With 17 years in the geothermal industry and over 15,000 geothermal installations, we've received many questions from our customers. We believe that providing accurate answers to these questions gives our customers the knowledge to make informed decisions regarding their heating and cooling needs. Hopefully the answers to our top five most commonly asked questions will be the answers you are looking for.
1. Is geothermal for everyone?
Whether you live in an existing home or are looking to build new, geothermal is for anyone that currently has a forced air system, radiant in-floor or is willing to retrofit their home.
2. How do tax credits and utility rebates make geothermal an affordable option for me?
A geothermal system qualifies for a 30 percent tax credit with no cap. Depending on your tax liability, this means a $20,000 system would get you a $6,000 federal tax credit and depending on which state you live in, you may also qualify for an additional state tax credit. These credits combined with utility rebates, can make a geothermal system just as affordable as a conventional heating and cooling system.
3. Don't I need a large yard in order to consider geothermal?
No! There are several geothermal loop field options available that can accommodate almost any size yard. A typical vertical loop field requires only 12 ft. x 12 ft. of space; whereas a horizontal slinky loop requires an area of approximately 60 ft. x 140 ft. Another popular method is directional boring which disturbs very little existing yard by boring under the yard's surface from a central point.
4. We know the ground temperature is around 55 degrees year around. What can I expectthe air temperature at my registers to be?
Through the winter your register air temperature will vary from 95 to 125 degrees depending on the demand and fan speed; while in the summer it is 15-25 degrees cooler than the thermostat setting.
5. How much can I expect to save with geothermal?
The amount of savings depends on whether you currently use gas, propane or other fuel sources and what their current rates are. Typically, our customers spend around $500 annually on all of their heating, cooling and water heating. The average consumer can save up to 70 percent on their utility expenses. In order to equal geothermal's cost of operation, you would need to buy propane or natural gas for approximately $0.28 per gal/therm compared to a $.04 geothermal electric rate. Many utility companies will lower the electrical rate for customers operating a geothermal system. We always recommend that you contact your local electric company to determine the actual rate you would receive.
This expert insight is by Jake Rabe, co-owner of Rabe Hardware and an experienced geothermal installer. Rabe Hardware is an Enertech dealer.
Jake Rabe grew up around the family business, Rabe Hardware Inc., where he began learning about home mechanical services at an early age. He joined the Marine Corp and served as an F-18 fighter jet mechanic during the Gulf War. In 1994, Jake and his wife became owners of Rabe Hardware and have since developed the business into Iowa’s leader in the geothermal industry. Jake has more than 17 years experience and has done more than 1,500 geothermal installations.