Is geothermal energy right for you?
While it may boost your energy savings, this question isn’t nearly that cut and dry. Read on for details about geothermal and how it may help you.
The Midwest suffered multiple heat waves this summer, causing home and business owners all over the Metro-East area to question how they can improve efficiency and cut energy costs. With this in mind, many are exploring the idea of geothermal heating and cooling as a means of doing just that. While the concept seems sound, many are finding out that it isn’t an easy decision to make.
What is geothermal heating and cooling?
While they’ve been around for a while, geothermal systems are relatively sparse among the middle class. The concept is simple, through coils that are buried in on your property, the temperature in your home is regulated by the temperature of the earth. While the temperature above the earth’s crust fluctuates rapidly, the ground stays a more consistent temperature. The use of natural energy can prove to cut energy costs by large amounts. However, these systems also have their drawbacks. Read below about the benefits you could see or reasons you could regret this decision.
- Horizontal System – In these systems, the coils are placed horizontally in the ground. This requires the most space of any system.
- Vertical Systems – Vertical Systems require holes, of up to and over 100 feet, to be dug in your property.
- Lake/Pond Systems – These are the cheapest systems to install, but you need legal access to a lake or pond.
Geothermal Pros & Cons
- Clean Energy – While the heat pump runs on electricity, the system doesn’t directly burn any fossil fuels. This means, at the very least, that you’re reducing your carbon footprint.(click here for details about the renewable energy myth when it comes to geothermal)
- Improved Efficiency – The energy savings can be drastic when switching from a traditional unit to a geothermal system.
- Lower Operated Costs – In addition to saving on energy, you’ll also save on the cost of operation.
- Low Maintenance – For all the technology, these systems prove durable and low-maintenance, making them a great option for any situation.
- No Noise Pollution – Given that most of the system is buried under the ground; homeowners enjoy a reprieve from some of the noise pollution associated with other systems.
- Expensive – There’s no getting around this – it’s incredibly expensive to install these systems, especially if you’re retrofitting. Estimates range from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on the type of system you need.
- Destroys Landscaping – Another inevitability is this, your landscaping and yard will be torn apart during installation. There’s no other way to get the coils under the ground.
- Requires Space – While there are different types of systems to accommodate various types of properties, these systems still aren’t suitable for smaller yards – all systems need significant amounts of space or water.
- New Technology – While it’s not necessarily “new,” a lack of qualified contractors means it’s still quite expensive, which limits its accessibility.