Home » Geothermal Energy Pros and Cons – Is It Right For You?

Geothermal Energy Pros and Cons – Is It Right For You?

Geothermal energy pros and cons may help you save a substantial amount of money on your annual power bill if grasped properly.

Did you know that the main cost of your energy bill is from the cooling and heating efforts of your home? This can not only cost a pretty penny each month, it also is a major contributing factor to the problem of environment pollution when fossil fuels are used. However, with recent innovations, there are several options that are available. For example, one that is becoming increasingly popular is the use of geothermal energy.

While it may not be for everyone, it has many benefits that provide an excellent source of alternative energy for heating and cooling your home. It is important to fully grasp both the pros and cons of geothermal energy to determine if it is right for you.

How Geothermal Energy Works

When you incorporate geothermal energy into your home you will be utilizing a ground source heat pump, which will be responsible for heating and cooling your entire home. This type of heat pump will be composed of an air distribution system, which will have pipes that extend the perimeter of the house and are buried under the ground. The geothermal system will work from the energy that is provided underground.

This is because the Earth’s temperature remains constant and is not affected by changes in the outside weather. Geothermal energy is very similar to solar power. It can be obtained in low intensity at a shallow depth, which makes it perfect for the heating and cooling purposes of you home.

Prior to deciding if a geothermal energy system is right for you, you should consider the geothermal energy pros and cons of the system.

Geothermal Energy Pros and Cons

Pros of Using Geothermal Energy

Some of the benefits of a geothermal energy system include the following factors.

Saving Money

When you install a geothermal energy system you can cut your cooling and heating costs by 20 to 80 percent. The actual amount that you will save is dependent on several factors, which include the previous use of energy of you home and the efficiency rating that was given to the heat pump that you have installed.

Additionally the ground source heat pump may actually wind up paying for itself. Again, how long this takes will be dependent on the surrounding factors of the heat pumps installation. For example, when a geothermal energy heat pump is installed in a new construction project they will pay for themselves in a more expedited time period. Typically, they will pay for themselves in a time period of two to 10 years.

Diverse Uses

There are some geothermal energy heat pumps that can actually be used to heat your water. This means that you will lessen the cost of hot water production by your water heater, saving you even more money.

Environmentally Friendly

When you opt to incorporate a geothermal energy source for powering your homes cooling and heating system, you are choosing a renewable source of energy. This means that it can never be used up. Since the power is essentially coming from the ground, this source will always be available and always be able to be obtained at a lower rate than non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels. The simple fact is that fossil fuels are becoming more and scarcer with each passing year, which means implementing a new source of energy now may provide less hassle in the future.

Additionally, you will substantially reduce the amount of pollution by opting for a geothermal energy source. In fact, with the low amount of geothermal systems that are being used today, there has been almost six million metric tons of carbon dioxide saved.

There are other pros of geothermal energy that will be appealing to you as well, which include:

  • This method of heating is almost completely emission free.
  • There is absolutely no carbon released.
  • It can remove the sulfur that may have been released with other methods.
  • There is no type of fuel needed for the running of geothermal energy. This means that there is no mining of fossil fuels or need to transport them for energy purposes.
  • There are no fluctuations in the heat or cooling capabilities due to the consistency of the ground.
  • Geothermal energy has the smallest carbon footprint of any of the major power sources.

Cons of Using Geothermal Energy

Cost of Installation

Since geothermal energy is still a relatively new concept for private home use, it is still expensive to install. This is especially true when you compare it to the cost of traditional furnaces or air conditioning units. As the technology continues to improve and become more widely available, the costs too will go down. Additionally, over time the initial installation costs will be covered by the energy savings that you receive. However, if you do not have the extra funds specifically for this purpose, you may find the cost to be a financial burden.

Cost of Powering the Pump

The fact is that even though you will be using the grounds energy to heat and cool your home, you will still need electricity to power the heat pump that makes the entire system work. While your costs may be less, you will still have a payment due for the energy supplied to the heat pump.

Large Land Consumption

When you begin installing a geothermal energy system you will need quite a bit of land to have it properly installed. The pipes are supposed to be laid out in a horizontal pattern, however for an extra cost you can have this done in a vertical pattern.

In addition to the cons listed above there are several other potentially negative factors of this source of energy, which include:

  • Where the system can be installed is extremely location specific and typically must be located far away from large centers of population.
  • There are extremely high costs associated with the installation of the equipment.
  • There is a minimum temperature requirement of at least 350 degrees Fahrenheit required for the system to perform at optimum levels.
  • You must be careful when using the heat and not overuse the system.

You should carefully consider the pros and cons of geothermal energy prior to purchasing the system. While the initial cost may be more, the long term savings are definitely worth the investment. In addition to the savings that you can achieve you can also protect and conserve the environment by reducing the amount of fossil fuels you use and the amount of pollution that you produce.

The Bottom Line when Considering Geothermal Energy Advantages and Disadvantages

The simple fact is that geothermal energy is an environmentally friendly way to heat and cool your home. Additionally, it is sustainable with a virtually endless supply. There are no limitations to the amount that you can use, simply because it will never run out. Geothermal energy is also extremely reliable. These truths make the use of geothermal power a “no brainer” in certain areas, especially for big businesses. However, due to the high costs of installation that must be paid up front, there are many areas and homes that have not been able to witness the full potential of these systems for themselves.

The impact that geothermal energy will have on society’s overall energy sources in the future is dependent on several factors. These factors include advances in technology that are made to decrease the cost of the systems, as well as the energy prices. The fact is that no one can actually determine the conditions of the energy situation even a few decades down the road; however it is predicted that geothermal energy will play a large role in the heating and cooling of many homes in the near future.

You should carefully consider the pros and cons of geothermal energy prior to deciding if it is something you want to implement in your home. Choosing to do so will require a big investment. If you have the funds available it is a smart option. However, because of this large cost there are many people who are hesitant to embark on the geothermal energy train because of this investment. However, as the cost is lowered with new technology and innovative products you will also see an increase in the availability and use of geothermal energy.

So the question comes down to: Is geothermal energy right for you? This is a decision that requires you to analyze your energy needs and if using this type of power will benefit you and your family. Chances are the many benefits that are offered will far outweigh the negatives, however taking time to consider all the contributing factors will help you make an educated decision about this energy source. The first step you can take in this research is to consider all of the pros and cons of geothermal energy that are found here, which will help to lead you to your final decision.

 

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