According to the EPA, "geothermal heat pumps can reduce energy consumptionand corresponding emissionsup to 44% compared to air-source heat pumps and up to 72% compared to electric resistance heating with standard air-conditioning equipment."
Benefits of Geothermal Heating/Cooling Systems
There's no doubt that the energy savings alone make geothermal heating systems worth considering, but saving energy isn't the only plus! Geothermal heating is incredibly clean, it is available in many areas of the country (some of which are not desirable areas for other alternative energies like solar and wind), and it is every bit as effective at controlling your home's temperature as conventional systems.
Need more reassurance? The U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy consumer's Guide certainly has this to say about geothermal heat: "Because GHP systems have relatively few moving parts, and because those parts are sheltered inside a building, they are durable and highly reliable?.A two-speed GHP system is so quiet inside a house that users do not know it is operating: there are no tell-tale blasts of cold or hot air."
Are People really Installing Residential Geothermal Systems?
Yes! Though it is difficult to say just how many residential GHP systems are currently operating in this country, ServiceMagic.com (a nationwide resource matching homeowners to contractors in their area) has provided their numbers on how many requests they've had for these systems in the past few years. The fact is, not only are GHP systems being installed, they are growing in popularity at an alarming rate; ServiceMagic's records show that requests to install geothermal heating systems rose from 5,449 in 2006 to 24,269 in 2008. That's a 345% increase in just 2 years!
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Where can Geothermal Heating Systems be Installed?
Geothermal heating systems can be installed in any area of the U.S.
Just How Much Does a Geothermal System Cost?
In the data provided by ServiceMagic.com, we see that from 1/1/07 to 8/18/08 the average cost of installing a geothermal heat pump was $4,238. However, this figure doesn't include the cost of drilling (which often costs between $10,000 and $30,000)! This definitely puts the average cost of installing a geothermal system, from start to finish, at far more than the price of installing a conventional system.
The good news for anyone considering a geothermal set up for his or her home: the extra expense can easily be recovered in energy savings. According to Consumerenergycenter.org, "[When] added to an already built home, an efficient geothermal system saves enough on utility bills that the investment can be recouped in two to ten years." If you are building a new home and the geothermal system is included in an energy efficient mortgage, "?the homeowner could have a positive cash flow from the beginning."