Whether you’re upgrading the HVAC system in an existing home or adding a system as part of new construction, you want the most cost-effective solution over the long-term. Sometimes, getting the best long-term cost requires a higher initial cost.
While there are a number of good solutions for saving money on heating and cooling, many of them energy star compliant, only one type of system provides low-cost, high-efficiency heating and cooling, quiet operation, and minimal pollution. That system is the geothermal heat pump, sometimes called a ground source heat pump. It has a higher up-front cost, but the savings and longevity of a geothermal heat pump system might make it ideal for your situation.
Is a geothermal heat pump right for you? Over the long term, they can save on energy bills. Even though the installation costs more than a standard HVAC system, and the system will pay for itself over the first several years.
What is a Geothermal (Ground Source) Heat Pump?
Most HVAC systems use the outside air as a place to source or sink heat. Because that air changes temperature, it impacts the efficiency of the unit. Geothermal heat pumps make use of the more constant temperature underground or beneath a body of water to heat and cool a home with increased efficiency. Fluid is pumped into the buried pipes, which radiate or absorb heat from the ground, depending on whether the objective is to heat or cool the building. This is why they are sometimes called ground source heat pumps.
According to the lengthy Environmental Protection Agency report linked below in item 4, under most conditions, a geothermal heat pump produces the lowest carbon dioxide emissions of all the technologies they analyzed. The amount of R22 refrigerant used in a ground source is half that of an air-sourced heat pump—for example, a 3-ton ground source system requires 3 pounds of R22, where an air-sourced system of the same capacity requires 6 pounds of R22.