Geothermal Heat Pump Systems For New Hampshire Homeowners
Today, homeowners have a number of different options when it comes to heating and cooling their homes. From traditional furnace or boiler systems that use propane, oil or gas, to electric heat, heat pumps, and ductless HVAC, technology has advanced to the point that energy efficient heating is within the reach of every homeowner.
One newer technology that the U.S. Department of Energy has called “among the most efficient and comfortable heating and cooling technologies” is the geothermal heat pump. GHP systems use the earth's natural ability to supply or absorb heat at extremely high efficiencies. GHP systems are currently used to provide heating and cooling to homes, offices, schools, hospitals as well as commercial and government buildings.
How Does A Geothermal Heat Pump Work?
Geothermal heat pump systems take an entirely different approach to heating and cooling. Unlike conventional systems which provide heat by burning a fossil fuel, GHP systems don't create heat, so there is no combustion in the process.
Instead, GPH systems transfer thermal heat stored in the earth or in groundwater to the building during winter and remove heat from the building in summer back to the earth or groundwater.
According to GeoExchange, there are currently more than 1 million GHP systems installed in the U.S. Today. While this is a very small percentage of the total market, the number of consumers installing systems is growing at the rate of about 50,000 units per year.
The Cost Benefits of Geothermal Heat Pump Systems
While installation costs are higher than a conventional system of the same capacity, energy costs are significantly lower offsetting the higher installation costs over time. Plus there are significant environmental benefits in the reduction of the homeowner's carbon footprint.
If you include the costs of a GHP system in your mortgage, for example in a custom-built home, your investment will produce positive cash flow from the day you move in. In other words, the extra cost of the GHP system to your total mortgage payment will likely by exceeded by your annual energy cost savings over the course of each year!
There are often incentives like tax breaks and financing options at both the state and federal level. You can learn about your options by visiting the EPA's Energy Star website. To learn more about any incentives offered by your state, like installation assistance.
GHP Maintenance Requirements
GHP systems have relatively few moving parts and those parts are kept indoors which makes the system durable, and highly reliable. There are no outside compressors or components so they are not susceptible to weather. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates system life at 25 years for interior components and 50-plus years for the ground loop components.
The interior components are easily accessible. This makes them extremely convenient to maintain and repair when needed.
Installation - Closed Loop, Open Loop & Hybrid
There are four basic types of ground loop GHP systems. Three – horizontal, vertical and pond/lake – are closed-loop systems. The fourth is an open loop system. Any of these approaches can be used for residential installation, as well as commercial and institutional installations like schools. The ideal system depends upon the climate, soil conditions, available land and installation costs.
Closed-loop geothermal systems use an environmentally friendly antifreeze which is circulated through a closed loop typically made of plastic tubing, buried in the ground or submerged in a lake or pond. A heat exchanger transfers heat between the refrigerant in the heat pump and the antifreeze solution. The loop can be placed vertically or horizontally in the ground, or into a pond/lake configuration.
An open loop system relies on a well or surface body of water as the heat exchange fluid that circulates through the system. Once it has traveled through the system, the water is returned to the groundwater through the well, a recharge well, or surface discharge. This option is only practical if there is an adequate supply of relatively clean water.
There is a fifth option that is “hybrid” system. It is called a standing column and uses a single water well for both exchange and return for a ground source heat pump. Water may be discharged from the well to maintain operational groundwater temperatures.
Geothermal heat pump systems are durable, extremely energy efficient and environmentally friendly. They can be used to heat, homes, schools, and businesses in New Hampshire. While the installation costs are higher than a typical conventional system, the energy cost savings will make up the extra cost over time.
If you're interested in learning more about Geothermal systems give the experts at Skillings and Sons a call. We can help you to explore your options and are always happy to answer any questions you may have about geothermal heat pumps or any other heating and cooling systems.