FAQs About Geothermal HVAC Systems

September 20, 2020

Geothermal HVAC systems are increasingly common in the United States. There are homes in all 50 states heated and cooled by one of these systems. They have a few advantages over conventional HVAC systems such as furnaces and air conditioners.

What Is a Geothermal HVAC System?

Furnaces and air conditioners create heated or cooled air from electricity or natural gas. Geothermal HVAC systems don’t create heated or cool air from a fuel source. Instead, they transfer already-existing heat between two locations. One location is your home and the other location is below the frost line in the ground.

Geothermal Heat Pump

A geothermal heat pump is the above-ground part of a geothermal HVAC system. It pumps a liquid solution through buried pipes. In the winter, it transfers heat from below ground to your home. In the summer, it transfers heat from your home to below ground.

How Deep are the Pipes Buried?

There are two types of geothermal pipe systems. A horizontal system is buried between 4 and 8 feet underground, depending on where the frost line is. A vertical system can be up to 400 feet deep.

Geothermal HVAC systems take advantage of the fact that the temperature is always about 45 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit underground. While temperatures vary above ground, they’re relatively constant once you get below the frost line.

What Are the Advantages of Geothermal HVAC System

Geothermal HVAC systems don’t burn fuel, so they’re very efficient. They use just a small amount of electricity to pump the liquid solution through the pipes. As they don’t burn fuel, they don’t release greenhouse gases like carbon monoxide and methane.

These systems last a long time. The geothermal heat pump generally lasts about 25 years. The buried pipes can last for 50 years or longer.

How Much Do These Systems Cost?

A geothermal HVAC system costs about twice as much as buying a furnace and air conditioner. However, a geothermal HVAC system can reduce your monthly utility bills by as much as 70%. The federal government offers a renewable energy tax credit that reduces the cost of installing one of these systems.

Hunter's Air & Heat, Inc. of Boling-Lago, TX, installs geothermal HVAC systems. We’re a Trane Comfort Specialist that services all make and models.

Will Your Property Be Impacted?

Excavation for the pipes will damage landscaping. The trenches and holes will be filled, but the ground will only be restored to “rough grade.” It’s best if you can have one of these systems installed where there’s no landscaping. Once the pipes are installed, you can put landscaping over them.

What Happens When the Power Goes Out?

Geothermal HVAC systems will stop operating during power outages, just like furnaces and air conditioners do. You can use a back-up generator for it, though.

How Long Does Installation Take?

The time it takes to install one of these systems depends on your house. The exterior part of the project takes two to four days. The interior part usually takes two to three days. Both can be done at the same time.

If all the ductwork in your home needs to be installed, it could take two to four weeks to be completed. This depends on how large your home is and how easy it is to install the ducts.

Do Geothermal HVAC System Require a Lot of Maintenance?

Geothermal HVAC systems require very little maintenance. The geothermal heat pump is factory sealed. The buried part of the system is very durable and requires no maintenance. The water solution that flows through the system is at low pressure, so it won’t cause damage.

The mechanical equipment is located inside your home, so it’s protected from bad weather. It switches between heating and cooling your home automatically. You just need to change the air filter a few times a year.

Will a Geothermal HVAC System Increase Your Home’s Value?

The value of your home could increase by $15,000-$20,000 if it has a geothermal HVAC system. This is based on studies showing how solar panels affect resale value. Since a geothermal HVAC system is just as efficient as solar, the same numbers should apply.

Hunter's Air & Heat, Inc. installs, repairs, and maintains heating and cooling systems. We can also help you with indoor air quality, duct sealing, duct cleaning, attic insulation, sheet metal fabrication, and extended warranties. Please call our office today to find out more!

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