The term may sound space age, but the three-part HVAC system works on easy-to-understand concepts. Best of all, homeowners in Massachusetts are eligible for a variety of tax incentives and rebates to install new ground-source heat pumps (GSHPs) in their homes.
How Geothermal Heating & Cooling Works
Most heating systems in Massachusetts run on oil or natural gas, and many air conditioning systems run on electricity. Geothermal heating systems do not burn fossil fuel, but instead, transfer stored heat from the earth into a dwelling, according to National Geographic. Electricity is typically only used to power the unit’s fan, compressor, and pump.
GSHPs are considered the most efficient type of heat pump, according to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). Typically, GSHPs use 1 unit of electricity to move up to 5 units of heating or cooling into a building, according to National Geographic.
The unit of heating or cooling comes from an underground pipe system on the property where the ground temperature is constant. For example, let’s say the year-round underground temperature of a particular residential property in Massachusetts averages 53 degrees at a certain depth.
To heat a home with geothermal energy, fluid in the system circulates through the pipe loop to absorb heat from the ground. Once inside, a compressor unit raises the temperature of the heat to the thermostat setting and distributes it through ducts in the building.
To cool a home with geothermal energy, the same geothermal HVAC system draws heat from the building and moves it through the pipe loop where it’s cooled.
How Geothermal Saves
Homeowners can save up to 70% on heating costs and up to 50% on cooling costs by using geothermal heat pumps instead of other conventional HVAC systems, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
When comparing geothermal HVAC systems to solar panels and wind power the numbers aren’t even close, according to National Geographic. For example, if solar panels and wind power add $1 of kilowatt-hours to the power grid, geothermal HVAC systems remove $4!
Efficiencies between 300% and 600% on cold winter nights are not uncommon for geothermal HVAC systems, according to the Energy Informative nonprofit.
Plus, Massachusetts home owners can save money on upfront costs through state and federal tax incentives and rebates, as well as access low- or 0%-interest loans. Business owners also have a variety of tax incentives for using geothermal HVAC. In fact, the 30% federal tax credit for geothermal heat pumps is driving twice as much demand year over year, according to MassCEC.
Learn all about money-saving ways to use geothermal HVAC at MassCEC (https://www.masscec.com/learn-about-ground-source-heat-pumps)
Warranties on the underground piping can be as long as 50 years, and heat pump warranties are typically 25 years, says the Energy Informative. The nonprofit also reports geothermal HVAC systems are “extremely reliable and seldom need repairs.”
The bottom line: Payback on initial installation costs usually takes between 5 to 7 years, the Energy Informative has found.
Read this article on how to Avoid The “HVAC Companies Near Me” Trap, and find your nearby HVAC contractor who specializes in geothermal heating & cooling.
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