Geothermal Power

Geothermal Heat Pumps Buyers Guide [2018]

Geothermal heat pumps are the alternative energy sources to provide heating and cooling requirements in residential and commercial buildings. For a record, they are the best compared to the solar, wind and air-source heat pump in terms of reliability and stability because the temperature below ground is steady.

Geothermal Power System -New-Zealand

Geothermal Power System -New-Zealand

While it may seem too exorbitant to purchase and install these pumps, within a short period of time they will have paid for themselves. On top of that, the government can issue incentives and tax credits for the installation of geothermal heat pumps.

This guide was compiled to guide you in installing these efficient heating and cooling systems. We know how daunting it can get to deal with the technical jargons. We strive to help you understand the geothermal heat pumps so that you can make an informed purchase.

How do geothermal heat pump systems work?

Geothermal heat pumps work by absorbing the heat that has been stored in the ground. This is achieved by using water to circulate in the loops that are installed underground, depending on the horizontal and vertical designs. Water then carries the heat to the heat pump in the house which will then be used in the household for various purposes. The underground temperature is stable, and so it emerges as the most reliable when compared with other HVAC systems.

How to install geothermal heat pump systems?

To install the geothermal heat pump systems is not a complicated process, but requires a highly technical-know how. Firstly, you have to assess the geological and hydrological characteristics of your yard. Because pipes have to be installed underground, it is important to choose a place that has few limitations. You can choose between horizontal and vertical types depending on the space allocations in your place.

The place must be big enough to dig and install pipes. Watch this short YouTube video to get a glimpse of the installation process.

Geothermal heat pump types – best geothermal heat pump type

Vertical geothermal heat pumps

Vertical geothermal heat pumps

The types of geothermal heat pump include horizontal system and vertical system. These vary in the way the system is being installed due to some space constraints. Performance-wise, they are not different. With a horizontal system, you have to dig the ground to about 6 feet then lay pipes to generate heat for your home. The horizontal system is ideal for residential homes with plenty of space in the yard.

The vertical system involves laying pipes vertically in holes that are dug about 80 feet. The pipes will work in conjunction with the heat pump in the house to generate heat. While the vertical and horizontal heat pump types seem to be prevalent and the main ones, they are not the only ones on the market. We still have the pond/lake and the ground loop systems.

The closed loop system use the direct heat exchange where the anti-freeze solution is circulated in a closed loop made of a plastic tube. It can be submerged in water or installed in the ground. This system is, however, not popular because some local environmental regulations may prohibit it since it uses refrigerant circulated underground. The other unpopular system is the pond/lake which requires an abundance of water. A pipe is installed underground from the water to the home to generate heat.

Choose the right installer

One of the most important considerations when installing geothermal heat pumps is the best installer. To avoid compromising the efficiency of your system, we encourage you to choose the best installer based on a proven record with previous clients. Consult with his previous clients to enquire about his excellence.

Do geothermal heat pumps use electricity?

Geothermal heat pumps do not rely on electricity unlike the conventional HVAC systems. The main purpose of these systems is to make use of the stored heat from earth to your home. Only the fans and the compressor require the electric power. The cost is, however, infinitesimal compared to how traditional heating and cooling systems consume.

How much does geothermal heat pumps cost per ton?

The United States Department of Energy has specified the price per ton of a geothermal heat pump as $2500. This cost includes the heat pump and the ground loop. But, usually, a residential apartment may need more than one ton. For 3 tons, you will spend $7500. The good part is that, there are tax credits and incentives when purchasing alternative energy systems.

Do geothermal heat pumps work in cold climates?

Yes, they do work efficiently in cold climates. This is the advantage of these systems when compared to other heat systems such as the air-source heat pumps which depend on the outside heat. The temperature underneath the ground is stable and reliable throughout the climates.

How long do geothermal heat pumps last for?

The components of this system – the heat pumps in the house, can last up to 25 years, while the ground loop lasts up to 50 years. This duration is dependent on your maintenance schedules.

How long do geothermal heat pumps take to pay for themselves?

It can take between 2 and 10 years. This, however, depends on several factors such as the soil condition, climate, features and financial options that include tax credits and incentives. Although the start-up costs are expensive, it will save you energy bills in a long run.

What companies build geothermal heat pumps?

These are numerous companies that build geothermal heat pumps. These include GeoSmart Energy in Canada, WaterFurnace International Inc. in USA, EnLink Geoenergy Services Inc. in USA, Finn Geotherm in United Kingdom, and Bair Necessities Geothermal Heating & Cooling in USA. There are still many as shown in the aforementioned link.

Do geothermal heat pumps need a lot of maintenance?

No, they do not need a lot of maintenance. However, maintenance is vital to improve longevity of the systems. Some components such as filters and fans need to be maintained. A failure to maintain these systems could incur extravagant repair costs.

Warranty period for geothermal heat pumps

The warranty of these pumps can depend on certain builders. Typically, it can take up to 10 years of warranty.

Wrap up!

With this buyer’s guide, we are confident that you will be able to make an informed purchase. It becomes easy to pick the best product when you have superb knowledge about how it works.


  1. we are designing a fully accessible 1,650 sf residence for an aging couple… a geothermal system will probably be part of the project… looking for contractors in Connecticut to whom I can speak about bidding the project… any names and contact information will be appreciated… thanks…

    Joe P…. Architect/State Building Official

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