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A Geothermal Heating System Can Be a Hot Investment

If you had to choose between burning money or investing money, which would you choose? That’s the question homeowners face when de­ciding whether or not to invest in a geothermal system.

The experts at WaterFurnace recommend that homeowners look beyond the initial investment when purchasing a new heating and cooling system: consider efficiency, cash flow, operating costs, system lifespan and return on investment (ROI). Be sure to choose one that significantly reduces your utility bills, is good for the environment, and provides a positive cash flow. A geothermal system is all of these things – and more.

With new construction, the initial cost of a geothermal system, like the Envision series from WaterFurnace, is part of your monthly mortgage payment. Monthly savings from the system will generally more than offset the additional amount added to your mortgage payment, creating an immediate positive cash flow.

In addition, and as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, homeowners have another important incentive to choose geothermal. This new bill, signed into law on Feb. 17, offers homeowners a renewable energy tax credit of 30 percent of the total investment for a residential geothermal heat pump installation. Unlike incentives associated with conventional HVAC systems, this tax credit is not capped at the lifetime limit of $1,500 and it is not categorized with energy efficient appliances. Many states and local utilities also offer tax credits and utility rebates to help homeowners see an even faster return on their investment, all of which can offset the initial investment; add the benefit of special financing with approved credit, and a homeowner can quickly see positive cash flow in a replacement application.

Another consideration is total heating, cool­ing and domestic hot water operating costs. A geothermal system is the total comfort system with the highest efficiency and lowest overall operating cost, providing $4 worth of heating for every dollar spent. With a 30 EER (energy efficiency ratio), a geothermal system is more than twice as efficient as the most efficient conventional air conditioner. In air conditioning mode, hot water generation is free, and in the heating mode the unit can temper incoming water to reduce water heating costs.

Conventional systems frequently require regular maintenance for the furnace and the air conditioner. However, a geothermal system requires little or no maintenance beyond peri­odic checks and filter changes. Additionally, its lifespan averages 20 years compared to 12 to 15 years for a conventional system.

Finally, geothermal systems do not burn fossil fuels, conserving natural resources and reducing dependency on foreign energy sources.

When faced with the purchase of a new heat­ing, cooling and water heating system, you have two choices: either burn money with a conventional system or save it with a geothermal system.