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Geothermal Energy Tips
Your geothermal heating and cooling system offers multiple ways to save money on energy by offering efficient, effective comfort throughout the year. However, that geothermal energy system needs to be well maintained and cared for over the years if you want to protect your initial investment. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
Beware of the Loop Location
The loop of pipe buried in your yard can be anywhere from 100 to 400 feet long. That pipe loop is vital to the maintenance of your geothermal system, but it’s hard to keep track of where it is. So, it’s important to have a map or documentation that outlines where it is buried. Knowing where your pipes are is critical if you have any landscaping or other work done on your property as you run the risk of breaking a pipe if you don’t know where they are.
If you move into a home with an existing geothermal system, it’s important to learn where the pipes are placed. Most geothermal service providers will locate and map your pipes, but a direct outline from the original owners or the realtor is ideal to ensure you know exactly where it is located from the first day in your new home. Even planting a new tree or shrub can be dangerous for your geothermal system if you are not careful.
Free Hot Water
While your geothermal energy system is devoted to warming your home in the winter, it provides a second function during the summer. Because a geothermal heat pump draws the heat from your home and redistributes it to the pipes laid in your yard, you can just as easily use it to generate hot water for your home. Because the geothermal heat pump is optimized for transferring heat to and from water pipes, you can hook up your home’s hot water supply in the summer and use the excess heat drawn from your home to heat water for showers, dishes, and cleaning clothes.
For some people this means more than three or four months out of the year with free hot water because of the extra efficiency of the geothermal system.
Is It a Good Fit?
If you don’t yet have a geothermal system and you’re considering one, think first about whether the system will fit your family’s needs. They are expensive to install, so the savings benefit must be large enough to offset what you pay.
To do this, measure your current energy consumption, including your heating, cooling and summer hot water bills. Compare these to the cost of installation as outlined by your service provider to learn how long before the system pays for itself. For many families, especially those currently using electricity for heating and cooling, the system pays for itself in less than 10 years.
Geothermal Maintenance is Vital
For a geothermal system that operates year round, maintenance is incredibly important. Your geothermal system works hard in the winter to heat your home and in the summer to cool your home. Even in between, during the fall and spring, you will use your geothermal system to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. There are very few days throughout the year that are the perfect temperature.
Without careful maintenance, a geothermal system can become clogged with debris, the ducts can grow dusty or possibly even moldy, and you may have to replace parts to keep it running. Annual maintenance by a geothermal technician is important, but so too is regular cleaning of the filters and the ducts by the homeowner.