Why Geothermal is a No Brainer for New Construction Homes
When you’re building a new home, you have plenty of options in front of you for heating and cooling. But no option offers the comfort, efficiency and low operating costs the way geothermal does. Not only will it provide central heating and cooling for your whole home, it’s also good for the environment and eliminates the risk of dangerous carbon monoxide in your new home. In this post, we’ll delve into why geothermal is a no brainer for just about everyone building a new home.
It Will Save You Money
The cost of installing a conventional furnace and a central air system can range anywhere from $8,000 to over $16,000. A geothermal system would do the job of both and is only marginally more expensive up front. But because conventional furnaces burn oil, gas or propane, that means you’re stuck paying high utility bills in perpetuity to heat your home. Similarly, central air is relatively inefficient compared to geothermal and can mean high electric bills in the summer.
Investing in a geothermal heating and cooling system means you’ll never have to pay a separate heating bill again and you’ll cool your home using a fraction of the electricity. For example, one Westchester homeowner with a 2,500 square foot house will save upwards of $33,000 over the lifespan of her Dandelion system by not having to pay for fuel oil to heat her home.
To help save you even more money, the federal government, some states, and many utilities are offering generous incentives to go geothermal. But those incentives won’t last long forever, so if you’re building now, there’s never been a better time to consider geothermal.
On top of lowering your energy costs, installing geothermal is a major improvement that can actually increase your home’s value. A traditional furnace or AC unit depreciates in value over time while still draining money from your wallet every month to pay for heating fuel. In terms of resale value, that makes traditional HVAC investments more of a liability than an investment.
It’s Easier to Design & Install
Most geothermal systems capture the ambient heat under your home through a series of pipes buried at a depth where temperatures stay consistent year-round called ground loops. A Dandelion system uses vertical ground loops, installed about 200 to 500 feet deep in the earth.
The bulk of the work associated with installing a geothermal system is burying those ground loops. While installing ground loops is no problem in existing properties, new construction allows you to install ground loops without fear of affecting your landscaping since the ground will already be disturbed from excavation of the foundation.
During new construction, the design of everything from location of the ground loops to ductwork sizes and vent placements can be customized to your home’s needs. Combine that with other efficiency measures found in new homes, like well designed, high R-value insulation and you’ll be looking at major operational savings.
It Will Last Longer and Require Less Maintenance
If you’re building a new home, you’ll want a heating and cooling system that’s built to last. You’ll need to replace a conventional oil, propane or natural gas furnace every 15 to 20 years, and a conventional air conditioner every 10 to 15 years, not to mention all the maintenance each system requires along the way.
In comparison, the most expensive part of a geothermal system, the ground loops, last 50+ years — even up to 100 years with little to no maintenance. Once installed, the buried ground loop will be a permanent fixture on the property for as long as there is a building to heat and cool. The only part of a geothermal system that will likely need to be replaced sooner than that is the heat pump itself, after 20 to 25 years. This heat pump can be replaced at a fraction of the cost of installing a full system — about the cost of replacing a conventional furnace.
It’s More Comfortable, Safer & Better Looking
Nothing is ultimately as important as your family’s safety and comfort. Forced air heating systems that use oil, propane or natural gas produce dry, often uncomfortable, heat and emit dangerous carbon monoxide. Because geothermal heats without combustion you’ll get a smooth, even heat that doesn’t produce carbon monoxide and won’t sap moisture from the air in your home.
Central air conditioning sounds good on hot summer nights, but in terms of aesthetics, it also means using up some of your yard space for a noisy AC condenser unit. Most homeowners will go to great lengths to hide their condenser units, hiding them behind bushes or tucking them away in the backyard. With geothermal, so much of your heating and cooling system is underground and out of sight. That means you and your family will have more space to garden, play and landscape in peace.
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