Geothermal HVAC systems are increasing in popularity. You may be considering one because you have heard that they are efficient, environmentally friendly and cost effective. While this is true, there is more to know about geothermal HVAC systems. Here are some geothermal HVAC pros and cons.
How they work
Geothermal HVAC systems work very differently than a conventional system. In a conventional system, the exterior unit has a series of coils that are cooled by a fan that draws outside air through the coils. The air that cools the coils is only as cool as the outside temperature. So, on a 100-degree day, you are pulling 100-degree air through the exterior unit to cool the coils, causing the unit to work much harder. In a geothermal system, there is one self-contained unit located inside the house. A geothermal system uses a series of loops that are drilled 100-300 feet into the ground, depending on the area (the number of loops required is determined by the unit’s tonnage). Water that is run through the loops is cooled by the earth’s constant temperature, which averages about 74 degrees year round. This cooled water then cools the coils making the unit run more efficiently.
In certain applications, the system should save your running costs per month. A geothermal HVAC system is more efficient than a conventional system and uses no fossil fuels, which makes it environmentally friendly. Because geothermal systems are so efficient, the job will most likely require a smaller unit than a conventional system. In addition, most geothermal units have an accessory built in for hot water recirculation, which reduces the amount of energy needed by the water heater. Although the system is considerably more expensive than a conventional system, the monthly energy savings should pay for the system over time.
Though they have been on the market for 25 plus years, geothermal HVAC systems are still considered a relatively new technology. Finding a company to service your system may be something to do before you consider one. Not just any AC company can service them. Another thing to consider with a geothermal HVAC system is lot size. The loop system would require a good amount of space.