Is Geothermal Worth the Price? Essay

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Is Geothermal Worth the Price? The rising cost of energy has given homeowners the opportunity to explore alternatives. Geothermal heat pumps are one available option. Even though geothermal heat pumps are expensive, their efficiency and reliability will provide a value capable of overcoming the high installation cost. The tremendous benefits this system provides will allow the recovery of the lofty cost. Geothermal heat pumps differ from other heat pumps in that they use ground heat instead of extracting heat out of the air. This provides greater efficiency especially as the air temperature becomes very cold. “While many parts of the country experience seasonal temperature extremes – from scorching heat in the summer to sub-zero cold …show more content…
The open loop requires two wells drilled down into the ground. Water is drawn from one, with the energy removed and returned through the other. The closed horizontal and vertical loops require pipe buried underground to circulate the same water through and back after the energy is withdrawn. The lake or pond loop works the same way as the closed loop, except the circulation loop uses the body of water as heat sink. The biggest advantage of geothermal heat pumps is their efficiency. For every dollar of energy used, three dollars of free energy is withdrawn from the ground. This is what makes the entire system so efficient. You are not actually using the purchased energy from a utility company to heat or cool. It is used to circulate and handle the renewable energy collected from the ground. This is accomplished through a circulation pump, a compressor, and a heat exchanger coil. Reliability is another major advantage of geothermal heat pumps. With the pump, compressor and blower fan, the only moving parts, there is very little to go wrong. “System life is estimated at 25 years for the inside components and 50+ years for the ground loop” (“Geothermal Heat,” 2011). Because of the added cost to install, the reliability becomes a major decision factor. Today, the systems available have proven ready for the task. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are “50,000 geothermal heat pumps installed in the United States each

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