When reviewing energy efficient HVAC systems, one should consider the pros and cons of geothermal heating and cooling. First and foremost, a geothermal heating and cooling system requires no fuel. Fluctuations in fuel prices will be of no concern to the geothermal home owner. The cost of the heat from the earth never goes up.
Geothermal is Clean for the Environment
A system which burns no fuel is cleaner for our environment. Since there is nothing to burn, there is nothing to vent. Therefore, the geothermal home contributes no pollutants to the atmosphere.
Maintenance of a Geothermal System
Geothermal systems require very little maintenance. The equipment is located indoors with no exposure to the elements. Also, there are fewer moving parts to a geothermal heating and cooling system which will reduce maintenance costs. A study by the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that of all of the heating systems on the market today, the geothermal system offered the lowest life cycle cost. In fact, the average life expectancy of a geothermal heating and cooling system is 25 years which is almost twice that of more conventional systems.
Despite the higher initial cost, another advantage of a geothermal heating and cooling system is that energy savings is estimated
to be from a low of 30% to a high of 70% over a fuel burning system. With these savings, a geothermal system should pay back the difference in cost in ten years or less. Geothermal heat pumps are simply an energy efficient way to heat a home. All of these benefits add value to a home, making it more desirable to a future buyer!
Geothermal Energy Disadvantages
So what are the disadvantages of geothermal heating and cooling? The primary disadvantage is the cost. A geothermal heat pump system will cost significantly more to purchase and install than a more conventional system. The additional cost can be as much as two to three times.
Geothermal on a Budget
For anyone building a new home on a budget, this can be a difficult choice to make. When considering geothermal pros and cons, remember that there is a large initial investment which will be returned to you year after year in energy cost savings. The question becomes, do you spend more money up front to get a heating and cooling system that will save you a lot more money in future years? And will you be living in the home long enough to enjoy the future benefit of the savings?