A geothermal heat pump, also known as ground source heat pump, is a popular heating feature found in homes. It sources heat from underground to provide heating for household needs. The pump basically consists of three separate components—the ground loop, heat pump and delivery system—which work together to perform heat transfer. Ground source heat pumps are amongst the most efficient when it comes to household heating needs. Below are the pros and cons of a ground source heat pump.
Pros of Geothermal Heat Pumps
Geo-exchange systems are highly energy efficient. As much as 50% less electricity is utilized in running these systems than occurs with other heating or cooling operations. Little wastage of electricity occurs with geo-exchange systems. Compared to using electric radiators for home heating, you save much more on electricity with a ground source heat pump. This helps you to keep energy bills at modest levels. Ground source heat pumps also help in humidity control by keeping a relative indoor humidity of about 50%. This is important for those who live in humid areas. For those with green concerns, the ground source heat pump causes far less pollution than other systems, especially those fueled by oil. Carbon dioxide emissions are significantly less with geo-exchange systems. Noise pollution is also minimal, as they don’t use outside condensing units. This makes them a better choice. Geo-exchange systems are also durable and highly dependable. They have fewer mechanical components and moving parts than other heating systems. These parts are sheltered indoors, away from outside elements and possible vandalism. This helps preserve the system in good shape for longer. Most manufacturers give a warranty of up to 50 years on the underground piping. Heat pumps are guaranteed to last at least 20 years. Maintenance requirements are also lower for geo-exchange systems. Parts located indoors are easily accessible, which makes it more convenient to undertake maintenance.
Initial installation costs can be very high. While price estimates vary, they generally fall between $5,000 and $25,000 for the typical US home. Prerequisite preparations also add to overall costs. Geothermal systems work best when the household heating and cooling load is at a minimum. This necessitates energy efficiency upgrades, which can be costly. If your house is poorly insulated or leaky, costs will be even higher. You will need to improve on insulation and sealing, which will necessitate installing energy efficient windows and doors. Other upgrades will also be necessary. Environmental costs may also arise. Installation of the horizontal ground loop systems may involve considerable upheaval of the landscape. Some trenches or a borehole is required, which necessitates digging. The trenching required may be quite extensive in some cases. For those with small gardens, the impact is likely to be more apparent. The disturbances to the land are likely to result in imbalances in the ecosystem. You may opt for vertical installations to minimize environmental upheavals. However, this is more costly, as it requires drilling hundreds of feet underground.