If you know someone in the heating and air business, you may have heard them mention geothermal heat pumps. While they may just sound like another heating/cooling system among the hundreds of flashy sounding options, Geothermal heat has become a resource which can cut down your utility bills up to 70%!
What is geothermal heat?
Geothermal heat is the constant temperature range produced in the earth. Despite the constantly changing weather outside, underground the earth maintains higher temperatures from absorbed sun rays.
How do geothermal heat pumps work?
Geothermal heat pumps work similar to regular heat pumps with a few differences:
- ‘Loops’ of pipes containing a water solution are buried underground, and connected to your heat pump system. These can be installed horizontally or vertically in the ground near your home.
- Using the water heater in tandem, heat is either extracted or exited through these loops, and ventilated through your home. It isn’t generating heat, but is instead moving the underground temperature around to facilitate your needs.
Compare this to how regular heat pumps work:
- Air based heat pumps are just as sophisticated in technology to ground based. To sum up how an air based heat pump works: Heat is energy, and when a material changes from one state to another (liquid to gas or vice versa), it absorbs or disperses energy around it as needed. Heat pumps utilize this basic method with a compressor, and once energy has been gathered, disperses it throughout your home as needed.
- When the desired effect is cooling, the process is reversed, and the heat is shifted out of your home through the same process of absorbing and dispersing energy.
How is a geothermal heat pump better than a regular heat pump?
- Geothermal heat is energy efficient/green – as the heat is being pulled from a natural resource, the system doesn’t have to work as hard as an outdoor unit.
- Cost is reduced – With less energy being used, your utility cost will virtually torpedo downward to a fraction of what you were paying before
- Runs more quietly – a geothermal heat pump has a less noisy mechanism than a regular heat pump.
- Installed inside your home – this means less repairs and maintenance from weather.
As always, it’s best to consult a geothermal heating and cooling savannah professional for an insight to what heating/cooling system would serve you best!
Has your HVAC system stopped working correctly, or shown signs of needing repairs?
Maybe you’re a little tight on cash this week, and can’t afford to call the repairman at the drop of a hat. Can you fix it yourself, or should you pick up the phone?
The good news is there are some steps you can take in repairing/maintaining your HVAC system yourself which will often help significantly. The bad news is that past these steps, repair of your system can become dangerous to untrained people. It’s because of this we want to include this warning:
Do not try to repair or work on your HVAC system beyond these steps! Call a professional. A visit from your local specialist is always cheaper than a personal injury!
- Examine Your Thermostat: Replace the batteries in your thermostat, and test it by setting it ten degrees colder or warmer than the outdoor temperature. This can be an important small fix, as your thermostat is the brain telling your HVAC when to work.
- Check The Circuit Breaker: It is possible that power is not getting to your HVAC system because of a tripped circuit. Flip the switch, and check the master switches on the inside and outside units to make sure they’re receiving electricity. (Even if flipping the switch works, we suggest you consult an HVAC specialist. Most will be willing to explain why the circuit is being tripped.)
- Press The System Reset Button: Resetting the unit can fix some minor mechanical hiccups which could cause the system to act irregularly. It can be surprising how useful this step is!
- Change Your Filter: Dirt build up in the return vent of the HVAC system can cause issues for the device and waste money while the machine is working harder to regulate the temperature.
- Clean Up Around The Unit: Clear anything that could be obstructing airflow; grass, ice, as these can have the same difficulties as the step above. You can even buy a commercial grade coil cleaner, but remember, do not open the unit! Working inside the casing could cause damage to both the unit and yourself!
- Moving The Furniture: It’s important to make sure that vents are also not blocked or obstructed from passing air from one place to another. It’s pretty common to have a vent under your couch that you don’t know about, so investigate!
So you’ve tried all these things, and nothing’s changed! Your unit is still working poorly or not working at all. Well, at this point, it’s time to call a professional.
Remember to take note of all the symptoms of your dysfunctioning unit for the service-man to get the problem solved as quickly as possible, and always remember to perform maintenance in between repairs!
Keeping the family cool in the summer and warm in winter is high on the list of any homeowner. Yet the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system is the most expensive part of the home outside the actual structure. Getting the money to replace or upgrade an HVAC system can be difficult but there are ways to do it and all it takes is a little bit of research and planning.
The First Step
Obviously what is needed depends on if one is replacing an older unit or adding to an existing system. Luckily for most people, the former is more likely and has the best chance of there being programs to help defray the cost. There are both state and federal programs out there which are there to help homeowners upgrade older HVAC systems for newer, greener and energy efficient models. However there are many that this is done.
The most common method is through tax credits. There is the Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency program which helps lessen the cost of many types of HVAC systems. Many states have similar programs which can be compared via the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency. (DSIRE) The advantage to this site is that it not only lists state programs but also incentive programs sponsored by local utilities. Many larger cities also have their own programs.
One can take a small home loan by borrowing against the home’s equity. This could be done via a normal banking lender or could be done through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) home improvement loan program.
There are also many governmental and utility sponsored grant programs (some of which will show up on the DSIRE website) for low income families. At the federal level, there is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which aim to help reduce heating/cooling bills via newer and more energy efficient HVAC models.
Not every HVAC upgrade is planned. There are many difference grant programs which are targeted towards those whose system suddenly fails and needs to be replaced especially in the winter. While most are offered by governments or utilities, many are available from church and charity organizations. These emergency grants are usually to the tune of $1,000 which won’t pay for a full HVAC system but can certainly go towards helping paying that months mortgage!
Not sure who to go to for an installation, or more info on HVAC matters? Check out how to find the right HVAC professionals for you, HERE.