The Top 8 Geothermal Heating and Cooling Myths

Would it surprise you to learn that a geothermal heat pump system could cut your home’s energy bills by as much as 80 percent? Geothermal HVAC technology is relatively simple but highly effective, and those who choose to install a geothermal system to meet their heating and cooling needs seldom if ever come to regret that decision.

Perhaps because geothermal HVAC is still relatively unknown, a number of misconceptions have sprung up about its characteristics and effectiveness. We’d like to dispel these myths, which may be discouraging some from exploring this promising eco-friendly technology.

Myth #1: Geothermal heating and cooling systems are not really renewable because they still use electricity.

For every unit of energy it consumes a geothermal HVAC system creates the equivalent of five units of heating or cooling performance. With conventional technologies all of this work would require the burning of additional fossil fuels, but geothermal uses temperature differentials between surface and ground to make it happen naturally and renewably.

Myth #2: Solar and wind energy are far more efficient than geothermal.

For every extra kilowatt of power that solar and wind systems add to the electrical grid, geothermal systems reduce the grid’s load by four kilowatts (per dollar spent).

Myth #3: Geothermal piping systems require large expanses of outdoor space.

Underground polyethylene pipes used in geothermal systems can often be installed in the ground vertically, which cuts down on their horizontal spread significantly.

Myth #4: Geothermal systems inject refrigerant into the ground, which can cause groundwater contamination if it leaks.

The piping loops used in geothermal heat pump systems use water only, which continuously circulates and would present no danger if it ever leaked (which it seldom does).

Myth #5: Geothermal heat pumps are loud and annoying.

We honestly aren’t sure how this idea originated, but it is completely false. A properly functioning geothermal system is as quiet as a church mouse on a Sunday morning.

Myth #6: Geothermal equipment wears out in a few years’ time.

Underground pipe loops should last indefinitely, provided you don’t live in an earthquake hot spot. As for the compressor and air handler, they are installed indoors and if properly maintained should last for 15-20 years.

Myth #7: Geothermal HVAC technology is relatively feeble, so back-up heating and cooling equipment is always required.

Geothermal HVAC systems installed in extreme environments may be supplemented by back-up equipment, but in most climates this will not be necessary if the geothermal system purchased has been properly sized.

Myth #8: Without federal or local tax breaks geothermal is not cost-competitive.

It’s true, there are tax incentives available that can reduce the price of a geothermal heat pump system by 30 percent or more. But these exist because governments want to encourage energy-efficiency technology, not because geothermal is uncompetitive without them. Geothermal HVAC systems can cut your energy costs by up to four-fifths and that is what makes them a solid financial investment.

Cardinal Heating & A/C: Your Seattle Area Source for Geothermal HVAC Systems

It isn’t always easy to find HVAC contractors that sell and install geothermal heating and cooling systems.

But if you own a home in the greater Seattle area you are in luck. At Cardinal Heating & A/C we have extensive experience with geothermal, and if you’re interested in this groundbreaking (figuratively and literally) technology please contact us at your convenience and we can meet to discuss your options.

Follow us here for the most accurate and up-to-date information about cutting edge HVAC technology and indoor air quality maintenance.

Ten Myths About Geothermal Heating And Cooling


Geothermal heating and cooling systems offer impressive benefits; they operate very efficiently and need relatively little maintenance. Unfortunately, a number of myths often discourage people from using this environment-friendly HVAC option:

1. Myth: Geothermal equipment does not have the ability to concurrently perform several different heating tasks. Truth: It is possible to heat rooms, a swimming pool and household water with the same system.

2. Falsehood: Wind turbines and solar panels work more effectively. Reality: For the same amount of money, geothermal quadruples the electricity savings of wind or solar.

3. Misconception: The typical geothermal cooling or heating system produces considerable amounts of noise. Actuality: This equipment operates rather quietly, and it is largely hidden from view.

4. Myth: These systems require electricity, so they are not sustainable. Truth: They consume one-fifth as much power as it would take to cool or heat a home with conventional electric units.

5. Falsehood: It does not make sense to buy geothermal equipment without tax credits. Reality: The latest technology and installation techniques are bringing costs near to the prices of standard HVAC systems.

6. Misconception: This equipment is just useful for heating. Truth: It performs equally well for cooling purposes. Secondary systems are unnecessary in many regions.

7. Myth: The pipes require a homeowner to have many acres of land. Truth: Aquifers and vertical installation often give people the ability to use geothermal HVAC on small lots.

8. Falsehood: These heating and cooling systems need costly replacements. Actuality: They last several decades, and it is almost always possible to replace individual components instead of the entire system.

9. Misconception: This HVAC option rapidly consumes water and may cause wells to run dry. Reality: Modern geothermal systems may draw water from aquifers, but they send all of it back.

10. Myth: Refrigerant must run through lines in the ground. Truth: The vast majority of geothermal units just send water through underground lines.

The reality is that geothermal heating and cooling provides a low-maintenance alternative that cuts emissions, reduces ongoing expenses and minimizes noise. Please check back regularly for further useful information on HVAC technology.

Enjoy The Cost Efficiency And Environmental Benefits Of A Geothermal Heat Pump

The geothermal heat pump is gaining in popularity among homeowners who are seeking an efficient, sustainable, and clean energy resource to heat and cool their homes. Given the environmental aspect of using a geothermal system, federal, state, and local governments have established tax benefits and low interest loan programs that can make going geothermal both cost effective and earth friendly.

In fact, a geothermal heat pump gets its power to heat and cool directly from the very earth we walk on. Just 10 feet below the surface, depending on latitude, the earth holds its temperature steady at 45F to 75F degrees, no matter what is happening on the surface in the way of frigid temperatures or heat waves. So the ground is warmer than the air in winter and cooler in the summer.

A water-based geothermal heat pump uses a system of pipes that are buried shallow in the ground to circulate the water or other fluids. The system is made up simply of these pipes, duct work or an air delivery system, and a ground heat exchanger. During the winter, the pump removes the heat from the heat exchanger a pipes it inside. In the summer, the system reverses and it pump removes heat from the air through the ground heat exchanger.

Using this system, these types of heat pumps can cool and heat a home with a 300 to 600 percent efficiency compared with air source heat pumps that run at 175 to 250 percent efficiency, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A dual-sourced heat pump, or one that combines the best of both air and geothermal, is less efficient that a totally geothermal system, but can cost less to install and still maintains a higher efficiency than air heat pumps alone.

Installing a geothermal system is decidedly more costly than an air heat pump system, several times more costly. However, the EPA estimates that homeowners can make up the cost in five or 10 years of use. Also consider the lifespan of the unit, which is about 25 years for the internal components and as much as 50 years and more for the ground loop parts, the EPA suggests, making it completely sustainable.

To encourage homeowners to take advantage of this clean energy resource, the federal government as well as state and local governments have come up with a series of incentives, from Energy Star low interest loans for the purchaser, to tax credits that go directly to the consumer in the year of purchase. Anyone considering a geothermal system should definitely look into benefits that both the federal and local authorities may offer.

Once you decide to invest in geothermal energy, you will have to select between four types of systems. There are the closed loop systems — vertical, horizontal, and pond/lake. Another type, the open loop, uses a water source to draw from and returns the water to the pond or lake. All systems are available for residential use, but will depend on such factors as climate, type of soil, local ordinances, and local installation costs.