Tag Archives: geothermal heat pump

geothermal federal tax credit

Geothermal Federal Tax Credit Expires on December 31!

 

The 30% geothermal federal tax credit expires on the 31st of December, 2016. That means this year. That means you don’t have a lot more time to get your GeoCool unit ordered and installed!

 

Geothermal Federal Tax Credit & You!

 

Hopefully you already know all about the 30% geothermal federal tax credit and why it’s such a great deal for new geothermal heat pump owners.

 

You do know all about it, right?

 

If you don’t, let me provide some illumination. This incentive allows you to apply 30% of the purchase cost and installation expense of a geothermal heat pump to your taxes. Basically, you can spend money you were going to give to Uncle Sam on a high efficiency heating and cooling system for your home.

 

It’s a great deal.

 

That’s Gone Very, Very Soon

 

Congress, with its lack of infinite wisdom, has not chosen to renew this amazing geothermal tax credit. Sure, they renewed the incentives for wind and solar, but left geothermal out for some reason. I guess it’s because Congress is incapable of doing anything mostly right.

 

They’re consistent about screwing up, at least.

 

I could go on about that, but let’s not. No one needs another government-induced ulcer.

 

Your Options

 

You’ve always planned to get a geothermal heat pump for your home, but you’ve always put off doing it. I assure you that now is the time. Claiming 30% of the expense on your taxes is no small amount of money. If you’ve ever even toyed with the idea of getting a geothermal unit, do it quickly.

 

So, what do you need to do?

 

The first thing you need to do is order your unit. We highly recommend a GeoCool unit, because that makes us money.

 

We’re a little biased that way.

 

Second, you need to find a geothermal installer to get your unit in the ground BEFORE December 31st. It’s getting late in the year, so there’s no time to waste.

 

Start the process today or you can kiss that big geothermal federal tax credit good-bye.

 

measuring geothermal heat pump efficiency

Measuring Geothermal Heat Pump Efficiency

 

Measuring geothermal heat pump efficiency is easy for industry veterans, but most homeowners don’t fit that description. When you aren’t versed in the latest industry jargon it can be difficult to figure out where or how one system might outperform another. Like any other specialized industry with decades of history, the geothermal HVAC business has its own specific terms and phrases that can be downright confusing.

 

If you’re interested in your installing your own  geothermal heat pump system, it pays to learn some of this nomenclature.

 

Measuring Geothermal Heat Pump Efficiency is All About Terminology

 

Energy efficiency ratio (EER) is the most important term you need to know when it comes to geothermal heat pumps. EER describes roughly how efficiently a geothermal heat pump is going to operate during a typical cooling season.

 

When it comes to EER, higher is always better.

 

If you want to get a read on how efficient a geothermal heat pump is compared to a traditional air conditioner, compare geothermal EER to air-source season energy efficiency ratio (SEER). Like EER, a high SEER rating is always better than a low one, but even a medium range EER rating outperforms a high SEER rating.

 

In other words, a 13 EER-rated geothermal heat pump is more efficient than an equivalent or higher rated air-source heat pump.

 

The other main keyword you want to remember for measuring geothermal heat pump efficiency is coefficient of performance (COP). Gas furnaces, electric heaters, geothermal heat pumps, and other heating systems use COP to rate energy efficiency during heating applications.

 

 

Like EER, a higher COP is better than a lower one. The higher it is, the more you save during those cold winter months.

 

In short, the best way to ensure you get the efficiency you want from a geothermal heat pump is to choose a system with high EER and COP ratings. The higher those two ratings, the more money you’ll save over the long term.

 

geothermal heat pump installation

Geothermal Heat Pump Installation for Fun & Profit!

 

Geothermal heat pump installation is the biggest HVAC project any homeowner can undertake. Not only are they just as complicated as regular heating and air units, but the earthwork adds, no pun intended, a whole new layer of potential problems.

 

Should you still install one? Is it going to be worth it? What don’t you know?

 

Geothermal Heat Pump Installation – What You Should Know

 

The first thing you should know is that there are two main geothermal heat pump installations available.

 

Closed loop systems rely on a literal closed pipe and refrigerant loop to move heat. They are by far the most common kind of geothermal unit. By contrast, open loops ground water or another body of water as the heat exchange medium. They’re relatively uncommon, since most homeowners do not have high enough quality groundwater or their municipal government does not allow unfiltered water discharge.

