The absolutely true, myth-busting guide to geothermal

A geothermal system will ruin your yard, jinx your plumbing, and steal your soul. Okay, maybe you haven’t heard misinformation quite that extreme, but we do hear all the time from members concerned about geothermal heating and cooling systems in ways they just don’t need to be.

We’re enamored of these systems. And why wouldn’t we be? They are simply the most efficient systems you can get for heating and cooling your home. By a factor of about four; that’s no myth! Geothermal systems are four times as efficient as a standard gas furnace.

Hence, we’re running through some of the common misconceptions about geothermal. Getting the word out on these powerhouse systems, which utilize the steady temperature of the earth to keep your home comfortable.

Myth: You need a lot of yard to be able to install a geothermal system.

Fact: Very few yards are too small for a geothermal system. Although traditionally the pipes that move the heat in and out of your home were buried in long, horizontal rows, todays’ systems can be installed to run vertically, deeper into the ground, meaning you need just a few square feet to accommodate them.

Myth: Geothermal is an effective way to heat but not cool.

Fact: With just one system, you can efficiently heat and cool your house. Homeowners who live in very cold areas, however, do sometimes choose to have a backup heating system because it means they can install a smaller loop system underground.

Myth: Geothermal systems don’t last.

Fact: Nothing lasts forever, but a geothermal system goes much further than a standard air conditioner unit, by far, and better than a gas furnace. The underground loops and the heat-exchange equipment last for decades.

Myth: Geothermal systems cost a fortune.

Fact: Installing a geothermal system costs more than replacing or installing a standard gas furnace and air conditioner. However, the much-lower operating costs of the system (and the rebates and federal tax credits you receive) make the upgrade worth the expense. You can count on spending about 30 percent less per month than you would with a natural gas furnace and 60 percent less than with propane heat. Essentially, if you’re going to be in your house for five years or more, you’re going to see a cost savings overall for going geothermal.

Myth: Geothermal heat pumps are noisy.

Fact: One of the great things about geothermal is that it eradicates the outside air conditioning condenser unit. No more noisy nights on the patio. And the indoor heat exchanger is super-quiet.

Myth: Geothermal systems use a lot of water.

Fact: The systems consume no water. For those systems that use an aquifier to exchange heat, the water is pulled and then returned to the aquifier.

Myth: Geothermal systems are “pie in the sky” technology that can’t be relied upon and isn’t feasible for everyone.

Fact: We’d love to tell you more about geothermal, which is a highly achievable upgrade that will operate with very little maintenance in your home for generations—saving you and your family big money throughout. Check in with your local Energy Advisor to get the facts.