Want To Reduce Your Heating & Cooling Costs? Consider A Geothermal Heat Pump

In the United States, heating and cooling costs are attributed to roughly half of a home's energy bills. Due to this, many homeowners are looking for ways to reduce the costs of heating and cooling their homes. One way to reduce energy costs is by using a geothermal heat pump. This type of system uses a fraction of the electricity that electric heaters use, and doesn't require constant refills of fuels.

If that sounds like something you'd like to have for your home, here are the answers to a few questions you may have.

Why a geothermal heat pump instead of an air-sourced one? 

If the outdoor temperature in your region dips below freezing regularly, you may want to avoid installing an air-source heat pump. The reason for this is because air-sourced heat pumps typically need auxiliary heating when temperatures drop below freezing. Air-source heat pumps pull heat out of the air, but that can be challenging when the air temperature is very cold, which causes auxiliary heating to kick on.

The auxiliary heating is typically a heat strip that is heated by the heat pump using electricity. Therefore, any energy costs savings you were hoping for would be insignificant if you live in a cold climate. Instead, a geothermal heat pump would be a better choice. This type of heat pump uses coils that are installed into the ground where the temperatures rarely fall below freezing and are relatively constant at a depth of 30 feet.

What if there isn't enough land to install the coils underground?

The coils of geothermal heating systems are either installed in closed-looped or open-looped coils. Closed-looped systems resemble the coils of a spring. Open-looped coils aren't really coils at all but long tubes. They can be installed horizontally or vertically, depending on how much land there is to work with and what the conditions of the soil are.

How do soil conditions make a difference?

Different types of soil have different thermal conductivity ratings. For example, dry soil, such as loam, does not have good enough thermal conductivity to be installed horizontally, and may require a deeper installation of the coils than moist soil, such as saturated silt.In some cases, the soil may be too hard or problematic to excavate to install the coils. In this type of situation, it may be better to use water as the source for geothermal heating rather than the ground.

What types of water sources can be used?

If you are lucky enough to have a pond or a lake on your property, you can install the coils at the bottom of the body of water. Alternatively, you can install the coils into a well dug specifically for the use of a geothermal heating system. One good thing about using a well is that they typically have nothing to do with mineral rights.

What about the mineral rights of the property?

Mineral rights often are not owned by homeowners but by a different entity, usually a corporation. However, geothermal resources may or may not be included in mineral rights, depending on the laws of your state. Even if geothermal resources are included in mineral rights, the depths of your geothermal system may not be deep enough to be a factor. Contact a local mineral rights attorney for more information regarding this issue if you do not own the mineral rights to your property.

Geothermal heat pumps can effectively reduce the amount of money you spend to heat and cool your home. Call an HVAC contractor from a company like Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. for more information about the various challenges discussed in this article to see what type of heating and cooling would work for your home.