 

Open Loop

Is an open loop legal for your home? That’s really the big question you need to ask. If the answer is yes, then you can start checking water quality. If the answer is no, then it doesn’t matter what your local water table is like.

 

Provided an open loop is not verboten in your area, you will need a reliable amount of ground water or a large body of surface water to run an open loop geothermal heat pump. You also need to check local water quality. This can vary across different parts of the country. Ground water with a lot of contaminants will ruin a heat pump very quickly.

 

Now, if you do have legal access to high quality water, an open loop unit is the way to go. They can be a lot cheaper to install than closed loop systems. More importantly, open loop heat pumps tend to operate at much higher efficiency.

 

Closed Loop

Open loop geothermal heat pump installation is great, but not an option for most homeowners. Chances are that you don’t have access to enough water, the water quality is too low, or your local government does not allow open discharge into ground water.

 

You’re not alone. The majority of geothermal heat pump installations in the United States are closed loop systems. Fortunately, a closed loop geothermal heat pump is still a great way to get high efficiency heating and cooling.

 

So, what do you need for a closed loop install?

 

You do have two basic options with a closed loop. You can go with a horizontal loop or a vertical loop. Both are pretty much what they sound like. A horizontal loop uses shallow, horizontal trenches over a relatively wide surface area. Vertical loops use deep, vertical trenches in a comparatively much more narrow surface area.

 

Which should you use?

 

It all comes down to the size of your yard. If you’ve got a lot of yard space, go with a horizontal installation. If you don’t, use a vertical loop.

 

Knowledge = Efficiency

And now you know what you don’t know.

 

GeoCool warranty protection

GeoCool Warranty Protection Lasts

 

A GeoCool geothermal heat pump is an investment in your energy future. Our systems are not for the faint of heart – we’re not selling cheap and easy solutions. The core of our product is sustained energy savings over years of operation. When you install a geothermal heat pump, you want to ensure you get reliable technology and a real commitment from the manufacturer. 

 

GeoCool warranty protection is designed to deliver just that.

 

GeoCool Warranty Protection Can Last a Lifetime

 

First, you are protected against any system failure due to a material or workmanship defect. If our system came off the factory floor with a fault, we pay to fix that.  We send you a functional replacement part, you send the bad one back to us.

 

Second, you receive lifetime protection for the compressor. The compressor is the heart of the system. It is the one piece you cannot do without. If yours ever fails during your lifetime, we’ll repair it or replace it.

 

Third, we extend ten years of coverage to all other functional parts. Admittedly, ten years is not quite as good as a lifetime, but we’re still quite proud of the decade of coverage we provide each and every GeoCool geothermal heat pump.

 

What’s Not Covered?

 

GeoCool warranty protection is better than the industry average, but it, of course, does not cover everything. If you abuse the unit through improper servicing or installation, we do not cover that. If you modify the operating system, you’re not covered. You’re also not protected against damage due to interruption of electrical service.

 

Failure due to natural disasters like a flood, wind, house fire, or lightning strike is also not covered. We cannot, after all, account for acts of God. That’s what homeowner’s insurance is for!

 

However, even when something bad happens to your unit that is not covered by your warranty, you can still avail yourself of our lifetime customer technical support.

 

geothermal longevity

Geothermal Longevity is Real

You’re interested in ground source technology, but you don’t know anything about geothermal longevity. Will these units last for years or will you be lucky if you get a few months of operation?

 

Geothermal Longevity Extends for Decades

 

If you make a substantial financial investment in technology for your home, you want to be certain that investment is going to pay off. Ideally, it will pay off and keep paying for years to come.

 

When it comes to investing in a new heating, ventilating and air conditioning system for your home, it doesn’t matter how energy efficient the design is if the machine itself is poorly made and breaks down after only a few short years of operation. Choose geothermal and you won’t have to worry. 

 

In addition to their unrivaled energy efficiency, geothermal heat pumps are among the longest lasting HVAC systems available. A geothermal heat pump uses the ground as a heat reservoir. This means the Earth itself protects substantial portions of the unit. Such protection prevents a lot of wear-and-tear a traditional outside unit outside would sustain. Years of sun damage and harsh weather corrosion will negatively affect operation. Geothermal heat pumps avoid that altogether.

 

As a matter of fact, geothermal heat pumps are so durable the U.S. Department of Energy estimates the internal components will typically last up to 25 years. Even better, the current best estimate for a ground loop is over 50 years!

