If there’s one direction that the world is heading, it’s toward clean, renewable resources. Geothermal heating and cooling is at the frontier of cost effective, green energy. Installing a geothermal heating and cooling unit involves an upfront financial commitment, but it has the potential to cut energy bills while providing a renewable energy source.
So, is it worth it? Before a homeowner can answer that question, it’s important to consider what geothermal energy is, how a residential geothermal heating and cooling system works, and the specific benefits that it offers.
What is Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy is use of Earth’s stored thermal energy, which is derived from the Earth’s internal heat, contained in the rock and fluids beneath the crust. It can be found from shallow ground to several miles below the surface, and even farther down to the extremely hot molten rock called magma. This energy can be extracted for a couple of different uses.
One use is for geothermal-generated electricity that’s produced by wells that can span a mile deep. These wells are drilled into reservoirs under the ground to tap steam and hot water that drive turbines, which are linked to electricity generators.
For residential purposes, thermal energy can be transferred for heating and cooling. Geothermal systems involve the installation of an underground piping system that’s commonly referred to as a “loop.” Water circulates in the loop to exchange heat between your home, the heat pump and the Earth. This all-in-one system provides heating, cooling and hot water at high efficiencies. Even more, it collects and moves heat, rather than generating it.
For a more detailed explanation of how geothermal energy works, check out this video.
The Benefits of Geothermal Heating & Cooling
Since it’s a highly efficient system, one of the greatest benefits of a geothermal system is the savings that homeowners can enjoy on their electric bills. By using the renewable energy found in your own backyard, you can save up to 70% on heating, cooling and hot water. The government also offers tax credit incentives. Through December 31, 2016, homeowners who install ENERGY STAR-certified geothermal heating and cooling systems are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit.
So, despite initial upfront costs for installation, geothermal units can save a lot of money in the long run, especially considering that two-thirds of the average homeowner’s electricity bill is devoted to heating and cooling.
Geothermal heating also helps the environment—another great incentive. Currently, America is transitioning away from using fossil fuel, and you only have to look at the recent Paris Summit to see the world’s commitment in cutting the use of carbon emissions. Geothermal energy is a step in that direction.
In addition, geothermal units are also known for being quiet because they don’t have outdoor condensing units, which traditional air conditioning units have. The unit’s heat pump is usually sheltered indoors and the system can last 20 years.
Call Your Local Experts
Clear the Air is Houston’s leading installer of WaterFurnace geothermal heat pumps, helping homeowners update their homes for a greener future. The system needs to be planned and installed properly by a trained professional. Don’t go at it alone! Feel free to reach out and ask us questions at (281) 247-0522.