Is My Home Right for Geothermal Heating and Cooling?

With the price of home heating oil in the mid-$3 per gallon range, many New England homeowners are looking to switch to a more affordable and cleaner fuel. Natural gas has been hyped as a more affordable option. Although cleaner, it is still a fossil fuel and street hookup can be costly and is only available in some areas. Solar is a clean, yet expensive, alternative for some. Besides the cost of the panels, it can also mean an entirely new heating system for your home.

One heating system that is growing in popularity in New England is geothermal. By harnessing the mild, constant temperature within the Earth’s crust, geothermal heat pumps keep homes toasty warm in the winter and cool in the summer at a fraction of the cost of heating with oil. Geothermal isn’t right for every home, but it can be a good choice for many homes and buildings.

How Do I Know If My Home Is Right For Geothermal?

Skillings & Sons has installed geothermal heat exchange systems in all types of buildings, including single-family homes, condominiums, businesses, and schools. Installing a geothermal system in a new home can be done as it is being designed from scratch. Existing homes can also make the switch if homeowners want a more efficient system.

The space needed depends on the property and the kind of geothermal well system, standing column or vertical closed loop. A standing column well system is common in areas where the bedrock is near the earth surface and is used in about 80 percent of the geothermal wells in the Northeast. Deep holes are drilled into the aquifer and pipes are dropped into the holes until they meet the water. The system uses the water from an aquifer to transfer heat from the ground into the home. A closed vertical loop acts in much the same way, except the pipes, are sealed and a special anti-freeze fluid is circulated inside, moving the heat from under the earth’s surface into the home.

Skillings & Sons has drilled geothermal wells across New Hampshire and Massachusetts and was featured an episode of This Old House. We can advise you on whether your property’s geology and given space are right for geothermal wells.

A new heat exchange system will need to be installed in an existing home, as well. Skillings & Sons recommends homeowners get an evaluation from a qualified HVAC contractor for retrofitting ideas.

How Much Does Geothermal Cost?

Price is a major factor when making an investment in the home’s HVAC system. Once installed, the system uses a small amount of electricity to run the heat pump and circulate the water through the system. Geothermal uses little to no water and does not directly burn oil or gas, saving the homeowner thousands of dollars in heating costs each year. The system’s modern and efficient design also uses far less electricity than conventional heating and cooling units. They are twice as efficient as a top-rated air conditioner and almost 50 percent more efficient than high-quality gas furnaces.

There are local and state tax incentives available to homeowners who install geothermal systems as well. For example, people can save 30% on the cost of their new heat exchange system between now and 2016 if they buy one with the ENERGY STAR rating.

Skillings & Sons, Inc. has more than 40 years of experience drilling wells in New England. We’ve invested in high-quality equipment capable of breaking through the bedrock to make the most of the earth’s natural energy and our technicians are IGSHPA certified to drill geothermal wells. Contact us today to talk to one of our technicians to find out if geothermal heating and cooling is right for your home.