Geothermal VS Carbon Based Heating Systems

Geothermal heating systems are a small part of the home heating segment, but because of its many advantages, it’s a quickly growing choice for home heating. Many people are still relatively unfamiliar with geothermal heating systems, so homeowners may be hesitant to consider geothermal as an option when replacing an old heating unit or building a new home. Below we list some of the difference between geothermal heating systems and traditional combustion-based units.


Conventional heating systems, like a gas furnace, use combustion to create heat. Feeding that combustion system with home heating oil or natural gas can get expensive, especially during winter months. Fuel oil is hovering just above $2.00 a gallon this fall, which means a home will likely pay between $1,000 and $1,600 for heat over the winter. The average cost to homeowners in the New Hampshire-Massachusetts area for natural gas is about $180 per month, which is about $700 for the winter. These are costs that would be greatly diminished with a geothermal system.

Besides needing to pay for this fuel source, this combustion means there is a greater need for maintenance and repair because of the intense heat produced by the burning of oil or gas. Burning oil and gas also means your home is at risk of a possible carbon monoxide leak or a dangerous problem like delayed furnace ignition. Geothermal systems do not need to burn an external fuel source and, unlike gas or oil, they use a completely renewable source of heat. No combustion means very few safety risks with geothermal heat.


Traditional HVAC equipment requires regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently. Most homeowners know they should have their furnace cleaned and inspected every year to make sure that the heat exchanger is not cracked, the thermostat is working properly, and that there is no danger of carbon monoxide leaks. Geothermal systems, on the other hand, don’t require the same level of maintenance. The heat pump should be inspected once a year, but the largest portion of components are underground and require little to no upkeep. The underground pipes are often guaranteed to last up to 50 years, while the average combustion furnace only lasts around 15 years.


Geothermal systems heating efficiency is more than 50 percent higher than other heating systems. Geothermal heat pumps still needs electricity to run, furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps require a great deal more electricity, gas, or oil to operate, leading to high utility bills. Though the initial installation cost of geothermal can be intimidating, the lower monthly bills will make up the price very quickly. Because your geothermal system can be used for both heating and cooling, you should factor in the savings you will see on summer electricity bills and no longer needing two separate sets of equipment for the winter and the summer.

Since 1986, we’ve installed close to 500 geothermal systems for residential use ranging from a 1,200-square-foot home to a 10,000-square-foot historic home with eight exchange units. Call a Skillings & Sons technician for a consultation to see if your home, office, school or business is geothermal ready.