Frequently Asked Questions
Does geoexchange cost more?
Not necessarily. It depends on how you measure cost. While it typically costs more than a conventional system because of the ground loop piping, geoexchange typically has the lowest life-cycle cost of any heating and cooling system. Moreover, installation costs have declined substantially in recent years, and they're expected to continue to fall, as more builders and contractors offer geoexchange systems, and as the industry develops innovative ways to install the systems faster and more efficiently. Altogether geoexchange systems are a sound investment. The amount they save the homeowner every month in energy costs is more than enough to offset their higher installation cost.
What are some of the advantages?
Here are a few of the more compelling benefits:
- Comfort - ask any homeowner with a geo system and one of the first things they mention is how comfortable their home is. There are a couple of reasons for this - First, there is no combustion with a heat pump, i.e. you are not burning fuel. Therefore, since you are not 'cooking' the air which removes moisture, a geo home retains higher humidity levels leading to greater comfort (especially in winter). Secondly, geo systems tend to provide more even heat by using a steadier, but lower volume of air distribution. You won't miss those hot blasts of air that go on and off with conventional furnaces.
- Safety - with no combustion, there is no danger of CO2 poisoning or explosions due to fossil fuel leaks.
- Maintenance - there is very little maintenance with a geo system so you have more time for other things
- Noise - geo systems are generally very quiet. Ever notice how noisy air conditioners are in the summer time? Not so with a geo system, as it is uses the same equipment for air conditioning as for heating - it's the same unit. Think of your refrigerator - which is a heat pump - it's not a very noisy machine.
- Monthly bills - you will pay less to heat and cool your home from day one. Geo systems use electricity to move fluids and heat (but not to create the heat) so your electric bill may be higher (unless you use electric resistance). But you will no longer need gas/oil for heating and your air conditioning is much more efficient -overall you will use less energy and your total utility bill will be lower.
Is geoexchange just for homes?
No. Use for commercial, industrial, military, and academic buildings continues to grow with great success. Schools are a particularly attractive place for geoexchange and are saving an estimated $25,000,000 in energy costs across the country and reducing CO2 emissions by a half-billion pounds annually.
Are there state or federal incentives for geothermal systems?
Yes. Federal incentives are available in the form of tax credits. They are available for both residential and commercial systems. The residential tax credit is for 30% of the cost of a system, with no maximum. The commercial tax credit is for 10% of the cost of a system, with no maximum. For information on additional Colorado incentives, click here.
How do I find the right geothermal contractor for my building/project?
Please click on our Directory tab to locate qualified CoGEHPA member professionals in your area.
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