Consider Geothermal If You’re Switching Out Your Furnace This Year

Posted On: November 11, 2012

So your old heating system finally gave out, and now you’re switching out your furnace before the weather turns cold. You want one that will keep you comfortable without sending your energy bills through the roof. There are a number of options available, but one of the best investments is a geothermal heat pump.

No matter the of year, the temperature several feet beneath the ground is a consistent moderate temperature. A geothermal heat pump utilizes this by cycling a water/anti-freeze mix through a pipe system beneath the ground (or underwater in a nearby pond or lake). The below-ground temperature warms the fluid, and that heat is then used to warm the air that goes into your home. I the summer, the process is reversed with the system “rejecting” heat from indoors into the ground, providing efficient cooling inside.

There are four basic types of geothermal heat pump systems:

  • Horizontal loop. This is usually the most practical and cost-efficient for houses. Pipes are buried a few feet below the surface and spread out across your property.
  • Vertical loop. For buildings that don’t have space for pipes to spread out, they can be buried vertically instead, going down 100 feet or more.
  • Pond or lake. If you have a body of water nearby that goes deep enough where the bottom doesn’t freeze, pipes can be looped in circles beneath the surface. Where it’s available, this is a cost-effective option.
  • Open loop. Rather than filling the pipes with fluid, this system uses a well. Water flows into the pipes, through the system, and back into the well when it’s done.

Geothermal heat pumps are considerably more energy efficient than standard gas-fueled furnaces. The one drawback in switching out your furnace for a geothermal heat pump, though, is that the latter can be very expensive to install. But over time, this money can be recouped in energy savings, and there are also various tax credits and rebates that will help offset the cost of the system (including the main one, a 30 percent federal credit).

For more energy saving tips, as well as general HVAC advice, talk to our experts at Ernst Heating & Cooling. The Metro-East area has trusted us with their home comfort solutions since 1951.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about geothermal and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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