Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pros and Cons of Geothermal Heating

Perhaps you have an older home you wish to modernize, or maybe you have had so many problems with your current HVAC system that you are ready to try something different. Geothermal heating is an option that provides heat to your home through pipes and a heat pump. Since the heat is sourced from the ground, hence the name, your HVAC contractor will lay the pipes in trenches dug into your property to create the closed circuit needed to keep your house warm. The heat pump takes the water in this circuit and produces the warmth which is circulated throughout your house.

Geothermal systems can work with under floor heating systems or immersion systems. Question is, is this type of HVAC right for you? As with other types of heat management systems, geothermal has its pros and cons. Let's take a look at some of them.


If you are eco-minded, you will be pleased to know that geothermal heating is a good way to go green. Heat is derived from a source that doesn't require mining, and you are less likely to create a hazard through this natural method of keeping your house warm. You could discover a good reduction in energy bills as a result.

Geothermal heating also does not require a lot of maintenance to run. You are not responsible for cleaning a chimney or refilling an oil tank, and you will rarely need to call a repairman. This heating method provides an energy efficient method of keeping your house comfortable in any season.


While the source of the heat is energy efficient and environmentally friendly, bear in mind that not all equipment works the same way. More than likely you'll use the same source for cooling your home, which means using refrigerants to power your pump. You will need to look hard for eco-friendly equipment.

Depending on where you live, you may need permission to have the pipes laid. For geothermal heating to work properly, you will need quite a bit of space, and if you live in an attached home or condo this might not be possible.

Also, the initial cost of digging the trenches could set you back. Granted, geothermal heating could save you in the long run, but note you may need to make a sizable investment up front.

Is geothermal heating for you? Weigh the pros and cons of the system to determine if it will work for your home.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on  Newport News HVAC services.