11 Big Benefits of Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems

Allie Ogletree
Written by Allie Ogletree
Updated October 20, 2021
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Geothermal heating and cooling systems are efficient, environmentally friendly, and could save you money in the long run

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If you’ve spent some time looking up heating options for your home, then you likely know that geothermal heating and cooling is more costly than traditional HVAC systems. While geothermal systems cost approximately 30% to 40% more than their traditional competitors, there are plenty of reasons why that higher upfront cost is worth your while.

In fact, once you get past the upfront expenses that come with a geothermal heat pump (GHP), you’ll find that the following 11 benefits are likely to make geothermal heating a must-have when it comes time to upgrade the HVAC equipment in your home.

1. Geothermal Heating Is Highly Efficient

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In some climates and scenarios, GHPs perform at a 6-to-1 ratio, meaning they deliver six times the heat for every one unit of electricity consumed. In other words, your pump system might decrease the energy consumed in your home by 25% to 50% compared to an air system. High efficiency means lower operational costs and a lower carbon footprint.

2. Save on Water Expenses

Another benefit of geothermal heating and cooling is that it can boost your potential for energy savings even more by adding a desuperheater to your GHP. The add-on component is particularly adept at taking extra energy often available in summer (when the GHP uses the ground as a heat sink) and using it to heat water for your home.

3. Receive a Federal Tax Credit

Another perk is that owning a geothermal pump means you’re eligible for geothermal tax credits. This federal tax credit is for renewable energy systems. According to ENERGY STAR, systems installed through Dec. 31, 2022 receive a 26% tax credit. This changes to 22% from Jan. 1, 2023, through Dec. 31, 2023.

4. You Save Money Overall

Once you’ve paid off the upfront costs of a geothermal system, you no longer need to pay for fossil fuels like you would with a traditional HVAC unit. Your utility bills can decrease up to 70% because of these energy savings. This, plus the potential water and tax credit savings means you could save more money than you think by investing in the upfront costs of your geothermal heating and cooling system.

5. Your Home Could Be Safer With a Geothermal System

GHPs use free, renewable energy sourced from under the ground on your property instead of relying on flammable fossil fuel energy. There are no combustion gases, toxic fumes or carbon monoxide poisoning, or risks for explosions. As a result, the safety of your home increases.

6. Geothermal Energy Is Renewable and Environmentally Friendly

A geothermal pump doesn't burn fossil fuels, sources renewable energy from the ground’s natural heat, and consumes little electricity to power the pump that moves heat energy into and out of the house. This makes GHPs very environmentally friendly heating and cooling systems.

7. Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems Are Quieter Than Traditional HVAC Systems

If you’re sensitive to noisy appliances, you’ll find your new geothermal pump is a great option for your home. GHPs don't require the installation of a noisy outdoor condensing unit that's standard for central air conditioning, making them much quieter.

8. GHPs Have Longer Life Cycles Compared to Standard Heating Systems

Compared to the average life cycle of standard heating and cooling systems, which rests around 13 to 15 years, GHPs last about 24 years, and the underground looping components last even longer: up to 50 years. With an extended service life, you'll get more bang for your buck when you invest in geothermal heating and cooling.

9. You’ll Have Better Indoor Air Quality

For asthma and allergy sufferers, owning a GHP can mean the difference between a more comfortable indoor environment. Air purification and optimal dehumidification are two of the primary benefits GHPs deliver. Geothermal pumps don't require the influx of outdoor air ventilation to supply energy, so there's less exposure to outdoor pollutants.

10. The Temperatures in Your Home Are More Evenly Distributed

Another benefit is that the low but continuous cycling of the air handler in your geothermal unit encourages even distribution of heated and cooled air. This further boosts home comfort by doing away with the cold and hot zones homeowners commonly experience with forced-air heating and cooling systems.

11. There Are Many Flexible System Types

While thermal capacity and soil conditions may vary from state to state, several geothermal system types exist to suit the conditions of your lot. Horizontal loops accommodate shallow thermal transfer, whereas vertical loops accommodate small lots.

Meanwhile, there are also water-source systems that take advantage of well, lake, or pond energy sources if your home is better suited to those options.

As you can see, there are many benefits to geothermal heating and cooling systems. But as with any major decision for your home, be sure to talk with an HVAC company to decide what’s best for you.

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