How Much Money Can You Save by Switching to Geothermal?

Technician discussing cost savings with a client - Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing

Cincinnati, Ohio residents deal with a multitude of weather changes throughout the year. Geothermal heating and air conditioning serves as an energy efficient option to heat and cool homes across the city—even when the weather decides to flip from winter to summer in a mere 12 hours.

Thomas & Galbraith understands the struggle homeowners face to heat and cool their homes. Jumps in temperature not only impacts your comfort, it also increases your utility bill. With geothermal HVAC systems, your bills are significantly less than traditional HVAC systems. Because of that, the geothermal system proves the most favorable to homeowners across Ohio.

The Basics of Geothermal Heating and Air Conditioning

Before we get into the benefits and costs, you need to be informed of the ins and outs of this energy efficient option. It can be confusing to understand if you have no experience with geothermal heating and cooling, but the process makes sense once you learn the science behind it.

Geothermal systems are mostly underground. All the pipes are buried on your property. The heat pump and ducts are located in your home like traditional HVAC systems, but the pipe system never sees the light of day. Geothermal heating and air conditioning systems transfer heat to and from the ground—which remains a constant 55 degrees—to regulate indoor temperatures.

A water-refrigerant solution travels through the pipes, which acts as the medium for the heat transfer. When your home is hotter than outside, the solution removes the heat from your home and transfers it to the ground to cool your home. In the winter, this process flips. Heat moves from the ground to your home—again, through that water-refrigerant solution.

Where The Geothermal Heating and Air Conditioning System Goes

Because geothermal systems go underground, certain needs must be met for the system to work as intended. Some areas are more suitable for these systems than others, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work for a variety properties. Still, it’s good to know which circumstances are the best for geothermal heating and air conditioning.

  • Land availability. The size and type of your property influences what kind of geothermal system you should get. There are two orientations these systems can be in. First, the horizontal position works best with larger properties. These are the more economical and popular option. However, smaller properties or land with shallow soil benefit from the vertical orientation. Vertical installation also works best for existing properties because it disturbs the land less.
  • Geology of the area. Next, consider the quality of your land. Rocky landscapes generally do not work well with geothermal systems because they require plenty of soil to function. Additionally, some types of soil transfer heat easier than others. Though most soil stays at 55 degrees, some holds more water than others, which changes the conditions for the system. That isn’t to say any one type of soil shouldn’t have this system, homeowners just need to be aware.
  • Hydrological factors. Lastly, ground water and surface water both contribute to the functionality of a geothermal system. An open-loop system—which will be defined later—requires a water source to carry out its process. A closed-loops system, however, does not necessarily need surface or ground water because it uses the water-refrigerant solution mentioned above.

The Benefits of Geothermal Heating and Air Conditioning

Now that the process of geothermal heating and air conditioning has been explained, we can move on the numerous benefits of this renewable energy source! Homeowners need hard facts to make such large decisions. Luckily, all of these benefits are 100% true! It makes the decision all the easier to make.

