High Efficiency or Geothermal Heat Pump – How to Invest

The opportunity to save on high efficiency HVAC equipment with the federal energy tax credit makes this an ideal time to consider an upgrade. As you research the options, you may wonder about the benefits of high efficiency heat pumps vs geothermal heat pumps. In both cases, you may be able to take advantage of the federal incentives, but there are some important factors to keep in mind as you make your selection.

How Do Heat Pumps Work?

Heat pumps are similar to air conditioners in that they use refrigerant to facilitate the process of heat transfer that leads to adjustments in indoor air. While an AC unit is used strictly for indoor cooling, a heat pump is able to reverse the process for indoor heating as well. Refrigerant is pressurized, allowing its boiling point to drop. As heat from the surrounding environment is absorbed, the fluid boils and becomes hot. Moving through the refrigerant lines, the fluid is allowed to expand, a process that causes the temperature of the material to become extremely cold.

When the coolant is pressurized inside the home, the result is heat being transferred into the indoor air, allowing home heating to occur. When the release of pressure takes place inside, the result is the removal of heat from indoor air, facilitating cooling of the home.

Differences Between High Efficiency and Geothermal Systems

Your decision to install a specific type of heat pump is dependent on your home’s design, your property, your budget and your goals. A high efficiency heat pump uses outside air for the absorption and release of heat. The air source pump can be less efficient during extremely high or low temperatures, but average conditions in the Trinity, TX, climate tend to be mild enough that this isn’t a serious concern. The air source pump requires minimal space for the outside unit, an excellent choice on a small property.

A ground source geothermal unit uses the ground for heat release and absorption. Ground temperatures are more stable than air temperatures, meaning that this can be an excellent choice for those rare times of extreme highs or lows. Additionally, the stability of ground temperatures means that this type of geothermal unit can operate more efficiently than many air source options for year-round home comfort needs. Because a significant amount of ground area is required for the coils, this is better for homeowners who have larger properties.

The water source geothermal model requires a source of ground water that is deep enough for stable temperatures. A well is an excellent choice. Access to a pond, lake or other body of water may also allow this option to work for your home. Water, like the ground, remains warmer and more stable than the air, allowing the heat transfer process to occur more efficiently.

Consult with a Pro

You must install your high efficiency or green energy system in your primary residence prior to the end of the tax year if you want to claim the energy tax credit. The professionals at WA Air Conditioning can provide assistance in helping you to decide on the right option for your Trinity, TX, property. Contact our office to schedule an estimate.


November 22, 2013 10:06 pm