Dear PoP – Geothermal Heating Systems

Reminder of Summer
Photo from PoPville flickr user District Shots

“Dear PoP,

I’m sure a lot of people are forking over a good chunk of change heating their home this winter. Me too. I was looking to replace my standard heat pump system with a geothermal system. This type of system can save you a ton on your heating costs and it can be done even on a small dc lot with a ‘vertical loop’ system. To sweeten the deal, the federal government will give you a tax credit for 30% of the cost of the system without a cap.

Here’s the catch. The first quote I got for the system and installation was over $25,000. Even with uncle sam pitching in $7,500, that’s a ton of money. I was wondering if any of your readers have any experience with these types of systems, and if so, did they have a less traumatic price tag.”

This seems like good timing to investigate. Has anyone looked into Geothermal heating systems?

Incidentally how much do you think your Feb. heating bill is gonna be?

8 Comment

  • hi, geothermal systems can cost this much, especially when replacing an existing system. in general, geothermal is a great deal when you are building a new home, but with the drilling equipment required to replace an existing system, it get expensive quickly.

  • Aren’t there big AC electricity savings (>40%?) in the summer with geothermal, such that over the life, the savings more than make up the difference?

    They don’t necessarily have to be drilled, the tubes can go into trenches too.

  • i did a lot of research on this, too. $25k is a on the low end. you’ll make the xtra money back pretty quickly, but it’s still a pretty large stack of coin to throw down.

  • Recapture is about 8-10 years, even with the steep price tag. Only vertical loops can be done in DC since no one really sits on 2 acres of land necessary for a horinzontal system.

    POP featured that carbon neutral house on Capitol Hill. It has geothermal and no solar panels.

    And yes, geothermal will lower your electricity costs for cooling in summer.

  • Geothermal sounds great, but a less expensive alternative that might save you a lot would be a heat pump with gas backup – they are much less expensive to run than either gas furnaces or heat pumps with electric backups, according to stuff I’ve read (though I’m no expert – just bought a house with a heat pump & have been reading about them.)

  • We just had the back of the house redone, including new windows and insulation in the walls, floor, and some of the roof, and still for three days the heat has been coming on every 15 minutes or so. I fear the bill but would rather pay it than freeze. And I feel lucky that I’m not one of those poor souls who have lost power during this storm. Count your (our) blessings. That HUGE tree on Allison is a bad nightmare.

  • Actually,
    I’m rehabbing an old house with a closed loop radiant water heating system and no ac. The estimates to put in an ac system is about 25K (2 systems: basement/1st; 2nd/3rd floors). Anyone know the additional cost for a geothermal system?

  • Actually there is no additional price but there is one time installation charge!

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