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Geothermal Myths Debunked

Geothermal energy is derived from the Earth’s core. This energy is the same source that creates geysers and hot springs. Geothermal systems harness this energy to create heating and cooling for businesses and homes. (More information on Geothermal Systems)

Due to the unique phenomena surrounding the production of geothermal energy, there are often misconceptions related to geothermal systems that prevent consumers from considering installation. Some common geothermal myths the experts at HB McClure wanted to address are:

Myth #1: Geothermal Systems are too expensive to install and operate

Geothermal systems are not only an environmentally-friendly HVAC option but they can also significantly reduce household utility payments. For example, our installations of ClimateMaster geothermal systems and heat pumps can improve energy efficiency by 400% in comparison to high-efficiency natural gas furnace systems, resulting in HVAC savings up to 80%.

Upfront, geothermal systems cost more to install than some air-to-air systems but they are priced competitively with high-end heat pumps. Installation costs have dropped dramatically over the past 15 years. Payback on many systems can be as fast as 4 years. The price of geothermal installation varies depending on many factors such as house age, system size, land composition, and more.

Green homes tend to sell for a higher resale value, so adding geothermal HVAC to your home can be cost-effective in more ways than one. Geothermal systems have the additional option of domestic water heating assistance to even further provide additional energy savings.

If you already have a geothermal system installed, 2016 may be the last year to claim your 30% tax credit (under current government standards).

One client’s annual heating/cooling costs amounted to a minimal .90 cents per square foot. Download Commercial Geothermal Installation Case Study

See how much you could save by switching to Geothermal with Climate Master’s Geothermal Cost Savings Calculator

Myth #2: Geothermal Systems can only be installed during new construction

While it is common for people to associate geothermal HVAC exclusively with new construction, it is equally applicable for current homes through retrofitting. When traditional heating/cooling systems become outdated and inefficient, HB technicians have the ability to replace them with high-efficiency geothermal systems. All buildings and infrastructures are unique and therefore have to be assessed accordingly in order to make sure system is the right fit for your home or business. The experts at HB McClure can recommend the best installation method and retrofit the necessary equipment.

Retrofit investments can be recouped in as little to 2-10 years according to the EPA.

Myth #3: Geothermal is strictly for large properties/areas with “the right” composition.

Geothermal HVAC is a great option for large-scale buildings or commercial installations, but many consumers are unaware that residential or small-scale geothermal installations are just as serviceable. HB McClure has installed thousands of geothermal systems since 1974 in all types of locations such as single-family homes, townhomes, office buildings, schools and even hotels.

While ground surface or composition does need to be considered, soil that contains rock or smaller land-size are still capable of producing efficient heat. The heat transfer may be less effective in these areas, but with proper assessment and installation they will work just as well. Factors such as piping and looping would require different set-ups to fit your specific land and home requirements.

Myth #4: Geothermal Systems don’t work in extreme cold

Geothermal heat pumps utilize the constant temperature of the earth to power heating, cooling, and hot water systems and therefore are not effected by the outside air temperatures or limited to moderate climates. While there are some heat pumps, such as air-to-air that tend to perform poorly in below freezing temperatures, this is not the case for ground sources.

That being said, if a geothermal heat pump is not sized properly or your ducts happen to be problematic, this may cause heating to be less efficient and you would require a back-up heating source. Typically, the problem isn’t necessarily the geothermal system, but something inconspicuous that is affecting your overall home comfort. If you think your geothermal unit may be too small or your ductwork may be the root of the problem, contact HB McClure for a Home Comfort Assessment.

Myth #5: Geothermal Systems are too complex

Some of our customers have been led to believe that geothermal HVAC is still a new technology and that there is insufficient evidence displaying the overall benefits compared to traditional heating and cooling methods. Similar to cell phones, computers, and other forms of technology, geothermal processes have advanced over the years. Parts last longer, prices have become more competitive, systems are quiet, and upkeep is minimal. There is little to no maintenance needed for a geothermal system from the consumer standpoint, your HVAC contractor should take care of everything.

Regional experts – over a million square feet of geothermal occupied space installed by HB McClure.

HB McClure has been installing geothermal both residentially and commercially since the mid-1970s when geothermal heating was first introduced to the region. HB McClure is the most experienced geothermal contractor Central Pennsylvania, so you can trust that your system will be properly installed and maintained. For over 40 years, our team has installed thousands of geothermal systems in area homes, schools, and office buildings with extremely high satisfaction rates. Is it time for your home to make the switch to geothermal? Schedule an appointment to get started.

Still not quite sure if geothermal is the right HVAC system for you? Check out our Geothermal System FAQs