Vertical ground source heat pump system for heating home

How Much Do You Know About Geothermal Energy?

You can’t see it, but you might be sitting under a hidden and powerful energy source. Geothermal heat refers to the heat that is naturally generated and stored beneath the Earth’s surface. This heat originates from the Earth’s formation and the decay of radioactive materials in its core. Geothermal energy can be harnessed for various purposes, including heating buildings and generating electricity. One of the primary ways to utilize geothermal heat for heating or cooling buildings is through geothermal heat pumps.

Geothermal heating and cooling systems are sustainable and efficient alternatives to traditional HVAC systems. However, its novelty means that homeowners might not be as educated about the benefits vs the investment. Here, we debunk some common myths surrounding geothermal heating and cooling so you can make an informed decision for your household.

Myth 1: Geothermal Systems Only Work in Specific Climates.

One common misconception is that geothermal systems are only appropriate in specific climates, typically those with a consistent temperature range. The truth is that geothermal systems are engineered to work in various climates, including extreme ones. The earth’s stable temperature below the frost line allows geothermal systems to extract heat in winter and dissipate heat in summer, making them a viable option in virtually any geography.

Myth 2: Geothermal Systems are Exclusively for New Construction.

Some believe geothermal heating and cooling systems can only be installed in new construction projects. That’s not the case, as geothermal systems can be retrofitted into existing homes and buildings. Homeowners can improve energy efficiency without having to move to a new home.

Myth 3: Geothermal Systems are Expensive and Have Long Payback Periods.

While the initial cost of installing a geothermal system may be higher than that of traditional HVAC systems, playing the long game can help curb energy costs.

The long-term savings and benefits can be substantial. For instance , geothermal systems have lower operating costs, reduced maintenance requirements. All of this can translate into considerable energy savings over time. Plus, homeowners can get a tax credit for 30% of the cost of installing a geothermal system.

Myth 4: Geothermal Systems Require a Large Amount of Space.

Another point of confusion is that geothermal systems require large tracts of land for installation. The reality is that it depends on the type. Vertical and horizontal loop systems have different requirements. Vertical loop systems, which involve drilling deep boreholes, require less surface area and can work for smaller lots. Horizontal loop systems, which involve trenches, may be better suited for sprawling properties or commercial units.

Myth 5: Geothermal Systems Harm the Environment.

Some naysayers argue that geothermal systems harm the environment by depleting the Earth’s heat. You should know geothermal systems act as a neutral force, harnessing the naturally occurring heat from the Earth’s crust. Geothermal systems produce minimal emissions and are better for the planet compared to conventional heating and cooling methods.

Myth 6: Geothermal Systems are Noisy and Disruptive.

While expansive, geothermal systems are known for their quiet and seamless operation. Unlike traditional HVAC systems with noisy outdoor units, geothermal heat pumps are installed indoors or underground. This means you likely won’t be disturbed by any noises. The absence of an outdoor condenser unit also eliminates the need for regular maintenance and reduces the risk of vandalism or damage.

Myth 7: Geothermal Heat is Only for Heating.

One common misperception is that geothermal systems are only effective for heating purposes. Actually, geothermal heat pumps are versatile and can both heat and cool homes. By taking advantage of the Earth’s consistent temperature, these systems efficiently regulate indoor climate year-round.

Myth 8: Installation is Inconvenient.

While a geothermal installation is a larger job than a standard AC or heating system installation, that doesn’t mean it will take a long time. You can expect our team of professionals to be on-site for a few days at most. Considering the infrastructure can last for 50 years, that puts things into perspective.

Myth 9: Maintenance is a Huge Headache.

It’s important to understand the total cost of ownership of any investment before making a purchase. One compelling argument for geothermal energy is its relatively simple design.

These systems generally have fewer elements than traditional heating and cooling systems, which means a more straightforward repair. Consequently, geothermal systems are extremely reliable and don’t require as much attention as conventional units.

Myth 10: Geothermal Energy is Inefficient.

Geothermal systems are mighty.  In fact, the EPA and other entities maintain that it’s the most efficient form of power we have. The near-constant temperature of the planet guarantees almost remarkable energy. Furthermore, this factor makes certain these systems are warm or cool along with (if not better than) conventional A/C units.

Myth 11: Geothermal Energy Isn’t Really a Renewable Energy.

Renewable energy is defined as any energy collected from natural sources that are not depleted when used. Solar, wind, tidal, and geothermal fall under this. Geothermal systems do use some electricity, though a small amount. The bulk of the system’s energy is pulled from the ground.

Myth 12: Geothermal Energy is a Risky Investment.

While not widely adopted in the Midwest, it’s slowly gaining steam because it works. Geothermal energy certainly offers peace of mind — it’s the only renewable that provides reliable operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Keep that in mind next time you lose power during a bad storm.

By using the infinite energy source in the earth, a geothermal heat pump operates efficiently and effectively all year round—rain or shine, day or night, windy or not. No matter what direction your house is facing or what climate you live in, your WaterFurnace system will deliver.

As we strive to reduce our environmental impact and embrace cleaner energy solutions, understanding the facts about geothermal systems is crucial to making better choices for our homes and the planet. Contact us to learn more about residential geothermal energy solutions. As experts in heating and cooling, we’re here to help you make an educated decision about the system that best suits your needs and goals.