Is Heating with Geothermal a Smart Investment?

January 29, 2014 Updated: April 24, 2016

With winter in full swing and dozens of states being hammered with constant below freezing and sometimes extremely dangerously cold wind chill warnings in effect, many people are struggling to keep up with heating costs. One way you may be able to reduce utilities in the future is to invest in geothermal heating and cooling. Of course, you have to own some land around your home in order to do this. And while you can likely start to see benefits fairly quickly, the biggest return comes years down the road.

How it Works

The ground naturally holds in heat and cool air, depending on the time of the year. Think about it – during the summer a deep cave is always cooler than outside of it. And during the winter, if you wander down into a cave, it’s warmer than outside of it. With geothermal, you lay pipes deep into the ground throughout the property surrounding your home and within your home. This pipe, most often made from high density polyethylene, carries a form of anti-freeze or water. This fluid carries with it the heat from the underground around your property and indirectly heats your home. During the summer, it carries that same heat the other way – pulling it out of your home.

You’re essentially heating and cooling your home for free by using what the good old earth is already by providing. The only thing you’re paying for once everything’s in place is the electricity used to run the pump. You can even heat your water if you use a desuperheater.

How long does it take to break even financially?

Depending on where you live, it could cost about the same to replace your heat furnaces or to install geothermal. Or it could cost a bit more or a bit less. A good chunk of the cost will come from how easy it is to dig and install the pipelines. Someplace easy to dig will be cheaper than some place where the underground is full of rock and require more specialized equipment and services to get the pipe installed.

But generally speaking, you can expect to break even about seven years down the road. After that, it’s all tax-free profit on your investment. If you find that it’s just not something you’re confident in investing in yet, but you need to find more affordable solutions for heating then you can look into energy efficient electric radiators. We bought one from Amazon (they have many to choose from.) Or you can learn more about electric radiators direct and the different possibilities that are available in the U.K.