Geothermal or ground-sourced heat pumps are one of the newest innovations among home air-conditioning products. They work best in areas with moderate temperature fluctuations, following the same principle as the refrigerator (moves heat to make cool spaces cooler and warm spaces warmer).
Because they move rather than generate heat, these pumps have fewer running costs and greater efficiency than conventional HVAC systems, among other benefits. However, these come at rather hefty upfront costs, because the system needs to be connected to the ground around your home – the drilling can cost up to $10,000 more than conventional HVAC units. The following are some of the reasons you should talk to your HVAC installation contractor about a geothermal heat pump for your next big investment:
Very low operating costs
Geothermal heat pumps can be operated on just 56 percent of energy consumed by air-sourced heat pumps and just 28 percent of energy consumed by standard AC units with electric resistance heating capability, according to the US-EPA. Emissions levels are also correspondent to the energy savings. This means that by installing ground-sourced heat pumps, your energy consumption can be reduced by 44-72% - savings that go a long way in justifying the high upfront costs of system installation.
Geothermal pumps have fewer moving parts, and these parts are kept protected within the building or the ground which means wear and tear occurs at a much slower rate compared with conventional HVAC units. In addition, their efficiency (expressed as coefficient of performance – ratio of heat moved to energy consumed) can reach double what modern reverse-cycle AC units have (3 kWh of heat moved per kWh of electricity used). Higher efficiency translates to less wear, less maintenance and hence a longer operational life before replacement is needed.
Geothermal heat pumps uniformly supply warm or cold air as needed - no blasts of warm or cold air or the annoying hot or cold spots in the house. Ordinary furnaces supply heated/cooled air in blasts, which can interfere with your comfort. Air is circulated subtly around the space to ensure that the entire space has uniform temperature, just like the inside of your fridge. This is done without a noisy external fan or compressor. In addition, you can have zones installed by using multiple thermostats, so that different rooms are at the exact temperature you need them to be.
Increased safety and cleanliness
Geothermal pumps do not run on propane, oil or natural gas unlike furnaces. Without on-site combustion, the risk of flames going out of hand or carbon-monoxide poisoning from faulty air circulation are eliminated. What's more, emissions are reduced by this all-electric system, ensuring that your indoor air quality remains high. Higher efficiency makes them more eco-friendly as well – they use less than half the amount of electricity to produce the same heating or cooling effect.Share