Did you know that there is an abundance of “free energy” located in your backyard? No matter what climate you live in – whether it’s moderate Northwest Arkansas, the frigid Northeast, or sweltering Arizona, the ground beneath stays a consistent temperature year round. While the air temperature in any of these areas can vary drastically between seasons, the temperature underground stays at an average of 55-70 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year.
Geothermal systems work by using a series of pipes that are placed either underground, or underwater, that act as a loop, transferring heat from one area to another. In the winter, as temperatures fall, a geothermal heat pump draws from an underground reservoir of heat, and then moves that heat into your home. Unlike a traditional furnace, a geothermal system does not use gas burners to heat air, and unlike an electric heat pump, it does not draw heat from the air. In the summer, the system collects warm air within your home and moves it underground.
Unlike traditional HVAC systems, geothermal HVAC units do not use combustibles to heat cold air in the winter. Unlike heat pumps, they also do not use air resistance to move heat. Utilizing renewable energy within the earth, geothermal systems do not need to “work as hard” to move heat from frigid or scorching climates. According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), on average homeowners in the US save 30-70% on heating costs and 20-50% on cooling costs, compared to other conventional HVAC systems. In dollars, this equates to an average of $1,500 per year, but can vary based on how you use your system, where you are located, and other external factors.
Geothermal systems can be installed in a number of ways, depending on the type of loop system that is required. A geothermal system uses small-diameter, High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pipes buried underground called a “loop.” The loop circulates water to move heat energy to and from your home. Vertical loops are best for homes with a limited amount of yard space, and are installed using a type of drilling rig to bury the loops deep underground. For homes that have at least .25 acres, horizontal loops are used, and buried into a long trench. In some cases a home may be located near a body of water such as a pond or lake. In these instances, a water loop can be used in place of excavation or drilling.
Generally, geothermal systems will be more expensive to install than traditional HVAC systems. However, geothermal systems typically have a much longer lifespan (~25 years) compared to traditional systems (~12 years) and benefit from federal tax incentives. The current federal tax credit received when installing a geothermal system is set at 26%, to be extended through December 31, 2022. Many other utility companies may offer additional rebates on top of this tax credit. The longer lifespan, combined with lower utility bills, and federal tax savings, mean that in the long run, geothermal systems can actually save you money compared to more traditional HVAC systems.
When you are thinking about making the switch to renewable energy, you should contact a reputable HVAC company that is experienced & knowledgable in geothermal systems. Paschal Air, Plumbing & Electric is a master dealer with Water Furnace systems – the premier geothermal HVAC manufacturer in the US. To schedule your free estimate, and to learn more about geothermal heating and cooling, give us a call today at 479-751-0195.