“I couldn't be happier with my new heat pump. The rebates were the deciding factor for me, and my energy savings are even better than expected. ”
-Roberta M., HeatSmart Warwick participant
What Is It And How Does It Work?
Ground source (or geothermal) heat pumps use the ground as a source of energy/heat, while air source heat pumps use the outdoor air.
Geothermal heat pumps accomplish this by running a water mixture through piping (“ground loop”) buried in the ground and using an indoor heat pump unit to extract heat from this mixture. The indoor heat pump unit will then circulate this heat through your building like a traditional heating system. In the summer, this process is reversed and heat from your home is transferred into the ground.
As clean heating and cooling technologies, heat pumps can help you save on your energy bill and improve the comfort of your home, all while reducing your greenhouse gas emissions.
What Are The Benefits?
Highest Energy Savings Potential
Geothermal heat pumps are the most efficient heating and cooling system available--even more efficient than air source heat pumps. If you heat with oil, propane, or electric resistance heat, you could save hundreds to thousands of dollars a year on your heating bill by installing a geothermal heat pump.
HeatSmart geothermal installers offer monitoring systems enabling them to receive alerts, proactively diagnose errors, and perform maintenance remotely; only needing to come out to your home when hands-on maintenance is required.
Improved Comfort, Safety & Health
Heat pumps filter and dehumidify air, which can improve the air quality and comfort of your home. In particular, the filtration provided by heat pump systems can significantly reduce allergens in your home, benefiting sensitive individuals. Eliminating or reducing the combustion of fossil fuels in your home improves home safety as well
Lower Your Carbon Footprint
Geothermal heat pumps will greatly reduce your carbon footprint and dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Using solar PV or other renewable electricity sources can further offset emissions from the electricity powering your heat pump. If you’re looking for the most environmentally-friendly heating and cooling system, look no further.
A Clean, Whole-Home Solution
Geothermal can offer a clean whole-home heating and cooling solution without requiring backup heating. Eliminate fossil fuel combustion and associated risks from your home entirely. Geothermal can also heat 40-50% of your home’s hot water at no additional operating cost with an add-on.
No Exposed Outdoor Components or Defrost Cycles
No need to worry about outdoor aesthetics since all components of a geothermal system will be buried underground are not exposed to the elements and thus do not have defrost cycles like ASHP systems do
What will the equipment look like in my home?
Geothermal Heat Pump Questions
Which HeatSmart installers offer geothermal systems?
Two partner installers offer comprehensive geothermal services for HeatSmart, including site visits, design and installation. You may want a quote from both:
Is a geothermal heat pump (GSHP) right for me?
GSHP retrofits can work in many homes. If you answer “Yes” to any of the questions below, a geothermal system may be a good fit for you:
Do you heat with oil, propane or electric resistance?
Do you want whole-home central air conditioning and heating in one system?
Are you concerned about aesthetic chnages to your building?
Do you want the most efficient, environmentally-friendly system available?
Is your boiler/furnace, central AC system, or existing heat pump system 15+ years old?
Why are geothermal heat pumps considered “clean heating and cooling” technologies?
Can geothermal heat pumps provide hot water?
Whenever the geothermal compressor is operating, there is waste heat produced. That waste heat can be used to produce domestic hot water. Therefore, geothermal systems can be used to provide supplemental heat to your hot water.
How do the annual maintenance costs of geothermal heat pumps compare to other heating systems?
Geothermal systems do not have higher maintenance requirements than traditional heating and cooling systems, though annual maintenance is recommended to ensure that it functions well over the course of its lifetime. The ground loop is designed to last for 50 years or more, and no other components are exposed to the elements.
How long do geothermal heat pumps last?
The ground loop piping is designed to last for up to 50+ years. The indoor heat pump unit has a life expectancy of around 20 years, similar to conventional heating and cooling systems. Some pumps, controllers, or other components may require replacement sooner than the indoor unit.
What if I don’t have a lot of yard space?
You only need a lot of space for a horizontal ground loop installation. A vertical closed-loop system will require only a few small boreholes and can take up as little space as two parking spots.
How well do geothermal heat pumps work in the middle of winter?
Very well, as the earth maintains a more consistent temperature throughout the winter than the air. As a result, geothermal heat pumps will perform better than air source heat pumps during the coldest parts of winter. In addition, GSHP systems are not exposed to atmospheric conditions and thus do not need to perform more wasteful defrost cycles as with ASHP systems.
How far away from the home can the ground source collection system be located?
The typical limit is 100 feet. It must be at least 25 ft from a septic system and 50 ft from a domestic water well.