About Ground Source Heat Pumps
Geothermal heat pumps are one of the three technologies offered through HeatSmart CCL. Learn more about how they work and get your questions answered.
Don't see your question answered below? Reach out to us or Achieve and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
- What is a ground source (geothermal) heat pump and how does it work?
- What types of geothermal heat pumps and configurations are available?
- What are the benefits of using geothermal heat pumps?
- Are there other drawbacks to geothermal heat pumps?
- Is a geothermal heat pump right for me?
- Why are geothermal heat pumps considered “clean heating and cooling” technologies?
- Can geothermal heat pumps provide hot water?
- How do the annual maintenance costs of an geothermal heat pump compare to other heating systems?
- How long do geothermal heat pumps last?
- How complicated is installing a geothermal heat pump and how much time will it take?
- What if I don't have a lot of yard space or don't want to excavate?
- How much does a geothermal system cost?
|What is a geothermal heat pump and how does it work?||
Heat pumps do not create heat like electric resistance heating or like fossil fuel-fired heating systems; instead, they transfer heat from one place to another--much the same way that a refrigerator or air conditioner works except that it can move heat in both directions to provide both heating and cooling.
Ground source (or geothermal) heat pumps use the ground as a source of heat, while air source heat pumps use the outdoor air. Achieve's geothermal heat pumps accomplish this by running an anti-freeze solution through piping (“ground loop”) buried in the ground and using an indoor heat pump unit to extract heat from this water. 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.
|What types of geothermal heat pumps and configurations are available?||
There are different “types” of geothermal heat pumps based on variations in the type of ground loop and indoor unit configuration.
Ground loop. The ground loop is the heat exchange surface for your heat pump. A home will typically need several hundred to thousand feet of piping in the ground loop to provide enough heat in the coldest part of the year. Ground loops are divided into “closed” and “open” loops:
The indoor heat pump unit configuration will also vary depending on whether you use ductwork (forced hot air) or a hot water (hydronic) distribution system:
|What are the benefits of using geothermal heat pumps?||
There are numerous benefits to using geothermal heat pumps:
|Are there drawbacks to geothermal heat pumps?||
While GSHPs can be a great fit for many Carlisle, Concord, and Lincoln homes and businesses, they are not without a few drawbacks:
|Is a geothermal heat pump right for me?||
GSHP retrofits can work in most homes. If you answer “Yes” to any of the questions below, a geothermal system may be a good fit for you:
|Why are geothermal heat pumps considered “clean heating and cooling” technologies?||
Geothermal heat pumps are considered to be “clean” heating and cooling systems because they do not create heat, but rather they transfer renewable heat from the ground into your building. This process is powered by electricity, which can also be sourced from renewable sources like solar, wind, or hydro.
|Can geothermal heat pumps provide domestic hot water?||
Yes. Geothermal systems can be installed with desuperheaters that can provide you with about half of your home’s annual hot water needs. A geothermal system operating in cooling mode will typically store unwanted heat in the ground. A desuperheater will use that waste heat to pre-heat your hot water before it enters your hot water tank. A desuperheater add-on will cost around $1,800 but will cost nothing extra to operate!
|How do the annual maintenance costs of geothermal heat pumps compare to other heating systems?||Geothermal systems require relatively little maintenance. The ground loop is designed to last for up to 50 years or more (you can even purchase an extended warranty against any leakage for 55 years!), and no other components are exposed to the elements. Periodic checkups and filter changes are the most common maintenance requirements. Other adjustments to your system performance can be done remotely through the Symphony monitoring system without Achieve needing to come out to your home.|
|How long do geothermal heat pumps last?||The ground loop piping is designed to last for up to 50 years or more. 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.|
|How complicated is installing a geothermal heat pump and how much time will it take?||
Our installer Achieve will visit your home within 2 weeks of you signing up for a site visit. If geothermal is suitable for your home, Achieve will present you with a customer proposal within a week of your site visit. A geothermal installation will typically take 2-3 months to complete from when you sign a contract. This includes:
|What if I don’t have a lot of yard space?|
|How much will an geothermal heat pump cost?||The cost of a geothermal heat pump system will range due to the customization needed for your home and the difference in incentives available (learn more here). Typically geothermal systems will start at $20,000 after incentives. Consult Achieve's HeatSmart CCL Pricing sheet here. If you have questions about pricing, consider discussing your various needs and options with Achieve during your free site visit. A more detailed version is available here.|