When you're building a new home, you have a unique opportunity to customize most everything in that home to your needs and preferences. One thing you really want to spend some time thinking about is your heating system. While going with a standard furnace may seem like the simplest option, there's another choice that will surely pay off in the long run -- geothermal heating and cooling.
What is geothermal heating and cooling?
Geothermal heating systems are systems that take advantage of the nearly constant temperature of the soil deep below ground. They consist of a network of pipes that carry water throughout this soil. In the winter, the water in the pipes is warmed by the soil and carries that heat back into the home. In the summer, the water is cooled by the soil and then carries that coolness back into the home. You only have one system — not a separate heater and air conditioner.
Geothermal systems are typically integrated with forced air HVAC systems, so the warmed or cooled air is simply blown through your home. In moderate climates, the geothermal system alone should be able to keep your home a comfortable temperature throughout the year. However, in harsher climates (such as where winter temperatures regularly plummet below 10 degrees F), you may need a backup heater or AC unit for the harshest days.
Why is this such a good choice for new homes?
Geothermal systems are extensive since they have such large networks of pipes. They're really hard to retrofit to existing homes, but relatively easy to install in new homes. If you change your mind and want geothermal heating later on, installing it may not be a possibility — so it's important to take advantage of this opportunity now.
Geothermal heating is revered for its sustainability and low energy use. The only energy used is electricity to drive the water through the pipes and force the air through the registers. There's no fuel combustion, so less pollution is generated and you won't be paying for gas or propane.
Geothermal systems operate quietly. Also, since the majority of the system is located below ground, you don't have to worry about it being an eyesore as you would with an above-ground heat pump.
To learn more about geothermal heating and whether or not it's the best choice for your new home, talk to an HVAC contractor in your area, such as H.R. Stewart Inc. It may cost a bit more than a standard furnace and AC unit upfront, but you'll save a lot on energy over the years.