The Unfiltered Blog

December 15, 2014

Is a geothermal system right for me?

By Chuck Gassmann, CEO

Bell Brothers Geothermal SystemThere’s a really good chance you’re using a conventional gas furnace and air conditioner to heat and cool your home. If you’re looking to change your system — possibly to a geothermal system — there are a few things you’ll need to understand.

What is geothermal?
A geothermal heat pump system uses free, renewable energy by moving the earth’s heat from underground pipes to a geothermal unit inside your home. The collected heat is distributed through the ductwork to heat your home and can be used to preheat the water going into your hot water heater. To cool your home, the process is reversed: The warm air in your home is collected and stored in the ground. This is an energy-efficient method because it’s easier to move heat than to create heat.

How does geothermal work?
The earth maintains a constant, moderate temperature just below the surface all year-round. So a geothermal system uses plastic loops or pipes that are installed underground. These loops contain an environmentally safe fluid that helps move heat. Unlike furnaces and conventional heat pumps, a geothermal system is powered 100 percent by electricity.

In the winter, the fluid in the loops absorbs the heat from the ground and circulates the fluid into an indoor heat pump where the heat is concentrated and then distributed throughout the structure via the existing ductwork.

During the summer, heat and humidity are extracted from the structure via the ductwork. Then the heat is concentrated and directed to the water heater or circulated back into the ground via the loops. The heat in the loop is absorbed into the ground, and the cool, dehumidified air that remains is distributed throughout the structure.

What are the benefits of a geothermal system?
Bell Brothers has installed as many as 700 geothermal systems in one year. While it’s a more popular choice for new construction homes, it’s also an option for existing homes. There are several benefits to installing a geothermal heat pump system in your home:

  • Geothermal systems are five times more efficient than conventional systems. Homeowners can save up to 60 percent in monthly utility costs.
  • Geothermal systems provide a constant, precise temperature and humidity control. Unlike a conventional furnace, a geothermal system does not kick on and off trying to maintain the desired temperature.
  • Homeowners can take advantage of a Federal tax credit of 30 percent of the cost of a geothermal system placed into service from January 1, 2017 through the end of 2019. Then the Federal tax credit will decline to 26 percent for 2020, and 22 percent for 2021. The Federal tax credit will sunset on December 31, 2021.

More questions?
This is just the basic information on geothermal. If you want to learn more, feel free to contact Bell Brothers with your geothermal questions. We’d love to help you determine if a geothermal system is right for you.