A new HVAC system is a big investment, so when you are in the market for one, it’s important to weigh your options carefully. Many homeowners will compare a traditional HVAC system to a heat pump and stop there. However, homeowners have another option to consider: geothermal heat pumps. Although these systems are often overlooked or dismissed as an option, there are several practical reasons to consider one.

Energy Efficiency

With so many new high-tech furnaces and heat pumps to choose from, you may wonder what makes a geothermal heat pump different. As you may know, heat pumps are more efficient than traditional systems. However, geothermal heat pumps take that efficiency to a new level by relying on ground temperature, rather than air temperature, to keep your home comfortable.

Heat pumps work by pulling heat from one place and transferring it to another. In the winter, a regular air-source heat pump pulls heat from outdoor air to warm the inside of your house; during summer, it will cool your house by doing the reverse. A geothermal heat pump uses the same principles to draw and deposit heat underground, where temperatures are warmer and more consistent throughout the year.

Monthly Savings

The increased efficiency of a geothermal heat pump will help you save on your monthly energy bills. According to the Department of Energy, while air-source heat pumps reach 175 percent to 200 percent efficiency during winter, geothermal ones can reach 300 percent to 600 percent efficiency. Although Alabama residents might not be as concerned about winter heating as homeowners in the  northern states, this efficiency also extends to summer cooling.

Maintenance and Longevity

Geothermal heat pumps can last longer than other systems and need fewer repairs because they are under less stress. Though air temperatures can fluctuate drastically, ground temperatures stay between 45 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, with the exact temperature varying by latitude. A geothermal heat pump operates under significantly less pressure because it does not have to work around the same temperature extremes that an air-source pump does. The indoor components should be good for 25 years, and the underground components should last more than half a century. During that time, maintenance will be minimal and repairs less likely.

Tax Incentives and Rebates

Image via Flickr by dpape

Installing a geothermal heat pump costs more than other options, but local and federal tax incentives or rebates often can help with the cost, so ask your local HVAC contractor about what programs are available in your area.  You will still pay more up front for a geothermal system, but you can recoup that cost in just a few years with the money you save on energy bills. The price also looks more reasonable when you consider how much longer the system will last.

Many people see geothermal heat pumps as environmentally friendly, and they are. However, their energy efficiency also saves you money on monthly energy bills and maintenance costs, giving you plenty of reasons to switch.