Loudon, Tennessee, experiences all four seasons in full force. That means local homeowners rely on their HVAC systems to keep their homes comfortable during everything from 90-degree summer days to winter temperatures well below freezing. If your system has been struggling to keep up with seasonal heating and cooling demands, now may be the perfect time to consider upgrading to a geothermal heat pump. To help you decide whether a geothermal heat pump is right for you, here are five things you should know about this energy-efficient HVAC option:

They Use a Different Heat Source Than Regular Heat Pumps

A traditional heat pump pulls and deposits warmth from and into the outdoor air. Transferring heat from the inside to the outside — and vice versa — allows it to heat your home during the cold months and cool it during the warm ones.

A geothermal heat pump follows a similar principle. But instead of the air, it transfers heat to and from the ground. The ground temperature is nearly constant year-round, ranging from 50 to 60 degrees. That’s warmer than Tennessee’s winter air and cooler than its summer air.

They Offer Significant Energy Savings

No matter how efficient a normal heat pump might be, geothermal heat pumps use significantly less energy. That’s because they aren’t dependent on outside temperatures, which can fluctuate significantly from day to day.

When temperatures dip below freezing, a traditional heat pump must rely on a backup source of heat to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. As temperatures drop, so does its efficiency. Geothermal heat pumps have a steady source of heat, no matter how frigid the weather.

They Qualify for Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credits

One downside of a geothermal system is the initial cost. Fortunately, due to the energy-saving benefits of geothermal systems, the federal government is currently offering a tax credit for units installed from January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2021.

Homeowners can claim a credit worth 22 to 30 percent of the cost of their geothermal system. The exact percentage depends on the year you install it. Although geothermal systems cost more to install, homeowners can expect to recoup those additional costs within five to 10 years through energy savings.

They Don’t Always Require a Lot of Space

Every geothermal system has three parts, including the:

  • Heat pump
  • Buried loop that transfers heat to and from the ground
  • Ductwork used to blow the conditioned air throughout your home

The heat pump will sit indoors, but it won’t take up much space. The underground loop, meanwhile, will be buried in your yard. Homeowners can choose from a vertical or horizontal loop system, based on the space you have available.

If your yard is large enough, a horizontal setup is easier and less expensive to install. Horizontal pipes are usually buried about 4 to 6 feet below the surface and require several hundred feet of space. For a vertical setup, two holes — about 4 inches wide and 100 to 400 feet deep — must be drilled approximately 20 feet apart. The exact setup will depend on the space available on your property and the ground conditions.

They Last a Long Time With Minimal Maintenance

Geothermal systems have an estimated lifespan of 25 years for their inside components and 50-plus years for the ground loop. That means your indoor components will still function well for 15 to 20 years after you’ve recouped your investment. The underground loop should last at least 25 years beyond that.

To make the deal even sweeter, geothermal systems typically require very little in the way of maintenance and repairs. You’ll still want to schedule routine maintenance visits, though. Remember to also keep up with preventative maintenance tasks like changing the air filter regularly.

If you’re interested in a geothermal heat pump, call Stanley Best Heating & Air, Inc., at 865-982-4544. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have or get right down to selecting and installing the right system for your home.

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