Geothermal heating has existed for centuries, but this method has experienced a relative resurgence in recent years. As a homeowner in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about geothermal heat pumps. You’ve probably heard that such a system will help you save big on your energy bill, but what are the downsides? Understand how a geothermal heat pump works, and weigh the pros and cons of this type of system before making a decision.
How Does a Geothermal Heat Pump Work?
To learn how a geothermal heat pump works, first understand that most HVAC units are forced air systems. These units generate air by running fans that blow air through the system, which either warms or cools it. The HVAC system then distributes air throughout the home via a duct system.
Instead of a forced air system, some homes rely on a heat pump. This device functions much like a refrigerator. Rather than generating its own air, the heat pump just moves hot air around as necessary. A heat pump can move warm air from inside a space to the outside in order to cool, or it can move heat from the outside to the inside in order to heat a home. Most heat pumps simply draw from the outdoor air.
While many heat pumps are air-sourced, meaning that they draw energy from the air, a geothermal heat pump is ground-sourced. While air temperatures typically fluctuate throughout the year, depending on the season, the ground temperature remains relatively constant year-round. That means the earth can provide a reliable source of energy for your home.
Advantages of Geothermal Heat Pumps
Now that you know how a geothermal heat pump works, understand whether it’s what you need in your home. Get familiar with some of the advantages of this type of system.
- Higher Efficiency: Since air-sourced heat pumps draw from temperature-sensitive air, they aren’t always the most efficient means of heating or cooling your home. Thanks to the relative consistency of the underground temperature, geothermal heat pumps can operate much more efficiently.
- Longer Lifespan: Geothermal heat pumps usually cost more to install up front, but they can pay for themselves over the years. Not only do these systems use less energy, but the components themselves can also last between 25 and 50 years with regular maintenance. That’s up to five times longer than standard HVAC systems, which last up to about 10 years.
- Less Maintenance: With fewer components and moving parts, geothermal heat pumps require less maintenance than standard heat pumps.
- Zoning Systems: One advantage of all heat pumps is the option to customize air allocation to specific zones of the home. You’ll increase efficiency and lower energy consumption by keeping designated areas at certain temperatures. For example, zoning systems allow you to keep an infrequently used room at a much higher temperature during the summer months or at a much lower temperature during the winter.
Disadvantages of Geothermal Heat Pumps
Though geothermal heat pumps have many positives, they also have a few disadvantages. Make sure none of the following are deal breakers for you.
- Installation Cost: Geothermal heat pumps have higher installation costs than standard heat pumps. Their installation is also much more complex and requires some logistical juggling, since a professional technician must place the geothermal components underground.
- Power: When compared to a conventional HVAC system, most geothermal heat pumps can’t produce the same power as a forced air system because they must rely on the underground temperature. This means that when you encounter extreme temperatures, a geothermal system might not be able to produce the warmth or cooling power you need.
What’s the verdict? Now that you know the pros and cons of a geothermal heat pump system, the decision is yours. Keep in mind, however, that if you want to lower your energy consumption and decrease your overall heating and cooling costs, it’s worth considering a geothermal heat pump. If you have more questions regarding geothermal heat pump systems or want to schedule an installation, give New Age Air a call at 610-298-0271.
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