Curious about upgrading your conventional heating and cooling system to a geothermal system? Not sure you’re ready to take the plunge because you heard something that made you question whether geothermal is really worth the hype? We get it.
Although geothermal is steadily growing in popularity, there’s still a lot of confusion about these systems, how they function, how installation works, and the benefits they offer homeowners. At The Comfort Company, we’d like to set the record straight.
Below, we’re breaking down the most common geothermal myths, so you know for sure what’s fact and what’s fiction. Once you separate the truth from the tall tales, only then can you make an informed decision about whether geothermal heating and cooling is right for your home.
Myth #1: You Can’t Install Geothermal If You Already Have Conventional Heating and Cooling
Fact: You can absolutely retrofit your home with a geothermal system!
And of course, you can choose geothermal installation in lieu of conventional heating and cooling during the home construction process as well.
When you already have a conventional forced air HVAC system, a geothermal system will integrate pretty seamlessly with your existing ductwork. If your home does not have ductwork, but is heated by radiators or hydronic heat we can also install a geothermal system to heat and circulate this water.
Myth #2: You Must Have a Huge Yard to Install a Geothermal Ground Loop
Fact: You do not necessarily need a large yard for geothermal installation to work.
While you will need a large-ish yard if you want a horizontal bored ground loop, a vertical ground loop requires far less open space, which makes it a great solution for smaller properties. Here’s a little background on loop installation requirements:
Horizontal Bored Ground Loop
This type of loop features anywhere from 400 to 2000 feet of underground piping. The loop is horizontally bored with a directional drill (typically 10-15 feet deep), which is why it requires so much open land area for installation. Generally, horizontal loops are less expensive to install than their vertical counterparts.
Vertical Ground Loop
This type of loop is installed in one or more vertical boreholes that are about 200 to 500 feet deep. The holes are typically situated about 20 feet from one another and a single pipe loop is inserted into them, which creates a u-bend at the bottom.
These loops are generally more expensive than their horizontal counterparts due to the amount of drilling involved, but they require less piping and are about 10% more efficient. Vertical loops are usually also the more appropriate option for retrofitting homes with smaller yards.
Check out our Geothermal Ground Loop FAQs for more information.
Myth #3: Geothermal Doesn’t Work in Cold Climates
Fact: Geothermal systems work just fine in cold climates!
We have customers that utilize 100% geothermal heating in northern Minnesota and they would not have anything except geothermal installed. The geothermal system delivers 100% of their heating needs.
However, in our cold northern Minnesota climate it’s a good idea to have a backup heat source — this is also known as a dual-fuel geothermal system. There are definite advantages to this setup.
Myth #4: Geothermal Installation Takes Several Months
Fact: Geothermal installation typically requires a few weeks at most.
While it’s true that there may be a few months between your consultation and the final day of your system installation, the installation process itself doesn’t require a ton of time.
There are two stages to the installation process — ground loop installation and the interior equipment installation. There can be a gap in time between the ground loop being installed and the interior equipment installation— however each of the two steps only take 1-3 days each.
The design of the system, weather conditions, subsurface ground conditions, and heavy equipment availability all factor into the amount of time required to complete the install.
Myth #5: Geothermal Is Way Too Expensive for the Average Homeowner
Fact: Geothermal heating and cooling has become far more affordable in recent years, which has significantly lowered the barrier to ownership for many homeowners.
What’s more, a geothermal system will pay for itself within about 10 years from the time of installation!
Currently, the federal government is also offering substantial tax credits for new geothermal installations, and many local utility providers are also offering incentives to help offset initial installation costs.
While a geothermal system does require a much larger investment than a conventional heating and cooling system, geothermal outlasts conventional units by many years and costs far less to operate, too.
Curious About Geothermal? Schedule a Consultation With The Comfort Company
Ready to learn more about how geothermal heating and cooling can enhance your Minnesota or Wisconsin home? Let our team at the Comfort Company show you!
We specialize in comprehensive geothermal design, installation, and maintenance and serve homeowners throughout eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Give us a call at 218-231-4436 or contact us online to set up a free consultation today!