FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
GSHP systems are safe and protected. With no exposed equipment outdoors, children or pets cannot injure themselves or damage exterior units. GSHPs have no open flame, flammable fuel or potentially dangerous fuel storage tanks.
GSHPs are very quiet, providing a pleasant environment inside & outside of the home. GSHPs have no noisy fan units to disturb outdoor activities, on or near the patio.
GSHPs are durable and highly reliable. The GSHP contains fewer mechanical components, and all components are either buried in the ground or located inside the home, which protects them from outside conditions. The underground pipe carries up to a 50-year warranty.
Most of a Geothermal loops installation is underground. Inside the house, the heat pump units are about the same size as a traditional heating and cooling unit.
Using what is called a desuperheater, GSHPs turn waste heat to the task of heating hot water. During the summer, when the system is in cooling mode, your hot water is produced free as a byproduct of the thermal process. In winter, with the heating mode, the desuperheater heats a portion of your hot water. Desuperheaters are standard on some units, optional on others. Stand-alone systems that will heat water all year around can be purchased.
Yes. A GSHP can be a combination heating/cooling and hot water heating system. You can change from one mode to another with a simple flick on your indoor thermostat. Using a desuperheater, some GSHPs can save you up to 50% on your water-heating bill by preheating tank water.
Yes. Called dual systems, they can easily be added to existing furnaces for those wishing to have a dual-fuel heating system. Dual-fuel systems use the GSHP system as the main heating source, and a fossil fuel furnace as a supplement in extremely cold weather should additional heat be needed. Will I have to add insulation to my home if I install one of these systems? Ground source heat pump systems will reduce your heating and cooling costs regardless of how well your home is insulated. However, insulating and weatherizing are key factors in gaining the maximum amount of savings from any type of heating and cooling system
Yes, in most cases. Your dealer or installer will be able to determine ductwork requirements and if any minor modifications are needed. Will an underground loop affect my lawn or landscape? No. Research has shown that loops have no adverse effects on grass, trees, or shrubs. Most horizontal installations require trenches about six inches wide. Temporary bare areas can be restored with grass seed or sod. Vertical loops require little space and do not damage lawns significantly. My yard contains many shade trees. Will this affect ground temperature and my ability to use it as an energy source? Not at all. The system is installed deep enough that it utilizes constant ground temperature.
Use a reputable contractor. Don’t be afraid to ask for and use references. Reputable dealers and loop installers will be happy to give names and phone numbers for you to call and confirm their capabilities. Find out where the installer received training, whether he or she is IGSHPA-accredited, and how many systems he or she has installed. Also, check with your utility company representative for names of installers. Environment / Climate:
Currently installed systems are making a huge difference in our environment! The systems are eliminating more than three million tons of carbon dioxide and is equivalent of taking 650,000 automobiles off the road. GSHP systems conserve energy and, because they move heat that already exists rather than burning something to create heat, they reduce the amount of toxic emissions in the atmosphere. They use renewable energy from the sun, and because the system doesn’t rely on outside air, it keeps the air inside of buildings cleaner and free from pollens, outdoor pollutants, mold spores, and other allergens. Do soil freezing conditions create any problems? Not if a system is properly designed and installed. The three to four foot depths allow the sun to melt the frozen soil during the summer. Adequate length per ton capacity prevents objectionable soil movement. Concerning Your Home:
GSHP systems conserve natural resources by providing climate control very efficiently-thus also lowering emissions. GSHPs also minimize ozone layer destruction by using factory-sealed refrigeration systems, which will seldom or never have to be recharged.
It’s not recommended. Thermal fusion of the pipe, drilling and trenching are procedures best handled by licensed professionals. Nonprofessional installations may result in less than optimum performance, which could cancel out anticipated savings How far apart are trenches and vertical boreholes spaced? Trenches are spaced four to five feet apart while boreholes are spaced ten to fifteen feet apart.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the horizontal and vertical installations, respectively ?
Horizontal installations are simpler, requiring lower-cost equipment. However, they require longer lengths of pipe due to seasonal variations in soil temperature and moisture content. Since a horizontal heat exchanger is laid out in trenches, a larger area is usually required than for a vertical system. Where land is limited, vertical installations or a compact Slinky™ horizontal installation can be ideal. If regional soil conditions include extensive hard rock, a vertical installation may be the only available choice. Vertical installations tend to be more expensive due to the increased cost of drilling versus trenching, but since the heat exchanger is buried deeper than with a horizontal system, vertical systems are usually more efficient and can get by with less total pipe. Your GSHP contractor will be able to help you decide which configuration best meets your specific needs.
Most units are easy to install, especially when they are replacing another forced-air system. This is known as a retrofit. GSHPs can be installed in areas unsuitable for fossil fuel furnaces because there is no combustion and thus no need to vent exhaust fumes. Ductwork must be installed in homes without an existing air distribution system. Your dealer or installer can assess the cost of installing ductwork.
You can expect an installation charge for any electrical work, ductwork, water hookup, and other provisions or adaptations to your home that are required. Your installer can estimate these costs in advance.
The initial investment for a GSHP system is greater than that of a conventional system. However, when you consider the operating costs of a geothermal heating, cooling, and water heating system, energy savings quickly offset the initial difference in purchase price.
GSHPs save money, both in operating costs and maintenance costs. Investments can be recouped in as little as three years. There is a positive cash flow, since the energy savings usually exceeds payment on the system.
Some utilities offer rebates or incentives to their customers who purchase GSHPs. Installation:
The reduced peak load requirements would allow utilities to serve more customers and to lower fixed costs per customer, thus offsetting some increased variable costs. This would result in less cost per kilowatt, since fixed investment for new capacity is high.
GSHP systems create a huge retrofit market not subject to wild fluctuations in housing construction. There is also ample opportunity for stable growth benefiting the dealer and his employees. In addition, these systems are relatively maintenancefree, requiring only regular filter changes. This means fewer maintenance and support calls. There is no outside equipment, so wear and tear is less. Savings / Costs:
Yes! Many GSHP systems are being installed using a multitude of systems hooked up to an array of buried vertical or horizontal loops. This simplifies zone control and internal load balancing.
Nearly all GSHP system manufacturers offer a warranty for major components that is equivalent to the warranties for conventional heating and cooling systems. Manufacturers of plastic pipe used for ground loops warrant their products for 50 years.
The buried pipe, or ground loop, is the most recent technical advancement in heat pump technology. Recently, new heat pump designs and improved buried pipe materials have been combined to make GSHP systems the most efficient heating and cooling systems available.
A GSHP system moves warm air (90-105(F) throughout your home or business via standard ductwork. An even comfort level is created because the warm air is moved in slightly higher volumes and saturates the building with warmth more evenly. This helps even out hot or colds spots and eliminates the cold air blasts common with fossil fuel furnaces.
Geothermal Heat Pump is one of the most efficient residential heating and cooling systems available today, with heating efficiencies 50 to 70% higher than other heating systems and cooling efficiencies 20 to 40% higher than available air conditioners. That directly translates into savings for you on your utility bills. Can one system provide both space heating and cooling for my home? And