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A suburban home and garden.

Geothermal Heating-and-Cooling Pumps

Geothermal technology moves energy from the sun that is stored in the earth to provide heating, air conditioning and hot water.

How it Works

Unlike the air, the ground (or groundwater) remains at a consistent temperature throughout the year—around 55°F. Geothermal takes advantage of the steady temperature by transferring heat stored in the earth into a building during the winter, and transferring it out of the building and back into the ground during the summer. In addition to space conditioning, geothermal heat pumps equipped with desuperheaters can also produce hot water by transferring excess heat from the pump’s compressor to the building’s hot water tank.

The system includes three principal components:

  1. Ground Loop
    A series of connected pipes buried in the ground circulate water to absorb heat from, or relinquish heat to, the surrounding soil, depending on whether the system is providing heat or cooling. In other words, the system uses the earth as a heat source during winter and a heat sink during summer.
  2. Heat Pump
    The mechanical system that compresses a refrigerant to efficiently move heat into or out of a building. During winter, the heat pump removes heat from the water in the ground loop and transfers it to the building. During summer, the process is reversed.
  3. Heat Distribution Subsystem
    Conventional ductwork is generally used to distribute heated or cooled air from the geothermal heat pump throughout the building.

Geothermal Benefits

Rather than producing heat through the combustion of fossil fuels, geothermal (also known as ground-source) heat pumps can efficiently extract the heat that naturally exists in the ground. Geothermal systems are easy to operate and, with available incentives, can be cost competitive with fuel oil systems on a lifetime basis. While they require some space to install the ground loops, there is no exposed equipment outdoors.

Rebates and Incentives

With thousands in rebates available, it’s never been easier—or more affordable—to switch to geothermal. Get up to $2,850 per ton of heating capacity off a home geothermal system—up to 10 tons total.

Get an additional $150 if you install a desuperheater to supplement your existing water heater, or $1,000 for a ground-source, heat-pump water heater.

When combined with federal tax credits, you could save tens of thousands of dollars in installation costs.

Ready to save?

To get these discounts, you’ll need to work with a participating contractor who will deduct the discount from the total project cost.

Find a Participating Contractor

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