Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the Types of Geothermal Heat Pump Systems?
There are four basic types of ground loop systems. Three of these—horizontal, vertical, and pond/lake—are closed-loop systems. The fourth type of system is the open-loop option. Which one of these is best depends on the climate, soil conditions, available land, and local installation costs at the site. All of these approaches can be used for residential and commercial building applications.....read the article
What are the Benefits of Geothermal Heat Pump Systems
The biggest benefit of GHPs is that they use 25%–50% less electricity than conventional heating or cooling systems. This translates into a GHP using one unit of electricity to move three units of heat from the earth. According to the EPA, geothermal heat pumps can reduce energy consumption—and corresponding emissions—up to 44% compared to air-source heat pumps and up to 72% compared to electric resistance heating with standard air-conditioning equipment. GHPs also improve humidity control by maintaining about 50% relative indoor humidity, making GHPs very effective in humid areas...read more
How do I Select and Install a Geothermal Heat Pump System
Heating and Cooling Efficiency of Geothermal Heat Pumps
The heating efficiency of ground-source and water-source heat pumps is indicated by their coefficient of performance (COP), which is the ratio of heat provided in Btu per Btu of energy input. Their cooling efficiency is indicated by the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER), which is the ratio of the heat removed (in Btu per hour) to the electricity required (in watts) to run the unit. Look for the ENERGY STAR® label, which indicates a heating COP of 2.8 or greater and an EER of 13 or greater...read more
What are Geothermal Heat Pumps
Geothermal heat pumps (sometimes referred to as GeoExchange, earth-coupled, ground-source, or water-source heat pumps) have been in use since the late 1940s. Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) use the constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium instead of the outside air temperature. This allows the system to reach fairly high efficiencies (300%-600%) on the coldest of winter nights, compared to 175%-250% for air-source heat pumps on cool days....read more
What is a geothermal HVAC system?
A geothermal HVAC system uses the refrigeration cycle to transfer heat to or from the earth, to heat or cool a building or home. The geothermal compressor is used in lieu of both traditional boilers and air conditioning systems. Some geothermal compressors can also be used to pre heat water for domestic use, or heat liquid used in radiant heating systems.
How does a geothermal system work?
A geo system works very much like the refrigerator in your kitchen. Refrigerant that is changing from a liquid to a vapor takes heat out of the refrigerator and dissipates that heat into your kitchen through the heat exchanger fins under or behind the refrigerator. Imagine that your home or building is the refrigerator. But instead of dissipating the heat to the kitchen – the heat is dissipated to an earth loop field in the ground. In the winter this refrigeration cycle can be reversed to “cool” the earth loop field and heat your home or building.
How long will it take to install?
For an average home, the typical installation of an earth loop field is completed in three to five days. For schools and larger commercial application, the process can extend an additional week.
Will I need to a lot of room in my yard to install one?
Earth loop fields come in many shapes and sizes! Some fields, called horizontal “slinky”, “trench” or “pit” fields require several hundred feet of open space for installation. Alternatively, some drilled solutions require as little as a 6' diameter circle adjacent to your foundation plus a 2' wide trench to the building wall.
Will installing a geothermal system cost a lot?
Because installing a geothermal system requires the installation of a earth loop field, the upfront or “capital cost” geothermal systems is more expensive than convention fossil fuel burning systems. However, with recent federal tax incentives and many state programs, geothermal systems are very comparable to conventional systems.
Can a geothermal work with my existing HVAC unit?
Yes. It is best to have a complete heat (loss/gain) analysis along with a complete mechanical review of your system. Your HVAC system may be adequate or it may need adjustments.
Does a geothermal system help with my hot water needs?
Depending on the type of geothermal system selected, a geothermal system can meet all your hot water needs.
How should you figure out the size of the unit I need?
Go to www.Terraclimegeo.com and click on QuickQuote to fill out a brief questionnaire. A seasoned geothermal professional will give you a quick estimate.
What are the current incentives?
The Federal tax credit residential is 30%. Many state incentives give additional monies as tax credits and rebates. Several utilities offer additional energy efficiency load management grants.
How long is the return on investment using geothermal?
Three to five years dependent on type construction and qualifying incentive programs.
Does a geothermal system need to be replaced or require maintenance?
Mean-time-between failures for geothermal compressors may be as high as 35 years. Geothermal air filters may need to be changed monthly in high dust environment. Typical air filters should be changed every six months.
Is the system guaranteed, and if so, what precisely is guaranteed?
Dependent on system selected, there are manufacturer's warranties on parts, labor (typically one year), compressors (typically five years) and field pattern (twenty to fifty years). Terraclime offers an industry unique system performance warranty wherein the system is guaranteed to produce its specified design range energy.
How many years has Terraclime been in the business?
Terraclime Geothermal the brand is less than one year old but the acquisition foundation for Terraclime is over five years old with substantial base customers in place.
How are you different than other geothermal companies?
Terraclime is uniquely qualified to offer a wide range of geothermal and critical supporting services including geologists, hydrologists, chemists and vast project management services. Few geothermal companies have the scientific talent that Terraclime has. Terraclime has well over 25 years of talent devoted to geothermal.
What types of geothermal systems are available? Are there high-end or basics models?
Customer requirements including hot or cold air, radiant / hydronic water, or potable / commercial hot water along with outside real estate and subterranean conditions and heat loss gain analysis will help determine best system choice.
I am building a new home for my family and want to incorporate green technologies. What are the comparative environmental benefits for geothermal vs solar?
A typical installation for a roof-mounted photovoltaic system (3kW capacity) would cost approximately $16k. In the Northeastern United States, we typically see production from these panels equivalent to 1120 hours of full production per year. So the power savings associated with the solar panels is a little under 3,400 kWh per year.