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T hree weeks ago, we installed a geothermal system to heat and cool our house and so far, we love it! Sure, HVAC systems have basically nothing to do with interior design, but it’s still a home related product that many people are curious about, so I’d thought I’d share my experience with you! Geothermal systems have been around for a long time, but in the past they have been too expensive for most people to install. Lately though, the pricing has come down substantially, and depending on where you live, you may be able to get fairly large tax rebates like we did.
But, I have a feeling you’re thinking: what the heck is a geothermal system and how does it work? Well, it’s actually pretty simple. A geothermal system uses the temperature deep inside the earth to heat or cool the air in your home and is powered by electricity only. That means no more paying for gas or oil! The idea of having a clean, eco-friendly air source is what initially attracted us to learn more about the system. But now back to how it actually works: did you know that the temperature at that depth is consistently between 50-75 degrees Fahrenheit? Who knew! It doesn’t matter what the above ground temperature is either. So, basically, the air inside your home is sent down through pipes they install to that depth and pushed back up at that mild temperature. It then goes through an air handler located where your regular furnace would typically be and either heated or cooled to your desired temperature.
The actual installation was definitely a bit messy…first a large rig came and drilled down 300 feet in our backyard. This is where our “ground loops” are now installed. Our kids thought this was very cool and loved telling their friends we were drilling for oil, (I wish)! Next, they continued running the pipes underground to the side of our house, these pipes only needed to be 4 feet deep. Then the pipes continued into the roof of our basement and into our boiler room where our old traditional units were located. Our old heating units and air conditioning condensers were removed and taken away. I was happy to see those inefficient gas guzzlers go! Then our new geothermal heat pump was installed where the old heating units were. There is no need for unattractive air conditioning units anymore since the geothermal unit does both the heating and cooling. We’re happy to have those gone for good!
There were a few unexpected costs to note that should be taken into account if you’re considering upgrading to a geothermal system. The largest extra cost we incurred was replacing the grass (we used sod) in our backyard. It’s a very large area that was dug up so that was definitely pricey to put back. We also had to have some minor electrical re-wiring done to accommodate the new thermostats we were supplied with, and patching/painting of a few holes in the sheetrock, but this was not a large expense. Overall, so far we love our new geothermal system! It’s working great, is very efficient, and it’s amazing not to have to rely on fuel anymore for our heat. We also love that our new system adds value to our house and we no longer have any monthly gas costs. We were also told there is basically no maintenance needed for the units, except for changing out a couple of air filters twice a year, something we can totally handle! I hope you enjoyed learning about my experience installing our geothermal HVAC system. Let me know what you thought of it and if you have any questions, I’d love to read them in my comments section below!