 

Of course, a ground loop could last much longer than that. We can’t say for sure, since there hasn’t been enough decades since ground source tech was invented to adequately test it. At the very least, you can reliable estimate a half century of operation from your ground loop, which is far more than can be said for a conventional HVAC coil.

 

geothermal heat pump facts

Geothermal Heat Pump Facts

 

It can be hard to sort truth from fiction these days. People are very adept at using statistics and PhotoShop to make even the most ridiculous statement seem authentic. Well, here are some 100% true geothermal heat pump facts you can count on.

 

Real Geothermal Heat Pump Facts

 

First, what are geothermal heat pumps?

 

Geothermal heat pumps are a heating and air technology that relies on subterranean heat to boost operating efficiency. This allows them do deliver heating and cooling in virtually any season at a fraction of conventional HVAC energy requirements.

 

Fact #1 – Geothermal Saves Energy

 

According to a recent U.S. Department of Energy survey, geothermal heat pumps save, on average, 75% more energy than traditional heating and air solutions. That means the typical home is, literally, sitting on top of most of the energy they need to stay comfortable.

 

It’s a pretty wild idea when you think about it like that.

 

Fact #2 – Geothermal Cuts Carbon Emissions

 

Are you worried about global warming and climate change? Did you know that the 85,000 geothermal heat pumps installed every year in the United States is the equivalent of taking 220,000 cars off the road?

 

It’s true. Geothermal HVAC systems require less energy to run. Without these systems homeowners would produce over 1 million more tons of carbon every year.

 

Fact #3 – Geothermal is Growing

 

Everyone loves to jump on a bandwagon, and geothermal heat pumps are no exception. So many people have realized what these units can do that the rate of geothermal domestic installation has doubled in the past decade. And there is currently more than one million geothermal units operating right now.

 

A million is a lot.

 

Fact #4 – Geothermal is Great

 

Okay, you got me. This is more of an opinion than a fact, but it’s one that more and more people agree with every year. Geothermal heat pumps heat, cool, save money, and cut carbon emissions all at the same time.

 

What’s not great about that?

 

air-source versus geothermal

Air-Source Versus Geothermal Heat Pump in an Epic Battle!

 

Air-source versus geothermal in an fight to the death!

 

Okay, not really. Obviously, inanimate HVAC units can’t literally battle one another, but a comparison between conventional air-source heat pumps and geothermal can be done.

 

So, let’s do that.

 

Air-Source Versus Geothermal – A Clash of Titans!

 

First, what’s the difference between an air-source heat pump and a geothermal heat pump?

 

Not as much as you might think.

 

Both types of heat pump operate using the same basic principles. Each requires a coolant of one type or another to move heat around an environment. They move the heat out of your house in summer, which is always nice, then they pump it back into your house in winter. This simple process delivers effective air comfort in, theoretically, every season.

 

So, if geothermal and air-source heat pumps work basically the same way, then why bother with a geothermal unit in the first place? After all, most air-source heat pumps are far cheaper to buy and much simpler to install. Aren’t they the obvious victor in the air-source versus geothermal battle?

 

There Is Just One Thing….

 

It’s all about them Benjamins, am I right?

 

Er, well, in this case it’s all about the source of the heat our different heat pumps are moving. Air-source heat pumps, as should be obvious from the name, rely on the Earth’s atmosphere. They, literally, draw heat out of the air in order to deliver heat to you.

 

This works fine most of the time. In spring and fall, an air-source heat pump will do a terrific job keeping your house nice and warm. It will even work on relatively mild winter days.

 

But!

 

When it gets really, really cold an air-source heat pumps starts running into problems. There’s less heat in the air, so the heat pump has to draw more power to get what it needs. If it gets cold enough, the heat pump can stop working altogether.

 

Most people agree that is a bad thing.

 

Geothermal is Different

 

Which is why we have geothermal heat pumps in the first place. They don’t rely on the air as either a heat source or a heat sink. If a geothermal heat pump needs to move heat into your home on a cold winter day, it yanks that heat out of the subterranean environment underneath your house.

 

You might be surprised to learn that this underground area will maintain a relatively stable temperature throughout much of the year. Only the coldest regions of the country with truly severe winter weather experience the kind of ground freeze that would reduce geothermal operating efficiency. Most Americans could run a geothermal unit at 100% efficiency on any day of the year.

