First developed in the 1940s, the geothermal heat pump is an excellent bio-friendly alternative to many power-hungry heating and air-conditioning systems. A geothermal heat pump harnesses the power of the earth as a heat source in winter or a heat sink in summer. A geothermal heat pump is designed to take advantage of stable ground temperatures and to increase efficiency of heating and cooling systems – while significantly reducing costs.
Generally speaking, geothermal heating systems and heat pumps outperform standard heating and air conditioning systems in every way imaginable while saving you a lot of money. Installing a geothermal heat pump, however, requires a lot of expert knowledge and equipment that most people simply don't have. Installing a geothermal heat pump is not a DIY project. Follow these instructions to learn how to buy the right pump and hire the right contractor.
Step 1: Find a Contractor
Because you should not attempt to do it yourself, you need to find a qualified contractor or installer to install your geothermal heat pump. You should contact the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium (www.geoexchange.org) and inquire about qualified installers in your area. Also, ask for references for any recommended installers and check them out first.
Step 2: Get a Site Evaluation
The first thing that your geothermal heat pump installation contractor should do is provide a site evaluation of your property. This evaluation will help determine the type of heat pump system that works best for your property as well as help determine how much tubing and other materials you will need. The type of geothermal heat system that the installer recommends will generally be determined by the type of soil and sediment in your property's foundation and area surrounding your home.
When performing the site evaluation, the installer will also take into account the hydrology of your property. The hydrology of your property simply refers to the amount of surface or ground water on your property. If you are situated next to a creek, pond or lake, the cost of installation for your geothermal hot heat pump can be reduced considerably as it will usually require far less tubing to be installed for your heat pump to produce comfortable cooling and heating levels in your home.
Step 3: Choose a Geothermal Heat Pump System
Once your installer has completed the evaluation of your property, they will offer you several choices of geothermal heat pump types for consideration. Geothermal heat pumps that use horizontal and vertical closed loops will be the easiest to install, while water-based and open-loop heat pump systems will require that you live in close proximity to a large body of surface water or groundwater. Consult with the installer to choose the geothermal heating system that works best for you and your home.
Step 4: Take Advantage of Incentives
Installing a new geothermal heat pump is not inexpensive and should be considered a major renovation for your home. However, many state agencies as well as the federal government offer various incentives to homeowners that install these types of heat pumps. Incentives include tax credits and tax reductions as well as incentives from banks and home lenders for making this improvement.