat pumps up to 1600 dollars sometimes. The best thing going right now is the tax credit advantage. You can claim a tax credit of 30% off of installation cost. That means 30% of 30,000 so a tax credit of 9,000. That is an amazing savings on a system that will have a payback of 4 to 1 for every 1 dollar you spend on heating or cooling you get 4 dollars worth of energy and savings.