Geothermal Heat Pumps: Common Questions
Every so often a customer will come in and ask us about Geothermal Heat Pumps. The question they ask is almost always the same one. Well technically two:
- How much does a geothermal heat pump cost?
- Is getting a geothermal heat pump worth it?
Well, the answer to that question is like the answer to a lot of questions regarding Custom Home Building – Is that it depends. Here is some general information about them, and some Pros vs. Cons for you to help decide if a geothermal heat pump is right for your situation.
What is a geothermal heat pump?
Also referred to as a Ground Source Heat Pump. Geothermal Energy doesn’t create heat like the burning of natural gas, or other fuels.
It simply moves heat from one place to another, which in this case is the earth. A few feet below the earth’s surface the ground stays at a relatively constant temperature. In the winter time, the heat pumps will pull the heat from the earth into your house. In the summer time they will pull the heat from your house into the earth.
This process creates and efficient and constant level temperature in your home that you can set and control just like a traditional system. As you can see by the picture, there are a few different types of systems. The type that is right for you will vary based on where you are looking to build. A qualified professional would be able to make more specific recommendations for you.
How much of a difference does it make?
Studies have shown that nearly 70% of the energy used in Geothermal Heat Pumps is renewable energy from the ground. Also, according to the EPA, they generally produce energy bills that are 30-40% lower than the most efficient traditional HVAC systems.
Intro to Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings (SEER):
Think of this like gas MPG with automobiles. It is a rating that will give you a general indication of how efficient the system that you are using is.
To qualify for the federal tax credit the minimum SEER rating for a Ground Source Heat Pump is 14.1, but most systems are between 21 and 27.
So the next obvious question is:
How much does a geothermal heat pump cost?
They usually cost between $11,000 and $30,000. As you can see the price varies greatly based on where you want to build, the land you are building on, and of course what system you choose. The price varies so much because unlike a traditional HVAC system the infrastructure is far more intense. Trenches need to be excavated which varies based on the land, etc…
Is it really worth it?
Most homeowners generally say that it is worth it. Especially when you take into consideration the 30% FEDERAL TAX CREDIT.
So, the answer to whether or not a geothermal heat pump is worth the price is, once again, that it depends. To find out for sure you are welcome to give us a call, and we can meet with you and figure it out.