As the seasons change from spring to winter, temperatures fluctuate throughout the year. Some climates can range from blazing summers to chilly winters; Van Buren included. Did you know there is a pretty consistent temperature, regardless of climate or season, just below the ground?
The Earth's crust absorbs 47% of the sun's heat (energy) and is maintained in the ground a few feet below the surface. WaterFurnace geothermal systems draw from this free heat source with an earth loop. This ingenious technology salvages the sun's heat supplying your home or office with central heating and cooling.
Geothermal Heating and Cooling is often referred to as Geo-exchange, Geothermal, or Ground Source Heating and Cooling. They all mean the exact same thing, so don’t get confused by these names being interchanged.
Geothermal heating & cooling is not to be confused with a geothermal power plant. A geothermal power plant generates electricity using the core of the earth – we are not referring to this, ever. We are talking about using the crust of the earth to heat and cool a home or building; there is no lava or electricity generation involved.
Geothermal works because the ground beneath our feet is warmer than the outside air in the winter and cooler in the summer. Inserting a series of small pipes into the ground allows heat to be transferred to and from your home. In this process heat is not created, it is transported, therefore no fuel is burned.
The underground pipes, called a ground loop, circulate water which absorbs the heat from the earth and returns it to the indoor heat pump. The heat pump extracts the heat from the liquid then distributes it throughout your home as warm air. With the heat removed, the water is re-circulated to collect more heat from the ground. In this case, the loop water is warmer when it comes into the home than when it goes back into the earth since the heat is being removed.
The indoor heat pump takes the hot air from your home and removes the heat. This leaves behind cool air to be distributed through your vents as air-conditioning. The removed heat from the air is rejected into the earth through the ground loop. In this case, the water is warmer leaving the home then when it returns since heat is rejected into it. This is not a new technology, this is not a science experiment, this is not rocket science. In fact, in many European nations geothermal heating and cooling is the standard. In Sweden and Switzerland, more than 75% of new homes have geothermal. The EPA has acknowledged geothermal systems as the most energy efficient, environmentally clean, & cost-effective space conditioning systems available.
Using the earth loop, a WaterFurnace geothermal heat pump extracts the heat from the ground in the heating cycle. The geothermal system sucks the heat from the loops and passes this warmed air through a traditional duct system.
Additional available options include using that same heat to provide hot water and radiant floor heating.
During the cooling mode, cool, conditioned air is distributed throughout the house by doing the exact opposite as the heating process. Heat is not extracted, instead it is pushed into the ground. The warm heat is pulled from your home and transferred back into the earth loop. Your hot water heating can be fueled by this process as well.
If you're shopping for new HVAC equipment, it's probably because your existing equipment is nearing the end of its useful life or you're building a new house. Both scenarios require some level of investment.
What's the minimum you'd be happy with in your home? If you're considering geothermal it's very likely that efficiency is important to you. If the minimum you'd accept is a 16 SEER air conditioner paired with a 92 AFUE furnace, it makes sense to use that cost as a starting point for analysis because it represents the minimum amount of money you can spend and still be comfortable (literally).
Costs for a 16 SEER air conditioner and a 92 AFUE furnace can vary greatly—but it can reach $13,000 in many areas. Again, prices vary greatly based on several factors (geography, ground composition, size of home, equipment chosen, etc.), but let's assume the cost to install a geothermal heat pump in your area is $25,000. There's currently a 26 % US federal tax credit, decreasing each year through 2021. That's $6,500 as a credit on your taxes, not just a deduction. The initial cost difference between an ordinary system and a geothermal system is just $5,500. Your area may also have other additional incentives that won't be factored in for this calculation.
As you can see, the energy savings from a 16 SEER air conditioner and 92 AFUE furnace will NEVER pay you back during the life of the system. In fact, you'd still be over $10k in the hole when the system needed to be replaced at the end of the 16-year mark—putting you even farther from payback.
When the first WaterFurnace unit finally needs replacement at the end of the 25-year mark, the 2nd furnace and 2nd air conditioner will already be 1/3rd of the way through their expected lives—and you'd be $26,046 in the hole overall. Meanwhile, the WaterFurnace system will have already paid for itself through energy savings - and gone on to generate an additional $28,912.
Another important benefit of geothermal is that the underground energy collector has a life expectancy of more than 100 years. This means the original collector can be used with a second WaterFurnace unit—making the second system much cheaper.
The economics are even more dramatic for the second WaterFurnace system:
A homeowner who chooses a furnace and A/C will have gone through their 3rd (and started on their 4th) sets of equipment to match the lifespan of 2 geothermal units.
Net Zero homes are increasing in popularity as more and more people delve into the realm of renewable energy and realize the possibilities associated with it. Maybe you want to reduce your energy bills as much as you possibly can. Or maybe you just really want your home to be ultra-efficient and earth-friendly. By combining on-site power generation like solar or wind technology with energy-efficient construction and appliances, your home can collect enough energy as it needs to operate on an annual basis. Now that's smart.
One of the best and most effective ways to achieve net zero status is by installing a WaterFurnace geothermal comfort system. A geothermal system uses the solar heat stored in the earth, rather than creating heat for your home with fossil fuels. That's how it reduces utility bills more than any other heating and cooling solution.
Is your classic furnace or heat pump about to croak? Or do you just want to get rid of your inefficient equipment before it costs you an arm and a leg? WaterFurnace geothermal products provide a smart alternative for the replacement of older or inefficient equipment in the Van Buren, Arkansas area. Most units are simple to install and can be installed in areas unsuitable for fossil fuel furnaces. There is no combustion or need to vent exhaust gasses which means our equipment can be installed virtually anywhere.
If you have ductwork already installed in your home, you are starting the race ahead of the pack. If not, we can simply install ductwork so you can appreciate the comfort of geothermal to its full extent. Another heating method to consider is radiant in-floor heating. Picture walking on warm floors all winter long... We offer a unit that is capable of in-floor heating in association with forced air to provide you with the most comfortable heating possible - all while being a steward of the environment and saving money