Are the Disadvantages of Geothermal Outweighed by the Benefits?
Any homeowner considering a shift to geothermal heating and cooling should take the time to carefully evaluate both the advantages and disadvantages of geothermal systems. Though there are some notable disadvantages to geothermal heat pumps, they’re easily outweighed by the significant advantages in efficiency, performance and economical operation that geothermal heating and cooling provide.
- High cost of installation – The initial investment in a geothermal heating and cooling system can be substantial, often several thousand dollars more than a comparable furnace, air conditioner or heat pump. Geothermal installations are more expensive because they require significant digging and trenching. This earth-moving is required to install the ground loop—the pipes where heat capture and release takes place. A geothermal heating and cooling system can usually pay for itself in monthly energy savings alone by about the halfway point of the equipment’s life span. Federal tax credits are also available to help offset the cost of a geothermal installation.
- Ground space requirements – The ground loop requires a large area of open ground space for installation. There can be no buildings, trees, sprinkler systems or other obstacles on or under the ground. If there is limited horizontal space, the ground loop can be installed vertically in a series of holes drilled deep into the ground. Vertical installations are common in urban and suburban settings where ground space is limited.
- Installer qualifications – A geothermal heating and cooling system requires expert installation by a trained and qualified specialist. Not all HVAC contractors have the skills and training to install geothermal systems. If there are no capable installers operating locally, you may have to go outside your local community, which could add to the cost of installation. Evaluate any contractor you’re considering to make sure he is qualified to work with geothermal.
For more than 28 years, All Temp Co., Inc. has served heating and air conditioning customers in Harrisburg, Charlotte and the surrounding communities. Contact us today for more information on geothermal heating and cooling and for expert advice on why the disadvantages of geothermal don’t outweigh the benefits of this efficient and economical source of home comfort.