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Geothermal Heating and Cooling 101

Science & Tech  (tags: conservation, CO2emissions, Sustainabililty, healthconditions, globalwarming, climate-change, economy, housing, eco-friendly, greenliving, greenproducts, globalwarming, technology )

- 3012 days ago -
Impressive technology, which has been around since the '40's. It is another option in the sustainable living armamentarium.


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Helen Avila (166)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 6:14 am
It's about time this was discussed.. Houses in Wenatchee Washington install this on a routine basis and it is remarkable. However I doubt Big Business can make enough money if everyone uses it. Once they figure out how to gouge the little guy it will be available. Plus, it won't hurt the environment or hurt anyone so the GOP won't like it either.

Kit B (276)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 6:18 am

Thanks Marco. We all need to learn more about this. I do wonder about those of us on the "fracking" line and how this might affect the use of geothermal. I have learned that we can each do our own solar panels, and save money in that conversion. There is so much we can do, no need to just wait for the government to do it for us.

Marco C (31)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 7:06 am
The good news is that this is no more expensive than conventional technology in new construction. Benefits which are not often mentioned are the silence that comes from the unit is no louder than your refrigerator, or the increased safety for your family because there is no combustion, no flames, no fumes and no fuel storage. Consider also that there are no mechancial parts to receive regular maintainence and for some it can be a cost savings. There is another surprise... the same unit can heat and cool and in some cases heat your water too.

Good news is that we have some options we can explore without direct government support to act on several fronts at the same time. We can leave them behind, let them support foreign economies while undermining our economy. Not for me and perhaps not for you either.

Marco C (31)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 7:31 am

This technology can work independantly of "fracking" activity when using a "closed loop" system, the one will not interfere with the other.

Yes, we can also go with solar photovoltaic power, which has as its largest impediment, the high initial cost, but with it's high reliability and dependability, manufacturers can guarantee production at initial levels for 20 years before their output will begin to lessen. It is a great option for those that can afford the upfront costs.

The solar hot water is the least expensive entry level cost. New technology allows hot water production in the arctic. Here the good news is that a "hot water" system can be configured to supplement your heating system reducing your winter heating costs.

Waiting for a miracle to happen may not be the best strategy, other options exist even if they haven't reached conventional status yet.

Helen Avila (166)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 11:04 am
Thats right since it does not need to go deep and can be installed when they are building a home it does not go deep, about 10 or 12 feet deep.. I wanted it when we built our house, but no one would do it here in Idaho, they don't believe in green energy here...

Nancy M (147)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 11:11 am
Thanks for the great article Marco. I have a friend who heats his house this way. As for me, I think about solar panels. By backyard faces south.

Alice C (1797)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 11:26 am
I installed ground cooling pipes when I built my home and hope to hook it up to the radiant heating in the floor so it can also provide summer cooling as well. Thanks for this post Marco !

Richard Smith (81)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 11:41 am
Marco, great information,
should be taught in classrooms in high schools so that its "standard" knowledge.
Any system i've seen has an UP side and a DOWN side...
any discussion here from users on its down side? besides that some land areas are not suitable?
what about mold...any problems with this?

Eva O (60)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 12:02 pm
Great information! Thank you very much for sharing! :)

Past Member (0)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 12:10 pm
The price has dropped substantially making them more affordable. When the house is being built it makes sense to put them in, Isn't this close to air-source heat pumps? Remember a ground-source heat pump may not be able to completely meet a home's heating needs on the coldest days of the year. Though in some parts of the country it would be fine..

Susan L (150)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 12:13 pm
Sounds like a good alternative to conventional. Thanks for the article, Marco, happy to read your first submissions - and for forwarding Kit.

Susan S (187)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 12:22 pm
We have a lot of geothermal heating in our community and are considering moving into a housing community which is totally heated by geothermal means. Thanks for the informative post.

Clifton Jackson (124)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 12:34 pm
I need a House like this! Just think of how much Money I could Save!?

Pamela K (13)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 1:12 pm
Thanks--good information. I've been thinking about replacing my aging system (currently propane heat with conventional central AC) with a geothermal system. I know of people around my area (north central KY) who have made the conversion and are really happy with it. I will need to replace my system with something soon anyway and might as well go with what will save energy and money in the future!

Mary Danforrh (0)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 1:14 pm
For the price we have paid for three air conditioner units and the high monthly bill, we could have had this put in both houses and my daughters house. It may sound like a lot, but think about the savings down the road.

Roger G (148)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 1:31 pm
yep that's the way to go !

Brad B (0)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 2:28 pm
I have been in the heating and air industry for over 40 years and I'm very familiar with this technology. I agree that it's one of the most efficient systems available today, but I generally disagree about initial costs. While the price of equipment itself compares well with conventional equipment, the initial cost of the earth-coupled heat exchanger (or ground loop) can make initial costs prohibitive. Efficiency rebates are available in many areas and should be researched. I've experience good results, also with a "lake loop" if a lake or large pond is part of the nearby geography. If there is constant water usage (like irrigation), an open loop can be investigated. The system can also supplement water heating during the cooling season. Be sure to deal with a contractor who holds the IGSHPA certification.

Linda M (40)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 2:28 pm
this is what we have in our all-electric house built in the seventies. my one utility bill (electric; we have a deep well for water) runs around 200.00 a month at the most. our house is 2200 sq. ft.

Yvonne White (229)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 3:21 pm
Illinois gives credits for geothermal & some other technology, but seriously, the initial cost to still too high if you are building something Less than a half-million dollar house! We looked into it & solar cells - but we just couldn't afford the cost up front - so we'll always be paying too much for our electricity.

. (0)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 3:49 pm
noted, thanks

Marco C (31)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 4:24 pm
Richard, Brad's comment addresses one of the down sides. I was not specific when it came to the costs of the system. If one compares it to say a oil furnace you would gasp at the price, however when you figure in what you won't need, for example a chiminey with a flue, which can cost upwards of $20K, you can feel a little better about this technology.

There are several systems out there competing for business, but overall they all promise about a 3/5ths savings over fossil fuel systems and the cost of source of your heating and cooling is limitless and costs nothing. Yipee!!

Fred Krohn (34)
Sunday March 20, 2011, 5:04 pm
Seems to work just fine in Iceland. People used to build houses 'half buried' in hillsides to make them more weathertight, and heat pumps sourced from a deep water well vice local air are more efficient. This idea is as old as Reykjavik yet has become modernised via upgraded technology...

Eileen Novak (444)
Monday March 21, 2011, 5:14 am
Wealth of information here. Outstanding web site combining two of my favorites; Earth and Technology. Can't wait to get their newsletters. Appreciate you sharing your enlightenment, Marco.

Bon L (0)
Monday March 21, 2011, 6:09 am
Thanks for the info.


Gvapo T (22)
Monday March 21, 2011, 10:03 am
thanks :)
this can be useful as I will soon buy a house and I am personally interested in implementing something of this :)

patricia lasek (317)
Monday March 21, 2011, 3:46 pm
Thanks for some very uplifting stories Marco. Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it's powered by wind, solar or geothermal!
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