Homeowners in Colorado mountain communities routinely ask us if geothermal energy could be a cost effective way to heat and cool their home. Geothermal offers significant advantages over conventional electric, gas and oil based heating systems, as well as a few disadvantages.
Geothermal is not new, it operates on the principle of heat exchange and the fact that the temperature underground is a more or less a consistent 55 degrees. To tap this energy potential, pipes are installed underground to circulate water underground. Water is circulated to an energy pump inside the home that takes advantage of the temperature difference to extract the energy from the water.
During the warmer summer months, cooling with 55F water is more efficient than utilizing a conventional condenser powered by electricity. During the cold winter months, generating heat from 55F water is more efficient than heating 15F air with fossil fuels. Sounds simple enough, right? So what's the catch?
The Disadvantages of Geothermal Systems
The main disadvantage of home geothermal systems is the initial installation cost. Depending on the conditions for drilling, the average residential geothermal energy system can cost between $10,000-$25,000. It's a significant investment that can take many years to pay off.
Another disadvantage to geothermal systems is that the geothermal pump that circulates the water requires a conventional power source, although the power consumption is relatively low.
Advantages of Geothermal Systems
The primary advantage of residential geothermal systems is that they offer homeowners a truly renewable, green energy source that will never run out and is virtually cost free. Geothermal is among the most environmentally friendly ways to heat and cool your home, with a very small carbon footprint.
Geothermal energy is also reliable. Because the temperature of the ground will always be consistent, energy costs and output will be reliable from the minute the system goes online and for many years down the road. Compared this to the unpredictable nature of wind and solar energy and even fossil fuels that can fluctuate in cost based on market conditions, geothermal is a safe bet for home energy savings.
Interested in learning if geothermal is right for heating and cooling your Colorado mountain home? Call Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating, we can help answer all your questions.