“Alternative energy” is a popular buzzword these days. Whether it’s for financial or environmental purposes, there are plenty of reasons why homeowners may want to move away from fossil fuel energy sources such as coal or natural gas.
One issue with buzzwords, however, is that they can be so widely used they start to lose their meaning. When it comes to alternative sources for your home heating and cooling needs, one option to consider is geothermal energy. In this article, we explain that that means and the pros and cons of this approach.
What is geothermal energy?
While another type of alternative energy – solar – aims at the sky for energy, geothermal looks in the opposite direction – down into the ground. Deep below the surface, the Earth’s core produces a tremendous amount of energy, also called geothermal energy. With the right equipment, it’s possible to capture this energy and use it power your furnace, heat pump, or air conditioning instead of electricity or natural gas.
The pros of geothermal energy
Let’s start with the benefits of this type of alternative home energy.
- Environmentally friendly – Because geothermal equipment uses the natural heat of the earth, it doesn’t have to burn coal, gas, or oil. This reduces carbon emissions and other pollution.
- Incredibly energy efficient – According to Energy.gov, geothermal HVAC systems are around 25-50% more energy efficient than traditional systems. That can save you a substantial amount of money on your monthly energy bills.
- Consistent energy cost – Unlike electricity and natural gas, the cost of geothermal energy does not change, which can help you budget your expenses.
- Not affected by weather – With solar or wind power, if you don’t have the right conditions, it could affect how much power the system is able to generate, which could limit the effectiveness of your heating or cooling unit.
- Quiet operation – Since most geothermal HVAC systems don’t require an outdoor compressor or fan, it can run much quieter than conventional units.
- Long service life – Depending on the equipment, a geothermal system could last you 20 years or more, so you shouldn’t have to worry about replacing it for a long time.
Cons to consider
Just like with any energy source, geothermal has some drawbacks or complications to keep in mind.
- High upfront costs – Since the technology is newer and the installation is more intensive (digging down into the ground on your property), a new geothermal system is typically more expensive than a traditional system. But over time, you can make up some of that costs with lower energy bills.
- Easier to install in new homes – It’s possible to add a geothermal HVAC system to an existing home but it will require more excavation of your property and could be temporarily disruptive to your household.
- May require a water source – Depending on the type of geothermal system that is installed, you may need to use a significant amount of water for wells.
- Potential for costly repairs – Overall, geothermal systems are very low maintenance. But if the underground loops are damaged by tree roots or pests, the repairs could be expensive.
Geothermal heating and cooling in Fredericksburg
The potential and benefits of geothermal heating and cooling are very exciting, but it’s important to understand everything that this technology entails. If you have any questions about geothermal energy for your home, call the knowledgable team at Robert B. Payne, Inc. To schedule a consultation, call us today at (540) 373-5876.