The geothermal heat pump is quickly gaining popularity for efficient, eco-friendly heating. In fact, with the relatively warm ground temperatures around Houston, Ft. Bend, and Brazoria, geothermal may seem like the ideal heating and cooling system. As great as geothermal can be, though, there are times when a conventional air-source heat pump is preferable.
Both geothermal and air-source heat pumps are more energy efficient than gas and oil furnaces. Beyond this, there are a number of important differences between these two types of heat pumps.
Energy efficiency – Geothermal heat pump systems are more energy efficient. These heat pumps operate at between 300 to 600 percent efficiency even in the coldest weather. Air-source heat pumps, on the other hand, reach 175 to 300 percent efficiency even in milder winter weather.
Upfront costs – Geothermal systems have higher purchase and installation costs. Lower energy costs let you recoup this investment over time, but if you’re planning to move soon, a less expensive air-source heat pump may be the wiser choice.
Maintenance – Air-source heat pumps use an outdoor unit that requires regular cleaning and is at risk for damage. In a geothermal heat pump system, all the components are either underground or indoors where they’re protected from inclement weather, debris and vandalism.
This is part of the reason a geothermal heat pump indoor unit lasts around 25 years, whereas the average air-source heat pump lasts around 15 years.
Space – Installing a geothermal system requires excavation. If you’ve put a lot of work into your landscaping or you have a very limited amount of space, you may be better off with an air-source heat pump.
Tax credits – For buying and installing an Energy Star-qualified geothermal heat pumps, you’ll be eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit with no limit. For the most efficient air-source heat pumps, you can claim a tax credit of up to $300.
To get more expert guidance on deciding between a geothermal and air-source heat pump, get in touch with us at Aqua Plumbing & Air.
Written by John Miller