You’ve probably heard about using energy from the sun to generate electricity for your home; but did you know that there is another valuable source of energy under your feet? With a geothermal heat pump, you can take advantage of the earth’s constant underground temperature to keep your home comfortable while saving energy year-round.
What Are Geothermal Heat Pumps?
A geothermal heat pump, also known as a ground-source heat pump, uses the constant temperature of the earth to provide a home with energy efficient heating and/or cooling throughout the year. In the winter, it absorbs heat from the earth’s surface and transfers it into the home. In the summer, it uses a reverse process to release heat into the earth.
All geothermal systems are "central" systems, meaning the heat must hook into a central distribution system. (Mini split systems, on the other hand, are "decentralized" systems, meaning we need to connect the inside systems to the one or more rooms that will be heated by the inside unit.) Most typically, geothermal systems use a new or existing forced-air ducted system. Radiant heating systems are also a good match with geothermal systems, as they use ground-to-water equipment.
Why Install a Geothermal Heat Pump?
Considered the gold standard of heat pumps, the advantages of geothermal are numerous. There is no "low temperature" rating on geothermal house heating systems, because the earth is a fairly constant temperature and there are no above-ground outside units to frost up. You also do not need to worry about protecting any outside units from of snow or wind.
Other benefits of geothermal heat pumps include:
Energy efficient heating (and cooling) for any climate
Up to 65% more efficient than traditional HVAC units
Significantly lower operating costs & greater energy savings
What’s the Payback on Geothermal?
Currently, geothermal benefits from the same 30% federal tax credit that solar electricity does. However, that federal tax credit sunsets on December 31, 2019, just as it does for solar electric systems. There is also a state incentive of $3,000 from Efficiency Maine (which is subject to availability of funds and can be pulled with little notice.)
While the cost of operating a geothermal heat pump is lower than that of mini-split systems, very often the payback is longer because of the higher upfront cost, even after incentives. That said, we love geothermal systems and would be happy to answer any questions that you have about installing geothermal in your southern Maine home.