Geothermal Installations: Weighing Upfront Cost Against Long-Term Savings

Geothermal Installations: Weighing Upfront Cost Against Long-Term Savings

May 31, 2012

Geothermal heating and cooling utilizes the Earth’s steady underground temperature to transfer heat to or from the living space of your home. Well-suited to Orlando’s mild climate, this free source of thermal exchange removes some costly components found in conventional heating/cooling systems. Conversely, it introduces other expenses — mostly initial upfront costs — into the long-term efficiency equation.

The ratio of energy transferred to energy consumed in a geothermal system is 3 to 1. In Environmental Protection Agency comparisons to air-source heat pumps, the energy savings derived from geothermal heat pumps can be over 40 percent. and Compared to standard forced-air heaters and air conditioning, these savings rise as high as 70 percent.

Geothermal installations require a complex network of heat exchange tubes buried in the ground, as well as pumps to circulate heat transfer fluid. Since the heat exchange occurs underground, however, outdoor condenser units such as those utilized by central air and traditional heat pump systems are not required. The fewer moving parts in a geothermal system make it more reliable and durable than conventional HVAC. The geothermal heat pump itself has the long life associated with all heat pumps — approximately 25 years. The buried heat exchange tubing is normally warranted for up to 50 years. Because the system doesn’t utilize outside units, issues of weathering damage and vandalism are not a factor.

Upfront costs of geothermal installations can range into the multiples of costs to install a standard HVAC system. However, these initial outlays are recouped in five to ten years because of the increased energy savings. Since the average life of a system is as much as 50 years for the heat exchange tubing and 25 years for indoor components, owners of geothermal installations can look forward to potentially decades of free and clear energy savings of up to 70 percent over a standard furnace and air conditioner.

For 42 years, Rinaldi’s Air Conditioning has been central Florida’s source for heating and cooling. We’re local to you and ready with more advice on creative, efficient solutions like geothermal heat pumps.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about geothermal installations and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Rinaldi’s services Orlando, Florida and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!     

Geothermal image via Shutterstock