The Benefits of a Geothermal System

Posted On: September 09, 2014

Did you know that you can heat and cool your home with energy extracted directly from the earth’s core? Geothermal energy is one of the most efficient ways to heat and cool your home. Ernst Heating & Cooling was one of the first HVAC companies in the Madison County region to install geothermal heat pumps. We have been on the forefront of this technology for a long time and we love to share its many benefits!

How Does Geothermal Work?

For high-efficiency heating, a geothermal system works by removing heat from the earth with a water/antifreeze mix running through an underground pipe network (“loop”), and transferring it to a heat pump in the house. The heat is extracted, and circulated as warmed air through your duct system, just like any forced-air heating system. In the summer, the process is reversed. Heat energy is absorbed from the home via refrigerant, which carries the heat to the water/antifreeze mix. The solution is re-circulated underground, leaving the heat behind.

A geothermal system has a much more efficient heat-exchange process than a standard air-source heat pump or air conditioner. Those appliances exchange heat energy with the outside air, which has a much wider temperature range than the moderately warm/cool earth several feet below the surface. Put simply, it requires less electricity to dump heat energy into the cool earth than it does to expel it into hot outside air. The same applies to extracting heat energy from very cold air in the winter.

Why Install a Geothermal Heat Pump in Your Metro East Home?

Geothermal heating and cooling systems have several advantages over traditional HVAC.

  • Geothermal energy is highly cost-effective – A geothermal heating and cooling system provides a remarkable return on investment. While some homeowners may balk at the higher initial layout, it’s important to consider the energy costs over the life of the system. The indoor element can last up to 25 years or longer, while the outdoor buried loop has a 50-year warranty. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) projects that homeowners who install geothermal heat pumps will see an energy savings of 30 to 70 percent per year on heating and 40 to 60 percent on cooling. This translates into a money savings of approximately $400 to $1,000 annually. With this savings, most geothermal heat pumps pay for their installation in about 7 to 10 years.
  • Geothermal energy is a renewable resource – Geothermal systems take heat from the earth’s core, where it is virtually unlimited. And this heat is obtained without burning fossil fuels, which makes it one of the most sustainable forms of energy we can use—and allows us to drastically reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
  • Geothermal heat pumps operate quietly and safely – The outdoor component of a geothermal heat pump is buried underground. There is no motorized element outside to hum, buzz, or click on and off. And, since no combustion happens, there is zero risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Installing a geothermal heating and cooling system can make you eligible for a federal tax credit – The Residential Energy-Efficiency Tax Credit is available until the end of 2016.* Some states offer incentives for installing geothermal. Check the incentives offered in Illinois.

If you want to learn more about geothermal heat pumps or find out if geothermal is right for your home, please call Ernst at 618-887-6093.

*Accurate as of September 11, 2014. Please consult your tax preparer or the IRS for complete details about this and any federal tax credit.

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