There are a few lucky souls who own land above a geothermal hot spot. Homes built on these locations can tap into that warmth to gain nearly unlimited, nearly free electricity. Even if you are not in that position, you can still make use of this resource. Geothermal HVAC systems are extremely efficient, and cost very little to run once installation is completed.
Anyone With a Backyard Can Install a Closed Loop System
The most common system used in residential installations is a closed loop system. The contractor will dig trenches about six feet deep in your backyard and install loops of pip in them. Once the pipes are buried, your geothermal heat pump can run either water or antifreeze through the lines to get a source liquid that maintains a consistent temperature. Because heat pumps are more efficient the smaller the range of temperatures they have to work with, this allows the system to be many, many times more efficient than a traditional heat pump.
Space is an important consideration for this type of system. It needs to be large enough to bury a loop of sufficient size. If the loop isn't big enough, than the ground will slowly warm up over the course of several years, slowly destroying the efficiency of your system. The best way to avoid this is to work with an experienced contractor, and be up front about your lifestyle habits. The larger your home and the more energy you tend to use, the bigger the loop will need to be in order to make up for it.
If You Have a Pond on Your Property, You Can Make Good Use of It
Most people don't have lakeside homes, but if you have invested in this type of property, a geothermal heat pump might just be the way to recoup some of the cost of the land purchase. As long as the pond is deep enough, you won't have to dig trenches in order to lay the pipes. Instead, the pipes can lay along the bottom of the lake. Your contractor will have to determine if the body of water is suitable, but if it is, it will be pretty tough to pass up this opportunity. You might even be able to skip the pipe loops completely if the water is clean enough. Open systems simply draw in water from the ground directly and release it back once it has run through the heat pump. Less pipe to install and maintain means that this type of system costs little more than a traditional heat pump, and you still get all the energy benefits.
Even Small Spaces Can Work With Geothermal
Even if you have a smaller yard that won't support a traditional horizontal system, you don't have to give up on getting a geothermal heat pump. In commercial installations, the pipes are often sent into the ground vertically in order to get enough cooling space in a tight space. This is a more expensive option, but if your yard is on the smaller side, it might be the only way you can get one of the these systems. Because of the increased cost, it is vitally important to work with your HVAC tech and general contractor before making the final decision. You need to be sure that the energy savings really will be worth the increased cost during construction.
Geothermal is a great way for anyone with a yard to add green energy to their home. Unlike panels, which are visible and many find ugly, once your system is installed it is completely invisible on the outside. While it isn't the right choice for everyone, it is an option you should at least consider. Contact a local professional, such as Actionaire Inc.