Geothermal FAQ

What Should I consider when exploring a geothermal system?

In most circumstances the initial investment for a geothermal heat pump is greater than a conventional system, but over time the energy savings quickly offsets the initial difference in purchase price. To get an accurate comparison, you would need to consider the following:

  • Payback - how long it takes to recover the difference in installation costs between the two systems using comparative energy savings. This usually runs 5-7 years, but will depend on the scope of work.
  • Energy efficiency and ratings of the existing system vs. a geothermal heat pump, this can be affected by how well your home is insulated
  • Energy costs and availability - fossil fuel markets can see price fluctuations which should be taken into account
  • Total operating savings from heating, cooling, and domestic hot water (which is typically lower with geothermal heat pumps)

Which Loop System Is Best, Open-Loop Or Closed-Loop?

The best configuration for your home will depend on whether you have adequate groundwater supply and potential means of disposal. If the groundwater and property are suitable than an open-loop selection can be an appropriate option. Open loop systems do require an additional pump to supply water from the source and water conditions should be considered.   Because of limiting property conditions, closed-loop systems are more common.

Once installed, will an underground loop adversely affect my lawn and surrounding landscape?

Research has shown that loops have no adverse effect on the property above. Most horizontal installations require trenches 3 feet wide. Temporary bare areas and problematic regions can be reinstated with grass seed or sod.  In some instances, horizontal trenching provides an opportunity to remove and repair low lying regions and landscape with poor drainage. Vertical loops require little linear space though there will be disturbance from access of the drilling rig.  Once installed, the loops with not harm the surrounding property though post installation landscaping will be required to restore the property

How Long Do Geothermal Heat Pumps Last?

Geothermal heat pumps are durable and have fewer mechanical components than standard fossil fuel systems.  All components are underground or indoors and will be sheltered from the weather and outdoor elements.  The lifespan of a geothermal heat pump unit it typically twice that of a force air system.  Maintenance is recommended to ensure the heat pump is operating by manufacturer specifications.
The underground piping composed primarily of polyethylene, is guaranteed to last up to 50 year.  Once installed this pipe is virtually worry-free.

How Much Indoor Space Does A Geothermal Heat Pump Occupy?

Inside the home, the geothermal heat pump is similar in size to a traditional heating and cooling unit and will most likely occupy the same location as the existing conditioning unit.  Geothermal heat pumps are most effective as forced air systems.  Plans for ductwork should be considered in the absence of a forced air system.

Will I Need A Secondary Heat Source During Extreme Cold Weather?

Ground source heat pumps require a supplemental heating if configured as the primary heating source for the home.  The heat pump can provide all required heat for the home with the addition of electric heat.  Unique Indoor Comfort will simulate what percentage of heat will be provided by the heat pump in contrast to a secondary means and how this would affect operating costs.

Can A Geothermal Heat Pump Also Provide Hot Water For My Home?

Yes.  If configured with a Hot Water Generator (HWG) for on demand hot wateror desuperheaters to supplement the production of domestic hot water, geothermal units can provide domestic hot water for the home.  (See: hot geothermal units operate)

How Noisy Is The Heat Pump Unit?

The geothermal unit is engineered to reduce noise with an Insulated compressor compartment and interior cabinet.   The decibel ratings for noise are equivalent to standard conventional systems.

Will I Have To Add Insulation To My Home If I Install A Geothermal Heat Pump?

Geothermal heat pumps will reduce your heating and cooling costs regardless of how well your home is insulated, however to maximize savings, insulating and weatherization are key factors for any type of heating and cooling system.

Is A Geothermal Heat Pump Able To Heat My Radiant System?

Yes, there are units made specifically for in-floor radiant applications.  For weather climates of the northeast geothermal heat pumps are not able to produce water temperatures high enough to heat as a baseboard or radiator system.