What is geothermal heating?
Geothermal heat is created by removing solar heat stored in the Earth’s crust, 15 to 500’ deep, at ±50°, amplifying it with a ground source heat pump and sending it into your house.
How can a temperature of +/- 50 degrees in the ground heat my house to 70 degrees?
- Below the depth of 15’ in the earth there is a vast resource of ± 50° heat waiting to be tapped. This heat is transported from the ground to the ground source heat pump in the building, using loop water, well water or a glycol mix..
- The heat is transferred into the refrigerant in the heat pump. This heat is amplified by compression into a hot refrigerant gas.
- The ground source heat pump transfers this heat out of the refrigerant and into air or water, which heats the building.
While this concept is simple, the system components and equipment must be properly sized and set up for each installation to maximize savings. Alpha Water Systems can help you go the cutting edge of technology with the most efficient and cost effective geothermal heating system available.
Can a geothermal heating system do all of my heating in a building?
If your needs are properly evaluated the system can easily be tailored to meet all of your needs.
The time spent and the thoroughness involved with the assessment portion of your geothermal project will ultimately determine your level of success:
- A system that delivers all you want but does not generate the projected savings – is a failure!
- A system that does not perform to projected standards, but saves you some money – is a failure!
- A system that gives you all that you are promised, saves you money, keeps the fuel trucks away, and reduces your carbon footprint and your impact on the Earth – is a success.
Can a geothermal heating system heat my domestic hot water?
This answer may vary depending on equipment choice and your definition of “hot water.”
The equipment choice most heavily marketed is the “desuperheater.” This device uses some of the super heat from the compressed refrigerant to heat domestic hot water only when the unit is running. Desuperheaters help the heat pump’s efficiency during the cooling cycle, but compete with the home for heat during peak heating season. Due to the intermittent nature of desuperheaters, the use of a hot water storage tank and additional domestic hot water heating unit must be included in the system design.
Another way of generating hot water that gives you domestic hot water at any time, is to go to a combination unit. This type of ground source heat pump will devote the entire tonnage to generate hot water when needed, and will switch back to heat the building once the domestic hot water storage tank has returned to temperature. A final domestic point
of use hot water heater may be desired, depending on your goals.
The assessment and design of this portion of a geothermal heating system is of utmost importance. Choices made regarding domestic hot water, and high expectations created during the sale can make the difference between partial success and complete success. Carefully explore all options before deciding on your best design. Alpha Water Systems can help!
Is a geothermal heating system a good investment?
Yes. Very good!
A geothermal heating system is one of the best investments you will ever find! Let me list the ways a geothermal system makes a good investment:
- No more fuel trucks in your yard; you own your fuel source!
- As of January, 2009 the Federal government is going to give you a 30% tax credit on the entire system cost!
- Once you place your system in service you start to save on your fuel cost on day one. Fuel oil would have to go to $1 a gallon and stay there to compete.
- This is green technology with “0” carbon emissions.
- The ground source heat pump we use is built in the U. S. A.
- Our circulation pump is the most efficient on the market.
- Your home will likely sell at a premium and much faster if you do sell.
- This system will help you stay in your home longer when you retire.
- No other investment can offer returns like this!
Why should I use Alpha Water Systems instead of someone else?
We offer a complete package. We will help you evaluate the entire system from start to finish. The first consultation is free. There are many components and different trades involved. And they must all work together for the most efficient system with the shortest pay back. Our team has all of the state licenses and I am IGSHPA (International Ground Source Heat Pump Association) certified. I have converted my own home and we love it.
We install only the very highest quality equipment and have done extensive research on all of the components. This will insure that you will own the most efficient system available. This equates to the lowest operating costs for a long time with very little maintenance. Call us for a free demonstration.
How do I take care of my geothermal heating system?
Once our geothermal heating system is installed and adjusted, these systems are very low maintenance. A periodic filter change and yearly operations check-that’s it! There is no flame to go out, no mess of wood or coal, no gas to leak or explode, no tanks of fuel to maintain or to leak or spill. Our mechanical crew can handle any emergency.
How much will a geothermal system cost?
Geothermal heating systems are inexpensive over the long haul. Once installed, the fuel is free. You pay only for the power to run the unit and the circulation pump.
The cost of your system will be driven by your needs and the size and efficiency of the building you wish to heat.
The range is likely to start at $20,000 and goes up as the home size increases. We can help you assess your needs and the cost for your your system.
Some contractors promote systems with open standing column wells.
Under the right circumstances these systems work, but they are more expensive to run, more prone to problems, require more maintenance, and have an increased rate of failure.
Saving initial cost on a geothermal heating system and having it fail is not a good option.
We will explain all of the options and help you make the best choice. We want you to be happy with and proud of your geothermal heating system.
Can I get air conditioning for my building using geothermal equipment?
You can, and we can do it for less cost than other systems. Most other air conditioning systems depend on ambient air outside, sometimes at 90° or 100°, to act as a heat sink-not very good. A geothermal system in cooling mode has the Earth at 50° to 60° for a heat sink, and will save you money over any other system. No more noisy window units to listen to. No more lifting them into the window in June, then back to storage in September. You will just enjoy the nice quiet comfort.
Why don’t more people have geothermal heating systems?
- Lack of knowledge — even in our technology savvy country, relatively few people understand in detail how the earth can heat a building in the most wonderfully green and cost saving way.
- Most people have not had the benefit of knowing someone that can inform them correctly of the pros and cons of these systems. While most of the theory has been around for a long time, some of the recent electric motor development and new pump designs are on the cutting edge of technology and make these systems use less power to run than ever before. You must have all of these advancements in your system.
Why is contractor choice so important?
- Misguided best intentions — Many contractors that know enough to make a system work overlook some of the best features, and lack the theory and knowledge needed to construct a system with the highest efficiency and shortest payback. They will often offer a system that costs less, but unbeknownst to the customer, doesn’t contain features that could give you the highest efficiency and lowest operating cost. We can make your system one that is on the leading edge of available technology, and costs less to operate.
- Knowledge is the key — Get with the right team that is knowledgeable regarding all phases of design and construction with geothermal systems, and with your type of building. The folks at Alpha Water Systems will help you assess your building needs. Make sure you get all your questions answered before you spend your money. Geothermal heating systems must be designed to be efficient and cost effective.
Are there any incentives to help me with the cost of my geothermal heating system?
As mentioned in question 5, the Federal government is giving a 30% tax credit for the entire cost of the job. No limit!*
The caution is that you must use the right equipment. Alpha Water Systems will install only the most efficient equipment, Energy Star rated. So your system will qualify for all tax credits available. Call us today to explore your best options.
* “The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 covers systems in full that are in service between Jan. 1, 2009 – Dec. 31, 2016. If the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount can be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year.” dsireusa.org