What are you paying to heat your home this year? Responses to that question generally run from $2,000 to $5,000 per home. The Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) conducted a study in Alaska. The average 2,500 square-foot (232 sq m) home paid $4,500 in 2008.
My last home, a renovated two-story brick, 8,000 square-foot (743 sq m) former schoolhouse, had an annual bill in 2005 of over $7,000 that has since grown much higher. This was the major reason for selling it, even though my wife and I had put our hearts and souls and many years of our lives into that building.
At that time, I had a very real concern about how much I would pay for fuel in the future. But now I have no uncertainty about my fuel costs: zero! Why?
Fuel oil and propane were two options where I could not control prices. Natural gas was not even available. But I could do without burning fossil fuels and so I took a different approach. I installed a ground-based geothermal heat pump (GHP) in our new home. Designing and building our home was a four-way collaboration between our architect, our builder, my wife and myself. But the geothermal decision was my passion; my responsibility for better or worse.
What I envisioned was a heating system that would provide comfortable heating and full-house air-conditioning (AC), did not have to burn anything, never needed the nozzles cleaned (it had no nozzles), emitted no noxious gases up the chimney (no chimney at all), provided partial free hot water, had lower operating and maintenance costs than an oil burner, was far more efficient and quiet, and finally, saved thousands of dollars every year. And that is exactly what I got! Although it is not a common situation, the installation of my particular system cost less than an oil burner plus full AC.
This technology turned out to be a very personal thing with me. Installing a geothermal heating system in my new home instead of an oil burner was not as easy as I had imagined, but clearly well worth it!
- Don Lloyd, author of The Smart Guide to Geothermal
Taking a different approach to heating & cooling
Heat Pump (GHP)
Ground-Source Heat Pump (GSHP)