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Geothermal System Installations Are Growing

The environmental impact and financial savings a geothermal system provides has impacted the growing rate of worldwide installations. Although the initial price tag can be much greater than a standard central heating and air set-up, the benefits provided will be evident for many years. While the specific equipment can vary from property to property, homeowners can utilize the Earth's natural heat to warm many aspects of their properties. A professional installation will ensure the geothermal system maximizes this renewable energy and the overall investment.

The natural energy created within the Earth has been used as far back as the Paleolithic period, yet the heat has been present since the planet's original formation. The movement of tectonic plates along with the heat absorbed from the sun cause a radioactive decay that ultimately generates geothermal energy. While the temperature at the core can reach as high as 7000 degrees Fahrenheit, the heat seeps through crevices in the planet to create a stable year-round temperature of 40-60 degrees just beneath the surface. Historically the evident heat within hot springs was utilized for bathing purposes, yet modern technology has led to its use in homes, industrial settings, and water utilities.

Originating from the root meanings of Earth and heat, this resource provides the energy for the geothermal system utilized today. This type of arrangement utilizes heat transfer units or geothermal heat pumps to extract the higher temperature from underground. Looping tubes provide a continuous flow of a water and anti-freeze fluid to absorb the heat for disbursement throughout the location. It will generate heat for the home as well as water for the property throughout the year. The actual layout of the pipes will be dependent on the space available for placement.

As the Environmental Protection Agency has sited, the geothermal system is the most efficient, contaminant free and cost effective power source for homeowners. It is estimated that this type of equipment is up to 600 times more efficient than the typical residential heater and air conditioner during the winter season. As a result of this effectiveness a homeowner can see savings of 30-60% on their utility bill each year. While the upfront cost at installation can be as much as $30K, the annual savings allows for its payback in five to ten years. They are considered extremely reliable with very little maintenance required, which is a cost saver in itself. Government rebates and tax credits such as those covered under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 help to offset the hefty price tag. From an environmental standpoint this heat source greatly reduces a home's carbon footprint and impact on global warming. They not only utilize a renewable resource, they emit a minimal amount of greenhouse gases compared to fossil fuel use.

When homeowners consider retrofitting their home with a geothermal system there are a number of factors to look at. A professional specializing in this type of installation will need to assess the property's compatibility with the equipment. This includes analyzing the type of soil and its conductivity, the space availability for the pipes and the heat rejection process, and its effect on the current vegetation. With various arrangements of pipes possible, there is frequently a doable option.

From its lifespan of a couple hundred years to its advantageous operation, this resource will undoubtedly continue to grow in use each year. More and more manufacturers as well as homeowners are becoming educated on the benefits this "green" system can provide to both themselves and their surrounding environment.


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