In our last blog post, we looked at the benefits of having a geothermal heat pump installed to provide year-round comfort to your house. Going with a geothermal system can help you save immensely on energy costs and deliver a level of reliable comfort and efficiency that standard air-source heat pumps can’t.
But when people hear about geothermal systems, they often dismiss them as a possibility for their homes. You may feel this same way. Is a geothermal installation in Newtown Square, PA something you can actually have done? Or is it too big and too expensive to even contemplate? And don’t you need plenty of space for the ground loops?
Below we’ll talk about how going geothermal may be more accessible than you believe.
You don’t need major changes inside your house
Here’s the first piece of good news: geothermal heat pumps work like standard heat pumps as far as the indoor components are concerned. Your current ductwork and HVAC cabinet and blower fan won’t need many changes to put in a geothermal heat pump, especially if you’ve already used an air-source heat pump. Once the refrigerant enters the indoor parts of the heat pump, the operation is identical.
You can get rid of the outdoor heat pump unit
You can downsize part of your current heat pump system when you go geothermal, because a ground-source heat pump doesn’t have an outdoor condenser cabinet to draw heat from the air. (This is one of the reasons geothermal systems are quieter than standard heat pumps.) You’ll have part of the backyard returned to you.
Ground loops have flexible configurations
This is the most important fact to know about heat pump installation that makes it possible to install these systems in more homes than ever before. The conventional configuration for ground loops is horizontal: the loops carrying the water and antifreeze mixture are placed in trenches from 6 to 10 feet deep. This requires a good amount of property space, depending on the power of the heat pump.
But the vertical loop configuration allows for burying loops in a much smaller area. Drills create narrow holes 400 feet deep, and the loops are then inserted down into them to access the stable underground temperatures. If you live near a lake or river, you can also have hydrothermal loops that go into the water instead of the ground.
The energy payback
Now we’ll look at the issue of expense. Yes, geothermal systems cost more to install than air-source heat pumps because of the necessity for putting in the ground loops. However, the energy efficiency of geothermal systems means they will likely pay back their installation costs before needing to replace the indoor components, and definitely before replacing the ground loops (which can last for 50+ years). The payback period depends on several factors, such as utility rates and your home’s energy efficiency. The standard payback time is from 2 to 10 years. After that, you’re getting pure savings.
The best way to find out if a geothermal installation is possible for your home is to call our experts and consult with them.