Is Geothermal Home Heating for You?

The initial costs of geothermal home heating may be high, but the system is eco-friendly and reduces heating and cooling bills considerably.

The geothermal heat pump, also known as the geo-exchange heat pump, is among the most reliable, environmentally responsible, and cost-effective home-comfort technologies available. It’s also easily dismissed because of its steep up-front price tag. But with energy costs likely to rise and government incentives now widely available, today’s savvy homeowners are giving this incredibly efficient heating and cooling technology a closer look.

What makes geothermal heat pumps so outstanding is their efficiency. For example, the very best natural-gas furnaces provide about a 95% efficiency rate—meaning that for every dollar you spend on electricity and gas to heat your home, the furnace is able to return about 95 cents worth of heat. A geothermal system will give you more than four times that rate. That efficiency translates in to savings. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a geothermal system will save 50% to 70% of home energy usage for heating and cooling.

There’s another reason to consider geothermal heat pumps. Because they require only a trickle of electricity to power the pump and fan, they produce no CO2 emissions and help reduce demand for fossil fuels.