Geothermal Heating and Air Conditioning
Geothermal heating and air conditioning is a sustainable, energy-efficient and money-saving solution to indoor comfort. Geothermal pumps use the temperature of the earth, a free and renewable energy source, to heat and cool your home. Besides saving you up to 70 percent on monthly power bills, geothermal systems qualify you for utility rebates and federal, state and local tax incentives.
How Does Geothermal Heating And Air Conditioning Work?
Although air temperatures in Georgia and Alabama vary from season to season, the earth maintains a fairly consistent year-round temperature. Just a few feet below the surface, the ground absorbs and stores solar heat and energy. In summer, below-ground temperatures are cooler than the air. In winter, underground temperatures are warmer than the air.
Using a heat exchanger, geothermal pumps extract warmth from the ground and transfer it into your home during the winter. In summer, they remove heat from your home and transfer it into the ground. This is accomplished via a series of pipes that connect the outdoor unit to your indoor heating and cooling system. Heat pumps can also provide heat for hot water.
Types of Geothermal Heating & Cooling Systems
Geothermal heat pumps are basically loop systems. They “loop” heat from the ground into your house and from your house into the ground. There are four types of geothermal heat pumps; three involve a closed loop system and one is an open loop system. The type of system that will work best depends on the conditions of your site.
- Horizontal systems are a good choice for residential installations and new construction, although the trenches must be a minimum of four feet deep.
- Vertical systems are best for commercial buildings with a limited land area, shallow soil, or when bedrock drilling is required. Vertical systems are the most expensive to install.
- Pond/lake systems are the least expensive. They can be installed if there’s a body of water onsite that can be used as a heat exchange source.
- Open loop systems can be installed if there is a well or surface water onsite to use as a heat exchange source.
Geothermal Systems versus Air Source Systems
Compared to air source heat pumps, geothermal heating and air conditioning can reduce monthly energy usage by 25-50 percent. Geothermal systems are more energy-efficient because they rely on stable underground temperatures instead of unstable air temperatures. Geothermal systems last longer, provide more consistent heating and cooling, require little maintenance and operate very quietly.
Tax Rebates for Energy-Efficient, Cost-Effective Geothermal Installations
The federal tax credit for a geothermal heat pump is equal to 30 percent of your cost with no upper limit. This tax credit expires on 12/31/16 and can be claimed for existing homes and new construction.