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Ask the Expert: Geothermal Heating & Cooling

If you have read this blog before you know that I try to explain the wonders of geothermal heating and cooling.  However, I can not always do it justice.  That is why I decided to go straight to the source.  Here is an interview with our geothermal expert, Jan:

How is geothermal different than regular heating and cooling?

It only needs one unit for heating, cooling and covering about 50% of the domestic hot water load.

It is more comfortable and has a constant air flow.

There is no danger of CO poisoning in the house.

The geothermal system runs on electricity only instead of fossil fuels such as gas, propane and oil.

It has an energy efficiency range between 350 to 500 % instead of 95% with high efficient gas furnace.

Why should one install a geothermal system ? 

Low operating costs:   A geothermal installation will cut your heating, cooling & domestic hot water bills by up to 70%. 

Long life expectancy:  The life expectancy of a water furnace geothermal unit is about 23 to 25 years. Geothermal systems have proven to be very reliable and require less maintenance.  The life expectancy of a geothermal closed loop field (which is a lion part) of the investment is even longer (about 30 to 50 years).  

Tax Credit:  A 30% tax credit is being offered for the entire amount of a geothermal system investment (including electric, re-landscaping, etc.) if the system meets the efficiency requirements.

 Enhanced Comfort:  Geothermal systems provide precise distribution of comfortable air all year long, eliminating hot spots and cold spots. During heating season, you’ll experience warm air without the hot blasts associated with ordinary gas furnaces, or the cooler air of an air source heat pump. Additionally, when cooling, geothermal systems can deliver cool, dehumidified air. 

 Quiet operations: Unlike ordinary air conditioners or heat pumps, there is no noisy outdoor unit to disturb your outdoor environment or your neighbors. Water furnace geothermal systems are designed and constructed for “whisper quiet” operation, similar to your refrigerator. 

 Environmentally Friendly: According to the Department of Energy and the EPA, geothermal systems are the most environmentally friendly way to heat and cool your home. Our systems emit no carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or other greenhouse gasses, which are considered to be major contributors to environmental air pollution. They are truly a natural, green heat pump.

 Is there a specific type of home or geographic area that is better suited to geothermal heating and cooling? 

Michigan with its cold winters and its fairly warm summers is well suited for the installation of geothermal systems in general. Regarding the ground conditions, South-East Michigan offers ideal to excellent ground conditions for loop field installations.  Against all rumors, geothermal systems can be installed under very tight space conditions no matter if it is new construction or a “changeout”. This means that you don’t necessary need a huge area for the installation. An area of 15 by 15 feet might already be enough for a vertical loop field installation for your house. 

 When it comes to the capacity you can cover any heating and cooling load if the geothermal system is adequately sized. For the energy distribution in your house the geothermal unit needs to be connected to a duct system or a radiant floor system.

What’s your favorite part about this system?  

This is a very good question that I actually never thought about before. I think there is no single part within the geothermal system that I would call “my favorite”. It is rather the first time a newly installed geothermal unit is being “brought to life” at the startup that still fascinates me.    

If you are not convinced after this, I am not sure what will convince you. The important thing is that you now have a better more encompassing idea of geothermal systems how they are beneficial and not just new and trendy.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please feel free to contact FLAME!

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