FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How Can One Heat a House with 50° Ground Temps?
The heat pump concentrates the heat from the ground
using a refrigerant and a vapor/condensing cycle.
How Much Does a Geothermal System Cost?
There are many factors that affect the cost of a geothermal heat pump system:
Size of house
Quality of insulation, windows, and air infiltration of house
Location and elevation of house
Size and terrain of building lot
Type of ground beneath house, i.e. rocky, sandy, dry, wet etc.
Type of heat pump equipment specified
Verticle or horizontal loop
Most systems fall in the range of $6 -$12 per sq. ft of living space. This price does not apply to small houses.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, operating costs are 30 to 60 percent less compared to traditional furnaces. This means a geothermal unit will pay for itself in 7 to 10 years. Subsidies and tax incentives, which vary from state to state, can make the systems even more affordable.
What Tax Credits Are Available?
Answer: The Federal Tax Credit for Geothermal Heat Pump is $2000.
The State Tax Credit can be found here.
How efficient is a Ground Source Heat Pump?
The GSHP (Ground Source Heat Pump) is one of the most efficient
residential heating and cooling systems available today, with
heating efficiencies 50 to 70% higher than other heating systems
and cooling efficiencies 20 to 40% higher than available air
conditioners. That directly translates into savings for you on
your utility bills.
Can one system provide both space heating and cooling
for my home? And what about heating hot water?
Yes. A Ground Source Heat Pump can be a combination heating/cooling
and hot water heating system. You can change from one mode to another
with a simple flick on your indoor thermostat. Using a desuperheater,
some Ground Source Heat Pumps can save you up to 50% on your water-heating
bill by preheating tank water.
How does a Ground Source Heat Pump system heat water for
Using what is called a desuperheater, Ground Source Heat Pumps
turn waste heat to the task of heating hot water. During the summer,
when the system is in cooling mode, your hot water is produced
free as a byproduct of the thermal process. In winter, with the
heating mode, the desuperheater heats a portion of your hot water.
Desuperheaters are standard on some units, optional on others.
Stand-alone systems that will heat water all year around can be
How much space does a Ground Source Heat Pump unit require?
Most of a Ground Source Heat Pump installation is underground.
Inside the house, the heat pump units are about the same size
as a traditional heating and cooling unit.
How long will my Ground Source Heat Pump system last?
Ground Source Heat Pumps are durable and highly reliable. The Ground
Source Heat Pump contains fewer mechanical components, and all
components are either buried in the ground or located inside
the home, which protects them from outside conditions. The underground
pipe carries up to a 50-year warranty. Ground Source Heat Pumps
are guaranteed for 25 years.
How noisy is the Ground Source Heat Pump unit?
Ground Source Heat Pumps are very quiet, providing a pleasant environment
inside & outside of the home. Ground Source Heat Pumps have
no noisy fan units to disturb outdoor activities, on or near
How safe are Ground Source Heat Pumps?
Ground Source Heat Pump systems are safe and protected. With no
exposed equipment outdoors, children or pets cannot injure themselves
or damage exterior units. Ground Source Heat Pumps have no open
flame, no toxic exhaust fumes, flammable fuel or potentially
dangerous fuel storage tanks.
What about comfort?
A Ground Source Heat Pump system moves warm air (90-105(F) throughout
your home or business via standard ductwork. An even comfort
level is created because the warm air is moved in slightly higher
volumes and saturates the building with warmth more evenly. This
helps even out hot or colds spots and eliminates the cold air
blasts common with fossil fuel furnaces.
How effective is this underground system?
The buried pipe, or ground loop, is the most recent technical advancement
in heat pump technology. Recently, new heat pump designs and
improved buried pipe materials have been combined to make Ground
Source Heat Pump systems the most efficient heating and cooling
Are Ground Source Heat Pump systems guaranteed?
Nearly all Ground Source Heat Pump system manufacturers offer a
warranty for major components that is equivalent to the warranties
for conventional heating and cooling systems. Manufacturers of
plastic pipe used for ground loops warrant their products for
Can these systems be used for commercial, industrial,
or apartment requirements?
Yes! Many Ground Source Heat Pump systems are being installed using
a multitude of systems hooked up to an array of buried vertical
or horizontal loops. This simplifies zone control and internal
What are the advantages to an HVAC dealer?