 

So, it seems to us here at GeoCool that in the immortal air-source versus geothermal battle there is a clear winner – geothermal.

 

We maybe biased though.

 

DIY geothermal

DIY Geothermal – Should You or Shouldn’t You?

 

You’re a ‘do-it-yourselfer‘. You do your own plumbing, home improvements, and even change the oil in your car. You’re interested in geothermal heat pumps. Obviously, a DIY geothermal install would save you money, but is it a good idea? Should you attempt it or are geothermal heat pumps just too complicated for even gifted amateurs?

 

Is DIY Geothermal Installation a Good Idea?

 

The answer is a little complicated.

 

Working with the interior half of a geothermal heat pump system is similar to installing any conventional HVAC system. Obviously, there are some technical differences, but nothing obnoxiously complicated. You need a location for the pump, convenient connections to the interior ductwork, and easy access to the exterior ground loop.

 

There is electricity to consider, of course. Any good electrician should not have a problem connecting a geothermal unit. If you know your way around wires and utility boxes, this too is an area you should be able to handle.

 

These two DIY geothermal aspects, interior and electrical, are fairly straightforward. They are not, however, the end of the story.

 

Mother Earth and the Buried Loop

 

Before you begin any DIY geothermal project you have to consider what sort of ground network you’re going to use. The ground installation type will determine how much earthwork is required.

 

Still, no matter what style ground loop you use there is always going to be some digging involved for any geothermal heat pump system. If there wasn’t, it would be much of a ‘geothermal’ system now would it?

 

Horizontal Network

 

Horizontal installations are quite common, since it’s easier to dig over a broader surface area than to dig deep vertical shafts. That doesn’t mean horizontal geothermal is something to take lightly. Even relatively shallow excavation, about six feet or so in our case, can be dangerous.

 

If you don’t know how to operator an excavator or don’t have access to one, then horizontal DIY geothermal is probably out of your reach. You can do a lot of it yourself, true, but at the end of the day you’ll need to hire a contractor to dig the necessary trenches.

 

A word of warning: if you’ve never used heavy digging equipment, do not attempt this part of the install alone.

 

Vertical Installation

 

The main alternative to a horizontal loop is a vertical loop. As you probably guessed, vertical loop geothermal uses a contained pipe network buried vertically instead of horizontally. A vertical install may use a single deep shaft or a series of slightly shallower vertical shafts.

 

Now, when we talk about digging vertically we are talking about digging much deeper than we would with a horizontal install. A vertical installation shaft will require sophisticated excavation equipment of a type used mainly by well digging companies. Unless you happen to own such a company, you’ll need to contract this service.

 

You cannot dig the necessary vertical shafts with a shovel, and it would be exceptionally dangerous to attempt. So, don’t.

 

Pond or Lake Loop

 

When it comes to DIY geothermal, the easiest installation available to most homeowners is going to be a pond or lake loop. These systems are pretty simple. All you have to do is submerge the heat exchange piping into a suitably deep pond or lake.

 

It really is just that easy.

 

Now, some digging will be involved. For aesthetic and pipe protection reasons, you’ll want the connections between the lake loop and your home to be buried. This particular connection does not need to be particularly deep, so it is within the capabilities of most DIY’ers. A foot or two, and you’re good.

 

That doesn’t mean it won’t be tiring digging a shallow trench out to your pond, but it is far less complex than a 300 ft vertical shaft or a couple hundred square feet of 6 ft trenches.

 

The downside to this DIY geothermal installation is that most people don’t have a convenient lake or pond next to their house. Obviously, if you don’t, you can’t use this method.

 

Open Loops

 

The final option open to geothermal homeowners is an open loop installation. All our previous examples used closed loops in which the geothermal heat pump operated as part of a self-contained system. An open loop install is the opposite of that.

 

Geothermal open loop systems interact directly with well water in order to heat and cool your home. They’re the most inexpensive type of installation, but they’re not available to everyone. Many municipal and county governments forbid ‘pump-and-dump’ operations even though this type of geothermal operation does not pollute in anyway whatsoever.

 

If you can install a geothermal open loop, you probably already have access to a well you can use. If you don’t have access to a well, then, obviously, you’ll need to have one dug.

 

I’m going to assume that average American DIY’er is not capable of digging their own well. You’ll need to hire someone to do that.

