Geothermal Systems and Installation
Helping Homeowners Go Green Since 1974
When deciding to save money and help the environment, you want a company that has expertise in “going green”. That’s where HB McClure comes in. We’re Central Pennsylvania’s most experienced geothermal contractor. Installing our first geothermal system in 1974, we’ve been providing this great “green” option ever since. Thousands of homes and businesses have benefited from our decades of experience and this quality energy-saving choice.
Our geothermal installations span the spectrum: single-family homes, townhomes, office buildings, schools and even hotels. And many of our installations are retrofit into existing buildings.
HB McClure partners with the region’s best earth-loop installers, so you’re sure to have a quality system inside and out. Plus, the payback time on a geothermal system is as low as four years, so it’s a sound investment that can reduce your heating and cooling costs and add to your home’s value. Add an optional de-superheater accessory to reduce your domestic water heating costs.
See what our customers have to say about their HB McClure-installed geothermal systems. And in case you’re interested in more “green solutions”, we’re also certified home comfort assessment professionals.
HB McClure is a preferred dealer for ClimateMaster Geothermal Heat Pumps.
Typical Geothermal Installations Include:
For closed-loop systems we provide and install socket-fused geothermal piping from inside the foundation to the system flow-center.
- Loop piping inside foundation will be socket-fused and insulated
- Electronic Thermostat
- Related power and control wiring
- Condensate plumbing
Fabricate and install transitions to connect to existing distribution system. (Deficiencies in present duct system may not necessarily be corrected with new equipment.)
- Or, design, fabricate, and install complete air delivery system.
- Start-up and test system operation
- Local permit regulation/enforcement/fees vary greatly in our region. Permits are the homeowner’s responsibility.
Optional domestic water heating assistance can be provided with a de-superheater for additional energy savings.
Q. How does a geothermal system work?
A. The ground absorbs nearly half of the solar energy our planet receives. As a result, the earth remains at a constant, moderate temperature just below its surface all year round. Geothermal heating and cooling systems take advantage of the stable temperature underground using a piping system, commonly referred to as a “loop.” Water circulates in the loop to exchange heat between your home, the geothermal heat pump, and the earth, providing heating, cooling, and hot water at remarkably high efficiencies. During the winter, geothermal heating and cooling systems absorb heat stored in the ground through the water that circulates in its underground loop. This heat is carried to the geothermal heat pump, where it’s concentrated and then sent as warm, comfortable air throughout your home. During the summer, geothermal heating and cooling systems absorb heat from your home and transfer it to the underground loop where it is then absorbed by the cooler earth. The geothermal heat pump uses the cool water returning from the earth to create cool, dehumidified air for your home.
Q. Isn’t geothermal not-yet-proven, new technology?
A. No. Geothermal systems, like all technology, have advanced over the years. H.B. McClure Company installed its first geothermal systems back in the oil embargo days of the early 1970s. Over the past 40 years, H.B. McClure Company has installed thousands of geothermal systems in area homes, schools, and office buildings.
Q. Since a geothermal system is a heat pump, does it blow cool air in the winter?
A. This is common misconception. Conventional air-source heat pumps extract heat from the outdoor air—sometimes at 0 degrees, resulting in lower delivered air temperature. The average earth temperature in our area is right around 50 degrees. This constant higher temperature allows the geothermal discharge air to be much higher than most air-source systems.
Q. How do geothermal heat pumps reduce energy & electric bills?
A. The U.S. Department of Energy has singled out heat pumps as one of the most efficient forms of electric heating in moderate climates due to their ability to generate up to three times more heat than the energy they consume. Geothermal heat pumps, however, are not limited to moderate climates since they utilize the constant temperature of the earth to power heating, cooling, and hot water systems. Heat pumps collect the heat inside a house and pump it outside to function as central air conditioners. Plus, they can use the excess energy produced in the HVAC process to generate hot water for domestic use. Using heat pumps to improve energy efficiency can also significantly reduce household electric bills.
Q. I thought geothermal was for new homes, installed during construction. I already have a heat pump. Is geothermal an option for my home when I need a new system?
