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How Much Does It Cost To Install A Geothermal Heating Or Cooling System?

Typical Range: $3,604 - $15,546

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Geothermal Heat Pump Cost

Homeowners report paying $9,467 on average to install a geothermal heating or cooling system, or between $3,604 and $15,546. Large units or those that require a full installation with excavation, ground looping, new ductwork and additional expenses can run as much as $30,000.

Geothermal HVAC systems help homeowners lower their carbon footprints and provide an energy-efficient way to lower monthly utility bills. This option is growing in popularity thanks to improvements in technology as well as tax incentives. This system is more expensive than air exchange, gas or electric setups.

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National Average $9,467
Typical Range $3,604 - $15,546
Low End - High End $600 - $32,000

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Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 165 HomeAdvisor members in .

Ground Source Heat Pump Prices

A ground source heat pump can cost as much as $30,000 to install or more. Look at incentive programs in different states to see if you can get a discount on your installation. Or, talk to a geothermal energy pro to get more information on the project.

According to the United States Department of Energy, a heat pump costs an average of $2,500 per ton before the cost of installation. Most homes require 3 to 5-ton systems.

The central heat pump unit will account for the majority of repair costs for a geothermal system. Most repair projects fall between $50 and $1,000. Larger issues, like installing a new compressor, can cost up to $1,700.

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Geothermal System Configuration Costs

Geothermal systems come in several varieties, with installations ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 or more per ton. Here are a few categories and configurations you can expect to find:

Closed vs. Open Loop

Closed loop systems: This more common option runs water through circular loop of piping, typically using an antifreeze liquid solution. It can be installed in areas with limited water sources, prohibitive environmental regulations or with pond configurations.

Open loop systems are a less common option that utilize ground or well water. They draw clean water in from one intake well and discharge it to a different well or system. They are less expensive to install but require more regular maintenance.

Consult local laws governing open loop systems, as they have the potential to damage natural water supplies. A professional can help you determine the best type for your home.

Horizontal, Vertical, and Pond Ground Looping

You’ll typically need a 5-ton system to fit a 2,000 square foot home. Keep in mind that you may need to pay the cost to upgrade your ductwork to accommodate this system. Upgrading your ductwork costs from $5,000 to $20,000 for this project.

Horizontal:

  • Least expensive
  • Comes in slinky styles (with overlapping coils) or straight pipes
  • Slinky options use less land area but need highly conductive soil

Vertical:

  • Most expensive
  • Runs many feet straight down into earth
  • Used when land area is insufficient for horizontal system

Pond:

  • Cost varies depending on pond location
  • Require a body of water 8 feet deep
  • More efficient with thermal transfer

Geothermal Installation Cost Factors

The cost of your geothermal installation varies depending on several factors, including:

  • Climate: Installing in extreme climates will likely be more expensive. For example, putting piping below frost lines requires more material, heavy equipment and higher labor costs.
  • Soil composition: Professional soil testing costs run an average of $1,300 and helps determine which installation materials will be used. For example, extremely dry soil may need additional irrigation to moisten the soil for better heat transfer.
  • Local regulations: Check with your local regulatory agency and state environmental and building regulatory agencies to see what regulations are in place.
  • Open loop regulations: State water rights and discharge permits will add to the cost of this project. Look into required permits like a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit to see what is required. A licensed local HVAC contractor will help with this process.
  • Square footage: A moderately sized home - about 2,000 square feet - will need a 5-ton system. Varying sizes of heat exchangers and lengths of looping are needed.
  • Heat pump maintenance: Heat pump repair costs average from $50 to $1,000. It requires biannual inspections by a licensed and experienced HVAC contractor.
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Benefits of Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems

  • Saves on utilities. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this system uses 25 to 50 percent less electricity than conventional systems.
  • Low maintenance costs. You'll save an estimated $500 per year in maintenance costs.
  • Environmentally responsible. Besides being cheap, it's the most environmentally responsible HVAC system with 55%-60% lower greenhouse gas emissions than air exchange types.
  • Lasts longer. These systems outlast conventional AC and furnace systems by several years.

Other Energy Efficiency Improvements

Improve these areas of your home to maximize your HVAC's capabilities.

  • Home insulation: $900-$2,000. The better your home's insulation, the less your HVAC system needs to function, further reducing costs and environmental impact.
  • Energy efficient windows: $2,500-$7,500. The cost of replacing windows should be a part of your overall home insulation budget. Up to 30% of heat is lost through old windows. Replacing them with low-E coated windows can save up to 15% on your energy bills annually.
  • Home energy audit: $200-$650. Hiring a professional home energy auditor costs about $400. They will check for leaks and identify opportunities for energy savings.
  • Air handler & duct work: $300-$500. Change the air filter based on manufacturer's recommendations. Clogged air filters block air circulation, reducing heating or cooling ability and increasing the workload. Have your duct work cleaned and inspected at least once a year by a licensed specialist.

DIY or Hire a Pro

This is not a DIY project. There is a high level of expertise involved in designing and installing a geothermal system. Professionals will be able to calculate the thermodynamic needs of your home in relation to the ground, water source, and climate to create a design that will meet your needs.

Correctly installed, permanent loops require almost no maintenance or replacement for 50+ years. Understanding what type you need for your home's size, land availability, soil types and local regulations is best left to a licensed professional.

FAQs

What is geothermal heating and cooling?

Geothermal heating uses the relatively constant temperatures found a few feet under the ground to regulate the temperatures in your home. This system pulls heat into your home from the Earth in the winter and moves heat away from your home in the summer.

How does a geothermal heating and cooling system work?

A geothermal heating and cooling system works using two components, a heat exchanger and several hundred feet of piping. During the winter, the liquid in the loop draws heat from the earth as it circulates. In the summer, the heat is carried away from the home in the liquid and is absorbed by the ground.

How can I finance a geothermal system?

Talk to an HVAC installation professional who can direct you to tax and rebate programs available in your area to help cover this project. Local, state and federal assistance and rebate programs are often available.

How much money does a geothermal system save?

This system uses 25% to 50% less electricity than a conventional HVAC option, and the savings will show up on your utility bill.

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How do we get this data?

  1. Homeowners visit HomeAdvisor.com to find a top-rated pro to complete their home improvement project or repair.

  2. Once their projects are completed, the members log in to their accounts and complete a short cost survey.

  3. After compiling and organizing the data, we report it back to you.