TACL B15309C





Question: How come my home doesn’t have it , or why does my builder not recommend it?


Answer: Builders live in a competitive market and care more about final selling price, and tend to spend money on appearance items instead of home operating cost items. Not their fault. Fancy looks sells better than month to month operating efficiency.  Also, this is fairly recent technology and builders, like everyone else, are slow to change their ways. Third of all, all tax incentives are based for consumers, not builders. That is to say, a builder has nothing to gain by installing the best heating and cooling system available, except maybe a few points for being energy conscious. Builders also tend to have a list of long time subcontractors they depend on, and few, if any, have geothermal experience or training. They want to stick to their ways, and tell everyone that Geo AC and Heat is A) Way too expensive, and B) Overrated , will not produce what they claim. Both are untrue, and 20 plus years of active residential geo systems in place are showing the real value. Basically, installing Geothermal AC and Heat serves the buyer more than the builder, so it is not high on a builder’s sell list.


Question: If this technology is so good, and really saves 50% on our utility cost, why isn’t it all over the news?


Answer:  Simply, bad news travels quicker than good. That is to say, more money is made by talking about global warming, and ozone loss, air pollution, than energy saving solutions. For instance, we can all go out and buy a 50 MPG Hybrid car, but little is said about that in the news. The geothermal technology is not really new, but has been growing steadily over the last 30 years. As energy costs rise, the geothermal AC and Heat makes better sense. My personal estimate, as an industry professional, is that Geothermal AC and Heat will be the norm, not the exception within 15 years. Of course, by then, it may be a government requirement.


Question: That all sounds great, but how much does it cost to install, and how can I expect to come up with money up front?


Answer: It’s true that the up front cost is higher, probably about double the cost of a conventional high-efficiency system due to the ground loops system. Open loop systems are much less expensive to use if the conditions are right. (see our geothermal page for more info) Either way , the payback period is typically 8-12 yrs or so and if built into a mortgage for new construction, the additional payment per month may be offset by the energy cost savings. Low interest financing is available. Monthly savings should be offset by energy savings. Once in place, the ground loops system lasts essentially forever, and replacing the actual unit itself, which has a 20-25 yr lifespan, is comparable to replacement costs of a conventional system.


Question: I asked my regular AC guy whom I’ve trusted for years, and he told me geothermal AC is troublesome, too expensive, doesn’t really save that much and overrated.


Answer: We hear this more often than not. Simply put, the technology is not new, has been well tested, revised and proven over the last 30 years.  While the original systems worked well, the newer systems are exceptional. Unit life spans exceeding 20 years are the norm, and the ground loop system, once installed, is maintenance free and has a lifespan well exceeding conventional methods of ac and heat. Frankly, conventional air to air (outdoor unit) systems have just about maximized the efficiency capabilities within reason, but geothermal units are still being designed more efficiently every year.


Question: I thought geothermal energy was tapping into high heat from the Earth’s core.


Answer: Technically that is correct. True geothermal is the use of high heat from underground in certain areas where it can be tapped without great depth. Most of Iceland is powered with geothermal steam energy. A more local example is “Old Faithful” in Yellowstone Park. However, the word geothermal has been misused to also include the HVAC application, which is actually better called ground source heat pumps, or geo-exchange. It seems “geothermal” has stuck , but does need clarification.

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Serving the greater Houston, Texas area, including Tomball, Cypress, Waller, Magnolia, Montgomery, Conroe, The Woodlands, Willis, Kingwood, Crosby, Huntsville, Galveston, Pearland, Brazoria, Sugarland, Richmond, Katy,

Question: I like the efficiency and concept of geothermal, but the up front cost does not work for me or I don't intend to say at my place long enough the see the savings. What is the next best thing?


Answer: Most manufacturers are coming up with variable speed compressor units with invertor technology, that automatically adjust speed to match the actual load on the house. Efficiency starts at 18 seer and runs higher at lower speeds where they run most of the time. Find out more here…..BOSCH INVERTOR HEAT PUMPS