Geothermal heating sounds almost like it is something out of science fiction: tapping into the unseen power beneath the surface of world, harnessing it for our use. And yet, that technology exists today.
Geothermal heating is a reality and offers a number of unique advantages for the discerning homeowner or property manager. Just in the last year there has been a 266% increase in the installation of geothermal heating systems and the trend continues. One government study estimates that more than 50,000 geothermal systems are installed every year!
Geothermal systems use the heat trapped in the ground. As much as 60% of the energy the Sun sends to our planet is absorbed by the ground, making it something akin to a giant solar panel. The heat from below the surface is transferred to your home by a series of water filled pipes which absorb ambient heat from the Earth and pump that heated water into your home and transfers the heat it picked up into a heat exchanger which distributes that heat to the rest of the home while the water continues to circulate and bring back more heat.
There are a number of ways in which geothermal heating systems can provide for you and your family that other systems simply cannot.
1. Cost Savings - While it is true that the installation of a geothermal heating system represents a major investment up front, you will ultimately find yourself saving money. Government studies estimate that a geothermal heating system will pay for itself within 5 to 10 years after its installation in savings, while any savings afterwards simply remain in your pocket.
2. Low Environmental Impact - Geothermal heating is just about as low impact as you can get. Besides the manufacturing process and delivery, a geothermal system burns no fossil fuels and has no carbon footprint. All the heat comes from the Earth itself, leaving your conscience clean and your wallet just a little bit heavier every month.
3. A Home Investment - Even if you do not plan on spending the rest of your life in the home you are considering installing a geothermal unit in, you are also greatly increasing the market value of your home. As environmental awareness improves and "green" technology comes into vogue, potential homebuyers are proving to be willing to spend more for a home that has energy efficient and low impact infrastructure built in.
4. Long-lasting - Geothermal-heating equipment has a long expected lifespan. The pipes and equipment below the surface have a life expectancy of as much as 25 years, while the above ground equipment can last as long as 50 years, far longer than any traditional furnace and HVAC system.
5. Geothermal Cooling - Many models of geothermal heat pumps can also cool your home as well. In a geothermal cooling system the process simply works in reverse. The water being pumped through absorbs heat from your home and discharges it into the ground, reducing the ambient temperature in your home without drying out the air like many AC systems.
There has never been a better time to install a geothermal heating and cooling system. They are easy and quick to install and recent technological developments have made them cheaper than ever before. Individual residences that have a geothermal system installed are also eligible for a tax credit worth up to as much as $2,000 dollars from the federal government, as well as credits from local or state governments in many places. Installing a geothermal heating or cooling system is just one small step we can take as homeowners towards the ultimate goal of a clean, sustainable future.