A geothermal system is technically a heat pump, meaning it can be used to both cool or heat your home. So, if this system can be used during either the cold or the warm seasons, is there really a perfect time to invest in one of these systems? Actually, the best time to install one of these systems has nothing to do with the season. Rather, it has to do entirely with you and your own situation. Keep reading and we’ll explain.
It’s All About the Longevity
The thing about geothermal systems is that they’re one of the longest-lasting heating and cooling systems on the market. The average furnace or air conditioner lasts between 15 and 20 years, and top-of-the-line heat pumps will last over 20 years.
As for the geothermal system? Well, the components inside the home will last between 20 and 25 years, like a standard heat pump. However, the other half of the system—the metal loops that are buried underneath the ground and make the “geothermal” part possible—can last as many as 50 years before needing a replacement!
So if you’re looking for the perfect time to invest in a geothermal system, it has much less to do about the season and more to do about when you’re personally ready for one. There’s no sense installing a geothermal system if you plan to move away within the next ten years.
Are They Worth Keeping That Long?
As it stands currently, geothermal systems are indeed one of the most efficient systems on the market.
For one, heat pumps are already incredibly efficient. But a geothermal system takes the heat pump one step further by using the ground as the source for heat transfer.
A typical air-source heat pump may lose efficiency during the colder months of the year. They typically require the use of auxiliary heating functions or a gas-furnace backup to make up the difference.
For ground-source heat pumps, they won’t have to deal with this drawback. The temperature below the ground stays consistent all year-round, so it doesn’t matter whether it’s sweltering or snowing up above.
Geothermal systems are certainly worth it if they plan to be used for decades. However, if you’re not truly committed to using it for that long of a timeframe, you might balk at the cost of installation, which will be much higher than your average AC or furnace installation.
What Are the Alternatives?
If you’re not fully committed to a geothermal system, or if you need cooling and heating for just a few years, you’re best off going with a system that is inexpensive to install and runs without much trouble. For example:
- If you already have gas lines installed, a natural gas furnace will be easy to install and inexpensive to operate.
- If you’re not able to use gas, the electric furnace is a clean and even easier to install alternative.
- When it comes to cooling, your standard central AC will be sufficient.
Air-source heat pumps are fine choices, but due to their longevity, you might find yourself investing more than you’re willing to spend for a system that you’ll just leave behind anyways.