Facts about Geothermal Heating and Cooling

How much can I really save by installing a geothermal system?

While your exact savings will be determined by many variables, including your climate, thermostat setting and electric rate, most homeowners will see a reduction of 30 to 70 percent in their heating and cooling costs.

A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency showed that geothermal systems have the lowest life-cycle cost of all heating and cooling systems currently on the market. Lower maintenance costs and longer life expectancy of geothermal units should certainly be taken into consideration when determining true savings.

To see how much a GeoComfort geothermal system can save you, click on the "Savings Tool" link above. Our proprietary savings calculator allows you to enter your home's information along with your existing utility and fossil fuel pricing to determine just how much an efficient GeoComfort geothermal system can save you versus alternative heating and cooling systems. You can also contact one of our qualified dealers for more information by clicking on the "Dealer Locator" link above.

Is geothermal heating and cooling technology new?

Actually, the basic "modern" technology has been around for more than 50 years and improved upon ever since. To date, over one million installations in the United States alone have allowed a significant amount of homeowners and businesses to enjoy the benefits of geothermal systems. In fact, consumers rank their comfort and satisfaction with geothermal systems higher than any other type of system.

What is the real environmental impact?

According to data supplied by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Geothermal Technologies, nearly 40% of all U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the result of using energy to heat, cool and provide hot water for buildings. This is about the same amount of CO2 contributed by the transportation sector. Versus a conventional fossil fuel system, a standard 3-ton residential geothermal system produces approximately one less pound of carbon dioxide (CO2) for every hour of use. Over twenty years, the carbon footprint reduction would be equivalent to planting 120,000 acres of trees or converting over 58,000 cars to zero emission vehicles.

By taking advantage of the "hot water assist" option, you can lower emissions even further by allocating heat removed from the home during the cooling season to provide hot water for household consumption. In addition to the environmental benefit, hot water costs can be reduced by as much as 30%.

Geothermal benefits

Flammable fossil fuels are not used to operate geothermal units. Because there is no combustion, there is no chance of explosion, hazardous fumes or risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Lower Operational Costs
Geothermal systems have efficiency ratings of 400 to 500 percent. An efficiency rating is the ratio of heat actually generated versus the amount of energy used to produce the heat. A rating of less than 100 percent means you are losing heat that you are paying for. This loss is typically caused by energy consumption required for the combustion process of a fossil fuel furnace. The most efficient natural gas furnaces cannot compete at a rating of only 95 percent.
Geothermal systems have a positive impact on the environment since they burn no fossil fuels and operate on a modest amount of electricity. According to the United States Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, geothermal systems are the most environmentally friendly way to heat and cool your home. They do not emit greenhouse gasses, which are known to contribute to environmental air pollution.
Peacefully Quiet
Conventional air conditioners and heat pumps require noisy outdoor equipment. Geothermal systems do not. In fact, GeoComfort Compass SeriesTM units feature a patent-pending cabinet design that isolates the units compressor, all but eliminating any rattling or vibration caused by system operation.
Bonus Hot Water
Geothermal systems have the capability of capturing reclaimed heat during heating and cooling modes and using it to heat domestic water. This application can reduce the water heating cost of a four-person household by 50 to 60 percent.
A geothermal installation is an excellent heating and cooling solution for nearly any situation. Geothermal systems perform well in cool northern climates as well as warm southern conditions, in homes small, large, new, existing and every home in between.
Unmatched Comfort
Geothermal systems provide superior air comfort. They demonstrate increased air purification and dehumidification versus conventional systems. In addition to improved air quality, geothermal systems keep indoor air temperatures at consistent levels, eliminating hot and cold spots that are typical of all conventional systems. For ultimate comfort, zoning allows for distinctive temperature adjustments in different areas of your home.
Longer Life Cycle
You can expect your geothermal system to provide an average of 20 to 24 years of reliable comfort and savings. In comparison, the average life cycle of a conventional system is 13 to 15 years.

What is the difference between geothermal heating and cooling and geothermal energy?

Geothermal heating and cooling is different than geothermal energy. The word geothermal comes from the Greek words "geo" (meaning earth), and "thermos" (meaning heat). Earth heat describes both geothermal energy and geothermal heating, but each utilizes heat created by a different source. Geothermal energy is a natural energy source derived from the heat found in the earth's core. An example of this is the magma, or liquid rock that comes from the earth's center through geological openings and flows from volcanos. Hot springs and geysers are examples of warmth created with this kind of energy.

Geothermal heating and cooling does not use geothermal energy, but rather ground source energy. (For that reason, you may hear geothermal heat pumps called ground source heat pumps.) Geothermal heat pump technology relies on the sun to heat the ground at the earth's surface, rather than the earth's core to heat it from below. Geothermal energy use is not widespread due to the complications of geology. Because geothermal heat pumps use the sun's energy, which is much more accessible, their application is viable virtually everywhere.