The climate in the St. Louis area requires substantial winter heating and summer cooling. One way to achieve energy savings winter and summer is to condition your home with a geothermal heat pump. These offer the most energy-efficient way to heat and cool a home. A geothermal system has underground coils that tap into the stable moderate temperatures several feet beneath the earth’s surface for winter heating and summer cooling.
Although the initial cost of installing geothermal heat pumps is higher than most other sytems, the federal government recognizes their efficiency. A 30 percent tax credit on their purchase and installation costs runs through 2016 as long as the equipment qualifies under federal guidelines.
Selecting and installing a geothermal system is not a do-it-yourself project. Your yard needs to be evaluated as to its hydrology and geology. If your property has a pond or lake, you can select an open-loop system that uses water as its heating and cooling medium. For the more common closed-loop system, you can choose from a horizontal installation which requires a larger lot, or a vertical system whose coils are buried in a narrow, deep trench.
Any of these installations guarantees savings in the short- and long-term. The federal EPA estimates that your energy savings compared to an air-source heat pump will be 44 percent. If you’ve been using electric heat in the winter, the savings rises to 77 percent.
You’ll also experience lower maintenance and replacement costs. The underground loops have a life expectancy of 50 years, while the indoor system can last up to 25 years with routine maintenance. Outdoor living is more enjoyable, as well, since these heat pumps don’t require a noisy outdoor compressor.
Ernst Heating & Cooling has been installing geothermal heat pumps since 1984. If you would like to learn more about these systems and take advantage of the available federal tax credits, please contact us. We’ve been providing HVAC services for the Metro-East area since 1961.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about energy savings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
|Save Energy image via Shutterstock|