Geothermal Heating Pros & Cons

Geothermal heating is becoming increasingly popular in many parts of the world with homeowners looking to add this technology to their homes. As with most technologies, there are pros and cons associated with geothermal heating, many of which are described below.

We also have a broader article covering the pros and cons of geothermal energy as a whole.

Pros of Geothermal Heating

In the argument for the installation of geothermal heating equipment, we can consider the following:

  1. Heat & Cool – A little known fact is that geothermal heating systems can both heat and cool a building. This can be done by regulating the temperature of the water flowing through the system.
  2. Clean & Renewable – Making use of geothermal energy enables us to tap into a source of energy that’s both clean and renewable. This is highly environmentally friendly and suited to those concerned about the environment.
  3. Efficiency – Geothermal heating systems are often quite efficient. This can depend on the design of the system and where it is situated, however many homeowners have experienced very acceptable outcomes with such systems.
  4. Life Expectancy – Life expectancy is considered to be above 50 years and therefore, geothermal systems are likely to outlive solar heating alternatives.
  5. Little Maintenance – In addition to a long life expectancy, geothermal heating systems often need very little maintenance and can run for many years before major work is required.
  6. Low Noise Pollution – These systems feature little to no noise pollution when compared with other on-site heating systems. The main source of noise is from a geothermal heat pump which is often considerably quiet anyway.

Cons of Geothermal Heating

In the argument against the installation of geothermal heating equipment, we can consider the following:

  1. Cost – In order to install a geothermal heating system, there is often the requirement for hefty up-front deposit. The systems don’t come cheap either with many of them setting you back thousands of dollars.
  2. Infrastructure Requirement – The systems are mainly suited to new build developments as to be as efficient as possible, they require specific building infrastructure such as under-floor heating systems. When refurbishing existing properties, this is often difficult to install and will add additional cost.
  3. Electricity Demand – Although when we think of geothermal heating, we may think this is able to deliver 100% of our heating needs all on its own yet this is actually not the case. All of these systems require an electric pump which can consume considerable amounts of electricity.
  4. Maintenance Expenses – As mentioned in the pros section, geothermal heating systems require little maintenance, however, when things do go wrong it can often require a geothermal heating specialist to carry out any maintenance work that may be required. In addition, getting to the source of the problem can be costly should part of the piping system have burst.

Overview of the Pros & Cons

So there we have the pros and cons of geothermal heating systems. Although there are several cons to seriously consider, the pros often counteract these for most homeowners who have the initial capital available to invest in such systems.

Geothermal heating systems do have the potential to return on your investment. You should consult a geothermal specialist in your area for further details on any potential returns.