Annual energy savings make geothermal a smart alternative to propane
Tanks filled with gallons of propane sit outside the homes of millions of Americans. The fuel is doing more than putting warmth into those homes this winter.
It’s also pumping up homeowners’ utility rates.
Last winter saw major demand for propane, resulting in the highest rates for the fuel since 2000. Geothermal heating provides an efficient alternative to propane heating, saving as much as 80 percent in heating costs compared to propane. Because geothermal uses the earth’s constant temperature homeowners are not susceptible to fuel and delivery price spikes.
Homeowners also don’t have to worry about running out of fuel or waiting for deliveries. Geothermal continually pumps warm air throughout the structure.
Another selling point is the visually appeal of geothermal systems. Propane tanks can be large, rusty and unsightly. Geothermal loops are buried underground and out of sight, while the accompanying pump can be located in a garage, closet or basement.
And while many contend that the cost of geothermal puts such systems financially out of reach, the annual energy savings associated with geothermal allows users to recoup their initial cost within five to 10 years. There is also a 30 percent federal tax credit available that can bring about a break-even point more quickly.
Those who invest in geothermal find, too, that their systems last for the long-term. On average, geothermal units have a lifespan of roughly 25 years, though many have been in use much longer. And the underground pipes that harness the underground energy can last more than 100 years. Propane furnaces, meanwhile, run for 15 to 20 years.