March 16, 2021
Energy Efficiency

Geothermal heating is delivered by geothermal or ground-source heat pumps. If you plan to live in your Peoria, IL, home for a long time, a geothermal heat pump is an excellent investment in your comfort. These heat pumps have a long lifespan. The underground parts typically last for 50 years, and the parts that are above-ground have an average lifespan of 25 years. In addition to the lifespan of a heating system, it’s also important to consider its energy efficiency. Here’s what you need to know about how efficient geothermal heating systems are and what their energy efficiency ratings mean.

What Makes a Geothermal Heating System Energy Efficient?

Geothermal heat pumps don’t burn any fuel. They move heat from below the frost line of the Earth into your home during the wintertime. A feature of heat pumps is their ability to reverse this cycle and function as an air conditioning system. In the summertime, the heat pump’s reversing valve allows it to transfer heat from within your home to the ground loop buried under the frost line. This cools your home. Because heat pumps don’t burn fuel to create heat, they’re more energy-efficient than any other type of heating system.

Difference Between a Geothermal and Air-source Heat Pump

An air-source heat pump transfers heat between your home and the outdoor air. A geothermal or ground source heat pump transfers heat between your home and The Earth. The ground loop is buried at least six feet below the frost line. At this depth, the Earth’s temperature is a consistent 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit all year long. Even if there’s an air temperature of 100 degrees or 0 degrees at the surface, the Earth’s temperature below the frost line doesn’t reach these extremes. That’s why the geothermal heat pump will efficiently heat your home even if the polar vortex arrives in Peoria and stays for a while.

Energy Efficiency of a Geothermal Heat Pump Compared to a Gas Furnace

For each one unit of power, a geothermal heat pump absorbs three units of energy from the Earth. This allows the geothermal heat pump to produce four units of output heat for your home. Geothermal heat pumps are 400% efficient. The most energy-efficient gas furnace you can buy has an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating of 98%. This means that a geothermal heat pump is 300% more efficient at heating your home than the best gas furnace on the market.

Heating Efficiency of Geothermal Heat Pumps

The energy efficiency of heat pumps is measured with the heating season performance factor (HSPF) rating. The most energy-efficient air-source heat pumps have HSPF ratings of 10. Geothermal heat pumps have HSPF ratings of 13 or higher. This means they’re more efficient at heating your home than other types of heat pumps.

Cooling Efficiency of Geothermal Heat Pumps

Cooling efficiency is measured with seasonal energy efficiency ratio(SEER) ratings. The SEER rating of the most energy-efficient central air conditioning systems is 20. The SEER rating of the most energy-efficient geothermal heat pumps is 30. With a geothermal heat pump, your home will use about 50% less energy for cooling in the summertime compared to what it would use with a central air conditioning system.

Geothermal Efficiency During Extremely Cold Weather

When the air temperature drops below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, air-source heat pumps have to use auxiliary heat. This consists of electric resistance wires, and they use a lot of electricity. Geothermal heat pumps rarely need to kick on the auxiliary heating system.

How Much Money Geothermal Heat Pumps Will Save

Over the course of a geothermal heating system’s lifespan, it will save a typical homeowner between $10,000 and $15,000. The exact amount of your savings will vary based on keeping up with routine maintenance, the temperature you set on the thermostat, how airtight your home is and whether or not you do thermostat setbacks or use a programmable thermostat.

Bratcher Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. is the trusted installation team for geothermal heating systems in Peoria. We’re also ready to install air conditioning systems, air- and water-source heat pumps, and furnaces. Our indoor air quality solutions, ductless systems, fireplaces, and boilers will keep your home comfortable and clean all year long. If you’re a business owner in the Peoria area, you can also turn to us for reliable commercial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services. For more information about the energy efficiency of geothermal heating systems, get in touch with us at Bratcher Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. today.

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