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Heating From The Ground Up: The Benefits Of Geothermal Heating

Geothermal heat pumps offer significant benefits with regard to energy efficiency, durability, safety and comfort.

If you’re looking for the most energy efficient, safe and comfortable heating system available, look no further than a geothermal heat pump. The U.S. Department of Energy has identified these systems as the most efficient kinds for central heating and cooling.

Energy Efficiency

No other central heating system offers the energy efficiency that a geothermal heat pump does. Since they extract heat from underground, there’s always a ready supply of it available, unlike air-source heat pumps that rely on the heat in the air as an energy source. Temperatures beneath the frost line are remarkably stable year-round and heat is always available, even when it’s below zero above-ground.

An Energy Star-rated geothermal heat pump embodies components that use the least amount of electricity possible, such as those equipped with variable-speed or electronically commutated motors. These types of motors use little electricity to circulate the heated air throughout the house as they run at variable speeds. This keeps your home consistently warm, unlike single-speed motors that run on high for short periods.

Efficiency Ratings

The energy efficiency of geothermal systems is noted by their EER (energy efficiency ratio) and COP (coefficient of performance). The EER describes how efficiently it cools and the COP how well it heats. These systems can produce nearly five times the amount of heat compared to the energy they use. An electric heater has a COP of 1, which means it produces one unit of heat for each unit of electricity it uses.

Geothermal systems usually have a COP rating of 4, so they produce four units of heat for each unit of electricity they use, making them 400 percent more efficient. Gas and oil heating systems never reach 100 percent efficiency, although new systems approach nearly 99 percent efficiency.

Clean Energy

Geothermal systems use electricity to produce heat exclusively, and while most electricity production does contribute to climate change, many companies have committed to reducing their reliance on coal as a fuel, and increasing wind energy production. The only clean alternative aside from geothermal heating is natural gas. Natural gas furnaces are popular because they are clean, safe, and dependable. The drawback is that gas prices can be unpredictable from month to month and need to be monitored if you’re on a tight budget.

Financial Incentives

There are almost always financial incentives for homeowners who install geothermal heat pumps. The amount is based on the size, or tonnage, of the system installed and its energy efficiency rating. An expert in your area, like Bryant Air Conditioning, Heating, Electrical & Plumbing will be familiar with these incentives and their conditions for homeowners.

Durability

No other HVAC system lasts as long as a geothermal system. Their underground loop field lasts 50 years or better and the indoor air handler often reaches 25 years or more.

Geothermal heat pumps offer significant benefits with regard to energy efficiency, durability, safety and comfort. Financial incentives help make them a viable option for homeowners seeking exceptional value for their next heating system.

Brooke Chaplan, the author of this post, is a freelance blogger.

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