 

So is DIY geothermal possible or not?

 

Yes and no.

 

Yes, some people will be able to install their entire geothermal heat pump without specialized help. And no, because many people will need to hire specialized contractors or heavy equipment to complete the installation process.

 

green geothermal

Green Geothermal HVAC

 

Green geothermal, the climate is saved! We can have great interior air comfort without worrying about blasting contaminants into the ozone or spewing exhaust into the environment.

 

Right?

 

Is Green Geothermal Legit?

 

You gotta love marketing. Every HVAC company on the planet wants to tell you that a geothermal heat pump is the environmentally friendly solution to conventional heating and air technology. And who can blame them? After the ozone panic from decades ago and amid increasing concern about climate change, people are looking for high tech solutions to dirty tech problems.

 

But are geothermal heat pumps the panacea some make them out to be?

 

Potentially

 

Full disclosure, we here at GeoCool are, obviously, in the geothermal heat pump business. We do believe green geothermal tech is one way to protect the atmosphere without going backward to a very smelly, very sweaty way of life.

 

However, we aren’t going to tell you geothermal heat pumps are a silver bullet to cure every environmental ill. These things aren’t magic. On the other hand, they can be a big part of the solution.

 

Clean Winter Heating

 

Unless you live on a tropical beach, and I’m guessing that’s not most people, you know all about winter. Humans used to survive the cold months by burning wood. Then the Industrial Revolution gave us heating fuel oil and natural gas. These technologies work, but they pollute.

 

In the 20th Century, electrical heating systems began to replace some of these dirtier technologies. Most of that impetus came from rising oil costs rather than environmental considerations. Still, those electric heaters ran on fossil fuel power plants, so the buck was just being passed from one polluter to another.

 

The Green Geothermal Difference

 

Geothermal heat pumps have a few critical advantages over fossil fuel and electric furnaces:

 

Geothermal heat pumps rely on buried heat to boost their electric power. This means they use less energy than conventional electric furnaces.

 

Geothermal heat pumps require ZERO fossil fuels. Yes, many power plants still use fossil fuels, but it is entirely possible to run a geothermal unit entirely on renewable sources. Since they’re higher efficiency, they do this a lot better, again, than an electric furnaces.

 

So, is ‘green geothermal’ the pill to cure all our environmental ills?

 

Of course not. There is not going to be a single solution to such a complicated problem. However, geothermal heat pumps with their green potential are a step toward decreasing fossil fuel dependence, reducing annual energy consumption, and maintaining the standard of living we all want to keep.

 

geothermal dehumidification

Superior Geothermal Dehumidification

 

Let’s get one thing straight – too much humidity sucks. Now, obviously, you need some humidity. Unless you live in an actual desert this isn’t an issue for most homeowners. What you want is the right amount of humidity, and our new geothermal dehumidification technology can help you get that.

 

Allow me to explain.

 

GeoCool Geothermal Dehumidification

 

Ye olde conventional air conditioner will dehumidify. So will a geothermal heat pump or an air-source heat pump. All these HVAC systems yank water out of the air as a normal part of their operating cycle. Many homeowners can run their A/C and not worry too much about excess humidity.

 

Unfortunately, this isn’t enough for everyone. People living in super humid areas of the country often find a normal HVAC operating cycle isn’t enough to get their interior humidity to a desirable level.

 

What can they do?

 

Conventional Dehumidification

 

There are dedicated dehumidifiers on the market that do a fine job reducing excess humidity. Of course, using one of these systems means you have to buy and operate a unit that does nothing else.

 

Wouldn’t it be great if the HVAC system you have already installed could take care of all that excess water?

 

It would, so let me introduce you to GeoCool’s superior dehumidification technology. Our latest line of dual stage geothermal heat pumps is fitted with a special dehumidification sensor. When the sensor detects uncomfortably high interior humidity, your geothermal heat pump will remove it automatically.

 

Basically, the sensor instructs the unit to operate at lower capacity and on a lower fan speed. This might normally not produce the amount of cooling comfort you want, but this running cycle isn’t designed for cooling. The lower setting means the unit will run longer, cool a bit, but remove humidity at a constant rate throughout that cycle.

 

This is a good thing. Less humidity will mean your house feels more comfortable and you don’t have to set the thermostat lower to get there.

 

Someday you might wonder how you ever made it through a long hot summer without geothermal dehumidification.