  • Energy efficiency. First on the list is its energy efficiency. Because geothermal systems utilize the ground temperature to control its heating and cooling, it does not use nearly as much electricity to perform its temperature control. That means your overall electricity usage drops significantly over time.
  • Saves you money. Along with that, this systems saves you a ton of money in the long run. Because geothermal systems use less energy, it keeps your utility bill low. In fact, over time this system saves you up to 60% in utilities. Even if the initial cost shocks you, the savings are hard to beat when you consider the long-term benefits of such a low electric bill!
  • Low noise. One of the most frustrating parts about traditional HVAC systems has to be the noise they make. With geothermal heating and air conditioning, you experience little noise. Not only do you get a home perfectly heated or cooled, you have your peace and quiet. What more could you want?
  • Heating and air conditioning. Other HVAC systems require a heating system and an air conditioning system. With geothermal systems, you get both in one. This mean you experience the pleasure of a warm home in the winter and a cool home in the summer without needing to switch systems. Of course, this means you spend less overall because you don’t need to maintain two separate systems.
  • Constant energy source. Green HVAC systems often need certain weather conditions to work at their best. Because the geothermal system stays underground for the whole year, they don’t need to wait for the right weather to work. Solar-powered options need sunlight, wind-powered ones need a breeze—geothermal only need the ground. And, as mentioned earlier, ground temperatures stay at 55 degrees, so there is no guesswork.
  • Don’t need maintenance. Another perk of the system being underground is that it requires very little maintenance. It does still need professional maintenance checks, but at-home maintenance by the homeowner is rare. However, in an open-loop system, debris gathers in the pipes, so you must clear them out.
  • Multiple uses. Geothermal heating may also be used for hot water or to deliver heating and cooling to other areas. Pools and other structures like sheds receive the same treatment as your home. Every structure above the pipes benefits from the temperature control of the system. So if you want to take a dip in the pool in the middle of winter, you won’t freeze. In fact, it probably feels like you’re taking a cozy bath!
  • Lasts a lifetime. Geothermal systems last much longer than other HVAC options. Many geothermal heating and air conditioning systems last up to 50 years, which means you probably won’t need to replace it more than once in your lifetime. The heat pumps themselves also last close to 25 years. As long as you perform regular maintenance, you benefit from the geothermal system for a lifetime.

Geothermal Heating and Air Conditioning System Types

Geothermal heating and air conditioning systems must be installed by a professional because all of the hardware resides underground. However, you do get a say in which kind of system works best for your property. Professionals help with this decision, so you can rest assured that you receive the best installation for your property.

  • Open-loop. In an open-loop system, the pipes buried in the ground use nearby groundwater for its heat exchange. This means water does not circulate back through the system. Rather, it drains away from the home after it has been used. The open-loop does collect debris because of its open-ended pipes, so cleaning needs to regularly occur.
  • Closed-loop. On the other hand, closed-loop systems have no open ends. Absolutely everything remains underground. They transfer the water-refrigerant solution continuously through the system, so nothing drains out. The solution transfers heat from the home to the ground in the summer. In winter, the fluid removes heat from the ground and puts it in your home.

Places with an excessive amount of groundwater benefits more from the open-loop system, but places that are relatively dry work best with closed-loop. Most homes that already have geothermal heating and air conditioning use the closed-loop system in a horizontal orientation, so if you are purchasing a home with a geothermal system, you are likely getting that type.

Costs of Geothermal Heating and Air Conditioning

Now for the information that instills a little dread—cost. Homeowners understand that big changes to property usually costs a large sum of money. Geothermal heating and air conditioning costs are no different. The sticker price ranges from $20,000 to $25,000 and higher, depending on the type of system you get and the orientation of the pipes.

 

Though the upfront costs cause homeowners to cringe, payment plans are available to help make this HVAC upgrade more affordable. Plus, there are monetary benefits that come after installation that help lessen the magnitude of the initial purchase. Firstly, renewable energy sources add value and equity to your home, which means if you eventually decide to sell or rent your home, you are able to list the property for a larger amount of money.

 

Secondly, you have the opportunity for tax rebates because the geothermal system uses renewable energy. Thirdly, the money you save in utility bills for the next 50 years—because, remember, that’s how long they last—saves you thousands. That’s more money in your pocket every single month for 50 years. Not a bad deal!

 

Contact Us

Now you know everything about geothermal heating and air conditioning! With this knowledge, you can confidently make the decision to go green with geothermal. If you are looking for a reliable, long-lasting HVAC system that uses renewable energy and saves you up to 60% in utilities, then geothermal is right for you.

For more information about geothermal heating and air conditioning, or HVAC problems in general, give the experienced HVAC experts at Thomas & Galbraith a call today! Citizens of Cincinnati, Ohio know they can count on Thomas & Galbraith for all of their HVAC needs. If you call today, you receive a free estimate of your service and we’ll schedule your next maintenance check. We look forward to hearing from you!

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