Building a new house or looking to do a major upgrade to your existing home? Take a few minutes and consider what type of HVAC system you want to install. While a traditional forced air system is the default choice, a geothermal system may be a great upgrade to your home. Energy efficient and long lasting, it is possible to get back many times the additional cost of the system over its lifetime in reduced bills.
Heat and Cool Your Home With Very Little Energy
Heat pumps get a bad reputation because they often become horribly inefficient when you need them the most. They have to be set to function at a specific temperature. This is generally the average temperature in your area. Once it gets too hot or too cold (i.e. the point at which you most need it to work), this is the point it will be at its least efficient. The energy bills incurred during either a heat wave or a cold snap are enough to keep most homeowners far away from this type of HVAC system.
Geothermal HVAC systems avoid this issue completely. Because the temperature beneath the surface only varies by a couple of degrees throughout the year, the heat pump can be finely tuned to work at maximum efficiency at that temperature. You can run the system as hard as you want during temperature extremes without any concerns about your energy bills exploding. Even normal, day-to-day operations will cost far less with this type of system.
Skip Out On Having So Many Maintenance Visits
Anything that has to sit outside for years at a time is going to take a beating. While nothing lasts forever, including HVAC systems, the fact that you have to have an air conditioner or heat pump sitting outside all the time does not help. As time goes on, accumulated leaves, dirt, and other gunk will build up in the system, damaging it and lowering its efficiency. Every year you need to spend an afternoon cleaning out all this gunk and hire an HVAC tech to check lines and electronics.
While a geothermal system will still require some maintenance, it won't suffer the wear and tear as one that sits outside all day, every day, for years since the main unit is usually located in your basement. This means that the same quality of equipment will last longer and break down less often. Reduced maintenance cost is just one more way that your geothermal system will be a wonderful investment for your home.
Never Replace Your System Again (Almost)
Reduced maintenance costs aren't the only benefit to having a system that doesn't have to sit outside. That lack of wear and tear will also mean that you likely won't have to replace the system as long as you own your home. The heat pump itself will generally last about twice as long as its outdoor cousin, with a lifespan starting around 15 years, and possibly lasting much longer with regular maintenance.
The expensive part of the system is having the pipes laid underground. Replacing them is a serious project, just like the first time. Fortunately, it is extremely unlikely you will ever have to deal with this situation, even if you stay in your home for the rest of your life. Early systems were installed over 50 years ago and are still working just fine. Improved materials and installation methods will only extend the life of a modern system.
Geothermal heat pumps are a great way to reduce your energy usage, which is great for both the environment and your wallet. The lower maintenance costs are just another bonus that helps you recoup the cost of installation.