If you are considering installing geothermal in your home (either new or exisiting) you may wish to read this article that can be found on :
March 30, 2011
Increasing numbers of homeowners are installing geothermal heat pumps, which take advantage of the constant temperature underground to provide more efficient heating and cooling. Initial costs are high, but a 30 percent federal tax credit can make the systems more affordable.
Suzi and James Bryant started thinking about going geothermal after their first winter in their house in Sterling, Va. It came with a rumbly 50-year-old oil furnace in the basement.
Last winter’s oil bill was $2,000 and they didn’t want a repeat of that. And they weren’t looking forward to another summer with their aging air conditioner, which last year couldn’t keep the house cooler than 80 degrees.
The Bryants had heard that geothermal systems can heat and cool homes with much less energy because they use the constant mild temperature underground. They did a lot of research, crunched the numbers and decided to take the plunge.
“We looked into it, and our payoff was three to seven years, so it kind of just made sense,” says Suzi Bryant, an electrical engineer who is staying home to raise their three young children.
The Bryants are among a growing group of homeowners replacing conventional furnaces and air conditioners with geothermal heat pumps. Geothermal systems started getting more popular several years ago — but mostly for new construction. High initial costs for the systems could be wrapped into mortgages.
Significant Tax Credits
Two years ago, the federal government started offering 30 percent tax credits to entice people to install the systems. Some local and state governments offer tax breaks, too. The tax breaks are designed to spur early adoption of energy-saving technologies to cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce dependence on foreign oil and create clean-energy jobs.
Mike Barlow, who has been installing geothermal systems for 20 years, says the tax credits are helping broaden his clientele.
“It used to be primarily the bigger homes. Now, it’s gotten down to where it’s townhomes, small homes,” he says. “We’ve done 1,000-square-foot homes to 40,000-to 50,000-square foot homes. Anybody can really afford it.”
Tapping The Earth’s Constant Temperatures
Barlow’s crew drills holes 35 stories deep through the clay and rock in an upscale suburb of Baltimore, Md. They use a powerful rig.
When the drilling is done, Barlow’s team pushes hundreds of feet of black piping into the hole to create what’s called a loop. A mixture of water and anti-freeze will circulate through four such loops and to a heat pump inside the house.
“We circulate water down one side of the loop and back up the other side. And that’s where we get our heat exchange,” Barlow says.
The system will take advantage of the fact that the temperature underground stays constant year round. In this part of Maryland, it’s about 56.5 degrees.
…. (Please go to the NPR website to finish reading the benefits of geothermal!)