Ground Source Heat Pump systems create a huge retrofit market not
subject to wild fluctuations in housing construction. There is
also ample opportunity for stable growth benefiting the dealer
and his employees. In addition, these systems are relatively
maintenance-free, requiring only regular filter changes. This
means fewer maintenance and support calls. There is no outside
equipment, so wear and tear is less.
How will I save money with a Ground Source Heat Pump?
Ground Source Heat Pumps save money, both in operating costs and
maintenance costs. Investments are recouped. There is a positive
cash flow, since the energy savings exceeds payment on the system.
How much does a Ground Source Heat Pump cost?
The initial investment for a Ground Source Heat Pump system is
greater than that of a conventional system. However, when you
consider the operating costs of a geothermal heating, cooling,
and water heating system, energy savings quickly offset the initial
difference in purchase price.
A geothermal system has a higher up front cost when compared with
a conventional heating and cooling system primarily due to the
buried loop system. Some homeowners view the system as being too
expensive. They fail to see the whole picture. In reality, the
monthly cost of heating and cooling, the cost of hot water and
your monthly mortgage payment will actually cost you more per month
than it would had a geothermal system been installed. Your geothermal
system will produce considerably lower monthly utility bills and
annual maintenance costs.
The initial cost of a geothermal system can be tied into your
monthly mortgage payment or other form of low interest financing.
The savings on your utilities easily covers the cost of the increased
loan payment, resulting in positive monthly cash flow.
Best of all, a geothermal system usually pays for itself within
an eight to ten year time span. With geothermal technology, it’s
like prepurchasing 60-70% of your energy up front. Consider that
as you think of the rising cost of energy.
How would increased use of Ground Source Heat Pump systems
affect electricity cost and availability?
The reduced peak load requirements would allow utilities to serve
more customers and to lower fixed costs per customer, thus offsetting
some increased variable costs. This would result in less cost per
kilowatt, since fixed investment for new capacity is high.
Environment / Climate:
How do Ground Source Heat Pumps protect the environment?
Ground Source Heat Pump systems conserve natural resources by providing
climate control very efficiently-thus also lowering emissions.
Ground Source Heat Pumps also minimize ozone layer destruction
by using factory-sealed refrigeration systems, which will seldom
or never have to be recharged.
What are the environmental benefits of Ground Source
Heat Pump systems?
Currently installed systems are making a huge difference in our
environment! The systems are eliminating more than three million
tons of carbon dioxide and is equivalent of taking 650,000 automobiles
off the road. Ground Source Heat Pump systems conserve energy and,
because they move heat that already exists rather than burning
something to create heat, they reduce the amount of toxic emissions
in the atmosphere. They use renewable energy from the sun, and
because the system doesn't rely on outside air, it keeps the air
inside of buildings cleaner and free from pollens, outdoor pollutants,
mold spores, and other allergens.
Do soil freezing conditions create any problems?
Not if a system is properly designed and installed. The three to
four foot depths allow the sun to melt the frozen soil during
the summer. Adequate length per ton capacity prevents objectionable
Concerning Your Home:
Will my existing ductwork function with this system?
Yes, in most cases. Your dealer or installer will be able to determine
ductwork requirements and if any minor modifications are needed.
Will an underground loop affect my lawn or landscape?
No. Research has shown that loops have no adverse effects on grass,
trees, or shrubs. Most horizontal installations require trenches
about six inches wide. Temporary bare areas can be restored with
grass seed or sod. Vertical loops require little space and do
not damage lawns significantly.
My yard contains many shade trees. Will this affect ground
temperature and my ability to use it as an energy source?
Not at all. The system is installed deep enough that it utilizes
constant ground temperature.
Can a Ground Source Heat Pump system be added to my fossil
Yes. Called dual systems, they can easily be added to existing
furnaces for those wishing to have a dual-fuel heating system.
Dual-fuel systems use the Ground Source Heat Pump system as the
main heating source, and a fossil fuel furnace as a supplement
in extremely cold weather should additional heat be needed.
Will I have to add insulation to my home if I install
one of these systems?
Ground Source Heat Pump systems will reduce your heating and cooling
costs regardless of how well your home is insulated. However, insulating
and weatherizing are key factors in gaining the maximum amount
of savings from any type of heating and cooling system.