How Much Does Geothermal Heating Cost?

    geothermal heater

    Geothermal heating is a great way to cut heating costs in the cold winter months by harnessing the earth’s natural heat. Not only does it require less non-renewable energy sources, it also cuts utility bills. Though initial costs are much higher than most heating systems, in the long run geothermal heating will save you money.

    How It Works

    Piping is attached to your home and run underground. Because the area beneath the surface of the earth stays at a fairly static temperature throughout the year, at times when outside it may be below freezing, underground it’s much warmer. A liquid, usually a mixture of antifreeze and water, is forced through the pipes, and as it flows underground it’s heated up by the natural warmth. The liquid then flows back towards the surface and the heat from the liquid is extracted and turned into warm air which heats your home. The cold liquid that’s left is then recirculated back through the pipes, keeping the system efficient. In the summer the process can be reversed so that the colder, underground air can be utilized to cool your home.

    Costs

    While it’s relatively expensive to install a geothermal heating system, the annual costs are much lower than the alternatives. If you live in an area like Milwaukee, Wisconsin where the heat is kept on for a large portion of the year, you’ll save hundreds of dollars or more, annually. The cost of a geothermal heating system is typically between $3,500 and $8,500, depending on the depth of the pipes, the quality of the unit and the soil conditions. However, more advanced two-stage compressors or systems with a desuperheater – a mechanism that provides hot water utilizing geothermal energy – can cost as much as $25,000 or more.

    Geothermal heating units usually have a 25- to 50-year warranty and require almost no maintenance. Additionally, because most of the machinery is underground, the units are much quieter than regular heating units. Also, because geothermal energy is energy efficient, you may be eligible for a $300 or more tax break. Visit Energy Star for more information.

    Additional Information

    Be aware that because of the amount of drilling required (sometimes as deep as 250 feet), installation can take up to three days. Additionally, depending on the condition your yard is left in when the drilling is complete, you may want to contact a residential landscaper to return your home to its previous condition.

    Installing a geothermal heating system is not a do-it-yourself project. The drilling is a major part of the process and requires special machinery, while the installation of the unit in your home is also not something most people can do on their own, and the efficiency of the product can be lowered if not properly installed. Contact a professional heating company to help you determine the best type of system for your home and have it installed by experts.

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