Is Geothermal worth installing for my home?
You may be asking yourself, well what is a geothermal system?
Geothermal heating and cooling systems use the consistent interior temperature of the earth (below the surface starting at around 10ft down) to balance the wildly varying surface temperatures.
With the use of heat pumps, geothermal heating systems extract heat energy and transfer it into homes. For cooling systems, heat is ejected from the home into the ground instead of being ejected into the outside air like standard air conditioners.
Geothermal systems can save approximately 50-60% on heating and cooling costs.
There are two main types of systems that can be installed for homes: vertical and horizontal.
Vertical geothermal systems use U-shaped piping that requires a depth of 300ft. Cost is calculated by the foot. Vertical systems tend to be more efficient because they are so deep they are less likely to be affected by surface temperatures.
Horizontal geothermal systems use piping that runs back and forth at 10ft underground. Horizontal systems can be cheaper to install, but require a significant amount of space.
So is it worth installing a geothermal system in your home?
For an average sized home (2000 sq. ft.) a geothermal system will cost approximately $30,000 to be installed. The estimated monthly savings is about 50% on a heating bill. Pay back for the average single family home will take a long time. As geothermal systems continue to evolve they may become more financially worth it.
Investing money into a better thermal envelope (better windows, insulation, tapes and membranes, etc.) in your home may be a better option. If you spent the same amount of money on improving these areas instead of installing a geothermal system you could save an estimated 70-80% on a heating bill.
At this point, geothermal energy is an excellent technology, but not quite the right choice for single family homes in terms of financial return.