Americans have always valued the land. With rising energy costs, the land on which your house sits could be more valuable than you thought. It can be the source of truly economical home heating with the installation of a geothermal energy system.
Geothermal heat pump systems for residences use the heat stored in the ground for power. The system can save as much as 80 percent on fossil fuel costs and is environmentally friendly, since no fuel is burned. If a device known as a “desuperheater” is included, it can act as a water heater for even more savings.
Geothermal installation generally costs more than installing conventional heating units, but the energy cost savings can more than offset the difference. For example, if a geothermal installation adds $3,500 to a mortgage, or about $30 more onto the monthly payment, the savings easily makes up the difference when compared to fuel oil or electrical systems. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the cost of a geothermal unit can be retired in as little as two to 10 years, depending on location.
Is a Geothermal System the Right Way to Go?
Location matters when considering the installation of a geothermal energy system. Because the shallow ground temperature is fairly uniform throughout the U.S., geothermal heat pumps can efficiently be used almost anywhere. However, an inspection of the specific characteristics of your property will help our experts at Trenary Service Company determine the type of ground loop—open or closed loop—that is best. The properties that we will need to investigate include:
- Surface or Ground Water Availability
- Soil Composition
- Landscaping and Layout
- Amount of Property
- Weather Conditions
For the actual installation, you will need experience and expertise such as that available through us at Trenary Service Company. This is not a job for do-it-yourselfers. Installation of a geothermal system requires specialized equipment and technical knowledge.
Types of Geothermal Systems
Ground heat exchangers in geothermal heat pumps are either open pipes, which use a constant supply of clean water to absorb the heat, or closed pipes, which are filled with an environmentally friendly solution of antifreeze mixed with water. The systems use three pipes—two to collect heat from the ground and one to actually exchange the heat. Closed pipes can be buried horizontally a few feet below the surface or vertically, 100-400 feet deep. This is why land size matters, since the horizontal system needs much more room.
Installing a Geothermal System
The actual installation process generally takes three or four days or up to a week depending on site conditions. The easier the drilling conditions, the faster the installation. Holes must be drilled or trenches dug for the pipes.
In vertical installation, the pipes are pushed into a U-shaped formation and a substance known as grout is added. This grout has the consistency of oatmeal and eliminates air and improves heat conductivity. Horizontal systems do not require grout. For either system, a hole is dug into your home and another pipe is laid to connect to the unit inside. Then the glycol or water is added, the unit is turned on, and you can begin providing comfort for your family.
Geothermal installation can save you money and help protect the environment. At Trenary Service Company, we can help determine if a geothermal system is right for your home.