A. Yes! Retrofitting your current home with a geothermal heat pump provides tangible benefits:
- Reduced cost of operation . . . up to 40% (or more) reduction of heating/cooling bills
- Additional savings on domestic water-heating costs available with optional hot water assist function
- Eliminate the noise and clutter of an outdoor heat pump unit—because there is not an outdoor unit with geothermal
- Improve the value and appeal of your home’s future sale by having an environmentally friendly system
Q. My lot is pretty small. Don’t you need at least half an acre to install a geothermal heat pump?
A. Using vertical-bore loop installation methods, we need a spot about 15’ off the foundation and about 50’ away from a drinking well. Geothermal can be installed on most building lots.
Q. Are green home improvements good for resale value?
A. Real estate trend studies conducted by industry groups show that houses with green building materials, ENERGY STAR appliances, energy efficiency features, and sustainability certifications (such as residential LEED home certifications and Earth Advantage home certifications) consistently produce a higher property valuation, sell for a higher home resale price, and sell faster than their non-green counterparts. Green home improvements can range from the expensive to the affordable, so you want to invest in upgrades that will offer you the most comfort and value while you’re still living in the house AND create the highest home resale value when you put it on the market. ENERGY STAR geothermal heat pump systems offer incredible energy efficiency, significantly cutting and controlling monthly utility bills (and saving money incrementally). They also reduce a home’s environmental impact and qualify for 30% federal renewable energy tax credits, which would reduce your upfront costs. This type of green home improvement will also give your home an edge in a competitive real estate market.
Q. Are the ClimateMaster geothermal systems you install ENERGY STAR rated?
A. Yes. ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) originally formed in 1996 to help homeowners save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. ENERGY STAR appliances deliver the same or BETTER performance as comparable appliance models while using LESS energy and saving MORE money. Studies show that heating, cooling, and hot water combined account for up to 70% of a typical home’s annual utility bills. ClimateMaster’s geothermal systems that we install offer a 400% improvement in energy efficiency compared to high efficiency natural gas furnace systems, which results in up to 80% savings in HVAC costs.
Q. Why does energy efficiency affect a home’s resale price?
A. There is a national trend toward energy efficient and sustainable living that is quickly gaining momentum across the country. More and more homeowners want to control and lower their monthly energy bills, reduce reliance on traditional utilities, and decrease their carbon footprint. Heating, cooling, and hot water bills combined can represent up to 70% of a home’s annual operating costs. By upgrading traditional HVAC systems to those powered by ENERGY STAR geothermal heat pumps, homeowners can reduce HVAC-related energy bills up to 80% because geothermal HVAC systems are 400% energy efficient compared to 98% efficiency of the highest efficiency gas furnace systems available. This investment also makes the house more marketable when it comes time to sell it, resulting in increased property valuation, faster sale, and higher home resale price. The most popular features of sustainable houses are smart building designs, green building materials, rainwater harvesting systems, aerobic septic waste water systems, Energy Recovery Ventilators to improve indoor air quality, VOC-free paints, stains, and finishes, ENERGY STAR appliances, and energy efficient HVAC systems powered by qualified ENERGY STAR geothermal heat pumps.
Q. I’ve heard geothermal installations cost at least $20,000. Is this true?
A. Installation costs will vary greatly from one home to another. Let’s assume you live in a 2,000 sq. ft. two-story Colonial home, constructed around 1990, currently heated and cooled with a traditional air-source heat pump. If the existing ductwork is in good shape (and in most cases it is), the installed cost for a closed-loop geothermal system would range from +/- $14,000 to $18,000 . . . and that includes the exterior site work loops. But don’t forget there is a 30% federal income tax credit for renewable energy systems. So with that factored in, your net installed cost would be between $10,000 and $14,000. With the tax credits, a geothermal system is price-competitive with a premium air-source unit.
Q. Geothermal can take too long to get my money back (in savings) . . . right?
A. In many cases, payback on a geothermal can be as low as 4 years when compared to conventional system replacement costs.
Q. How do I calculate my possible geothermal savings?
A. We refer customers to ClimateMaster’s savings calculator to help determine how much can be saved by installing a geothermal system.