Energy prices are at record highs, and home comfort is more technologically advanced than ever. Today’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are designed to ensure maximum comfort, and thermostats can control temperature, humidity and indoor air quality.
These systems demand a heating approach that is just as innovative. Geothermal heating is a system that has gained acclaim in recent years. The engineering behind the product relies on the relatively constant temperature inside the earth. This is a renewable energy source that is easier than ever for homeowners to tap.
The source is clean, free and renewable. Installing a geothermal heat pump cuts down utility bills and reduces a homeowner’s carbon footprint. Technology is the answer to decreasing energy costs, and geothermal systems allow consumers a chance to gain energy independence. Here are the top five reasons to consider a geothermal heat pump.
1. Financial incentives and tax credits
Here in Central Illinois, there are a couple of different incentives that are provided by the local power suppliers. Ameren CIPS offers up to a $680 credit to their electric customers who install a new geothermal system. The local rural electric coops also offer different incentives, which include financing, rebates, and reduced rates for installing geothermal systems.
The federal government is offering the best incentive you can get to install a new geothermal system. They will give you 30% of your investment in a new geothermal system back in the form of a tax credit (not a tax deduction.) This means that if your geothermal system costs $20,000, you would receive a $6000 tax credit. If you don't have $6000 in tax liability, you can roll your credit over to the next year. This great incentive is available to homeowners until the end of 2016.
2. Shrinking Utility Bills
Geothermal systems are engineered for efficiency, and they cut electric consumption by up to 70 percent, depending on what type of system they are replacing. The major reason that a geothermal system can attain these levels of efficiency is that they rely on the mostly constant temperature of the earth below ground level. The loop system that the geothermal system relies on can be buried anywhere from 6 feet to hundreds of feet deep in the ground, as well as sunk to the bottom of a body of water, where these constant temperatures are fournd.
A geothermal system will also reduce the cost of your families water heating needs as well. The system uses the heat that is removed from your home in the summertime to heat your water and it uses any excess capacity the compressor has in the winter to heat water. This will save you as much as 50% on water heating costs.
3. Increased Comfort
Geothermal systems, when installed properly, can be the most comfortable systems that a person can invest in.
A geothermal system has a lot of flexibility to meet the comfort needs of just about any home. It can be a forced air system that uses ductwork to force conditioned air to the areas of the house that call for it. It can be a radiant floor system which radiates heat from the floors where it is installed. It can be zoned to provide different temperatures to different areas of the home. It can also be a combination of those types of comfort systems.
With the flexibilty that the system offers and the proper installation of the system, a geothermal system can provide your family with many years of comfort.
4. Long-Term Investment.
The efficiency of a geothermal system and it's subsequent reduction of a homeowner's utility bills can easily be the best investment a homeowner can make. When compared to a standard gas furnace and air conditioner, a geothermal system can pay for itself in energy savings in a matter of a few short years, in some cases as few as 3.
To put it another way, the savings of a geothermal system in energy costs can offset any increase in your mortgage payment or the payment of a home improvement loan, especially with interest rates as low as they are currently(2012.)
In any case, investing in a geothermal system will be one of the best financial decisions that a homeowner makes.
5. Property value.
Adding a new heating system is a great way to boost a home’s resale value. Today’s housing market is showing signs of recovery, and outfitting a home with a technologically advanced HVAC system is a great way to make a home more appealing. In most cases, the value of a home will increase by at least 80% of the total value of a geothermal system.
The majority of that value will come from installing the ground loop, which is basically a permanent fixture. Most ground loops are warranted for 50 years and will last much longer if left undisturbed. With the permanent loop system available, future investment in geothermal becomes more affordable, as the cost of a geothermal system without the loop installation is very close to the cost of a high efficient furnace and air conditioner or air to air heat pump system.