Geothermal HVAC: 8 Myths & Facts
Geothermal heat pumps are one of the most efficient ways to heat and cool a home and provide hot water. It is estimated that converting to a geothermal system will reduce your household energy emissions by up to 70 percent. Geothermal systems are a green energy solution for both new homes and retrofits in existing houses.
Under current federal law you can take advantage of federal tax credits when installing a geothermal heat pump system in your home.
The "Energy Efficiency Property Tax Credit" is currently set at 26% of your total installation cost through 2022. In 2023, the credit will be reduced to 22% and then expires in 2024.
1. Myth: Geothermal HVAC systems are not considered renewable energy because they use electricity.
Fact: Geothermal HVAC systems use only one unit of electricity to move up to five units of heating or cooling from the earth to a home.
2. Myth: Geothermal HVAC technology is not financially feasible without federal and local tax incentives.
Fact: Federal and local incentives typically amount to between 30 and 60 percent of total geothermal cost, which can often make the initial price of a system competitive with conventional equipment.
3. Myth: Geothermal HVAC needs lots of yard or real estate in which to dig a well and loops.
Fact: Depending on the characteristics of the site, the earth loop may be buried vertically, meaning little above-ground surface is needed.
4. Myth: Geothermal heat pumps are noisy.
Fact: The systems run very quiet and there is no equipment outside to bother neighbors.
5. Myth: Geothermal systems put refrigerant lines into the ground.
Fact: Most systems use only water in the loops or lines.
6. Myth: Geothermal systems eventually “wear out”.
Fact: Earth loops can last for generations. The heat-exchange equipment typically lasts decades, since it is protected indoors. When it does need to be replaced the expense is much less than putting in an entire new geothermal since the loop or well is the post pricey to install.
7. Myth: Geothermal HVAC systems only work in heating mode.
Fact: They work just as effectively in cooling and can be engineered to require no additional backup heat source is desired.
8. Myth: Geothermal systems use a lot of water.
Fact: Geothermal systems actually consume no water. If an aquifer is used to exchange heat with the earth all the water is returned to that same aquifer. In the past there were some “pump and dump” systems that wasted the water after passing over the heat exchanger, but those are exceedingly rare now.