Geothermal systems have many benefits for homeowners, including unusually long lifespans and clean, safe, and reliable comfort provided by the earth’s natural heat. Geothermal systems can pay for themselves in as little as five years thanks to their energy-efficient efficiency, despite frequently costing more to install than other home comfort choices (according to the EPA).
Even while geothermal heat pumps work on a straightforward principle—drawing heat from the earth and transferring it to your home, or doing the opposite to chill it—they are incredibly difficult to install. If you think you can manage installation on your own or hire a novice, you’ll be quite disappointed because time and effort were squandered for a poor outcome. Geothermal installations need careful planning and execution, but if left in the hands of experts, they will be completed swiftly and with the least amount of hassle for you.
The depth at which the loops that carry the refrigerant must be buried in order for them to function effectively is the key factor contributing to the complexity of geothermal installations. One-foot-deep trenches cannot be dug and are expected to function. Since the earth’s temperature stabilizes at this depth (about 55°F) with minor variations caused by above-ground weather, geothermal systems must be installed with their loops about 10 feet below the surface. You can’t dig 10-foot-deep ditches with only a few shovels; it takes a serious effort.
The fact that geothermal systems are the most environmentally sensitive of all comfort systems presents another challenge in their installation. They operate best when they are installed in specific locations, and finding those locations takes specialist expertise. You can’t expect to achieve good results if you just dig a hole at the first area on your land that is open and install the refrigerant loops there.
This brings up yet another crucial point: not everyone benefits from geothermal systems. Despite the many benefits they provide, not every home or piece of property can benefit from them. You should speak with specialists to determine whether geothermal will work for you before you even consider doing it yourself.
Economic Costs and Environmental Consequences of Geothermal Installation
The alteration of land use brought on by exploration and plant building, noise and light pollution, the release of water and gases, the creation of offensive odors, and soil subsidence are only a few of the environmental repercussions of geothermal development and power generation. However, the majority of these consequences may be reduced with current technology, ensuring that the environmental impact of geothermal uses is at most minor.
GHPs also have very little of an impact on the environment because they employ shallow geothermal resources that are just 100 meters (330 feet) below the surface. GHPs only slightly alter the temperature of the groundwater, rocks, and soil. The direction of the temperature change depends on whether the system is dominated by heating (which would be the case in colder places) or cooling. In closed-loop systems, the ground temperature around the vertical boreholes is slightly raised or lowered (which would be the case in warmer regions). The ground temperatures will stay constant with balanced heating and cooling loads. Similar to closed-loop systems, open-loop systems employing lake or groundwater would have relatively little impact on temperature, particularly in areas with high groundwater flows.