Furnace Repair vs Furnace Replacement
At some point in your time as a homeowner you are going to inevitably need furnace services. Depending on the age of your home, the need for a furnace home repair or replacement service may come sooner than you think. Having an understanding of the warning signs to look for that may mean you need to purchase a new unit or invest in furnace home repair can make your life much easier. It gives you the chance to get professional help before the situation becomes so dire that you and your family are left out in the cold. Being able to recognize the signs in advance can also help you budget for your anticipated needs with ease.
Signs You Need a Furnace Repair in Kansas City
One of the biggest questions homeowners have is whether or not they need furnace repairs in Kansas City or if they should consider installing a whole new unit. While you can always contact a repair technician to find out more, some homeowners prefer to have an idea of the type of work they are looking at before calling. If you notice any one of the following signs, your furnace may need to be repaired:
• You haven’t had it serviced for at least a year
• You notice pools of water around the base of the furnace
• The odd sound can be heard in the middle of the night
• Airflow is weak
• The thermostat is no longer functioning properly
• Your heating bill rises without cause
• There is cold air coming from the furnace of the vents
• Constant or near-constant cycling starts to occur
• Your HVAC unit is approaching 10 years of age
Most furnaces can last for upwards of 15 years; some as long as 20. However, once your furnace hits 10, you be sure you are having it serviced twice a year, as this is when many problems start to happen. Investing in regular maintenance can prolong its lifespan by at least a few years, saving you a lot of money. Service should happen in the fall, before you turn the unit on for the winter, and once more in the spring before you are about to shut it off for the season. Booking your service appointment early on in the fall gives you a chance to have any issues taken care of before the cold weather hits, offering you and your family a bit of additional protection against the cold.
Signs You Need a New Furnace Installation in Kansas City
Unfortunately, not all issues can be resolved by repairing your old unit. In some cases, you may need to consider new furnace installation in Kansas City instead. If you are experiencing issues, your technician can let you know which route is best, but there are a few signs you may be able to spot on you own. If you happen to notice any one of the following, be sure to contact a professional as soon as you can:
• A heating bill that is unexpectedly high
• A dry or dusty home
• Uneven temperatures throughout your home
• Cool temperatures throughout your home
• Visible signs of rust on the unit itself
• Strange noises can be heard
• The flame is yellow
• You notice strange smells
• Your furnace has already been repaired
• Your furnace is over 15 years old
While not all of these are urgent signs, things can progress quickly once you start to notice one or two symptoms. This is why you should get in touch with your local installation service as soon as possible. Additionally, if you have had your furnace repaired more than twice in the last year, you may want to think about having it replaced regardless of age. Replacement is a more expensive up-front cost, but it does save you a lot in repair costs and heating bills later on down the road.
Why Invest in Furnace Home Repair or Replacement?
Some homeowners may wonder why they should spend the money to hire a furnace repair service, especially if they feel they can complete the task themselves. While this may seem like a cost-cutting measure, it is often to your detriment. Furnace services should only be completed by someone who is experienced and knowledgeable about the field. Not only does hiring an experienced technician mean that your repair can be completed quickly and properly, without the need to contact services for the same mistake again, it is also much safer. There are a ton of things that can go wrong with DIY repairs, so to keep you and your family safe, hire the pros and call Anthony for your furnace replacement in Kansas City.
How to Find Furnace Services
When you are looking for furnace services, be sure to find a company that offers more than just repairs or replacement. A full-service heating and cooling company is ideal, because you can trust them to give you accurate information about your needs without bias or self-interest. Try to find one with years of experience operating in your area, as it gives them familiarity with the climate and the unique needs Kansas City residents have.
Speed is key when it comes to furnace repair or installation. You and your family do not want to be left in the cold for too long, which is why you should take the time to look for a reputable and experienced company. Read reviews and spend some time on their website learning more about the services offered. You want to be sure that you hire skilled and licensed technicians to take care of this incredibly important job. So then Contact Anthony Heating and Cooling
The pros at Anthony Heating and Cooling have been offering Kansas City residents quality furnace repair services since 1951. With a focus on trust and quality care for all clients, they have developed a fantastic reputation for being one of the area’s most reliable furnace repair services. They offer all clients 24-hour service, so you know there is going to be someone there should an emergency strike. In fact, this 24-hour service is not just restricted to technicians. Anytime you call, day or night, you are greeted by one of their compassionate office staff members, who are eager to find a way to help you with your furnace needs.
Before winter hits, take the time to learn more about your furnace. In particular, spend time observing how it works now so you can more easily spot the warning signs that repair or replacement are desperately needed. Contact a reputable furnace service like Anthony Heating and Cooling if you do notice any of those signs immediately to be sure that you and your family stay warm and cozy throughout the upcoming winter months.
The heating and cooling industry recommends annual furnace and boiler tune-ups for a reason. Keeping your furnace or boiler running at peak efficiency extends its life, prevents safety issues, and ensures that homeowners enjoy uninterrupted comfort all season long.
What a tune-up entails can vary by company, so homeowners should ensure that their tune-up covers an extensive checklist of both safety and efficiency tasks. Technicians at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling employ a thorough 17-point tune-up for furnaces and boilers that includes instrument-testing, cleaning, lubricating and adjusting of all interior, exterior components of the entire system, including the system accessories such as humidifiers and air cleaners.
Furnace and Boiler Tune-Ups Save Money
Lack of maintenance is the leading cause of furnace and boiler breakdown, and repairs can cost hundreds of dollars, and replacement thousands of dollars. Regular tune-ups extend the life of your heating system significantly and reduce the need for repairs, which can save you a great deal of money.
A furnace running at top efficiency saves money on energy bills, too. The extensive tune-ups performed by Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling leave your heating system in factory-fresh condition, looking and running at peak efficiency.
Furnace and Boiler Tune-Ups Save Lives
Keeping your home warm is essential, but it can also represent many hazards such as fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and indoor air pollution. Heating systems and water heaters account for 20% of house structure fires, and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning kills over 150 American each year.
Furnace and boiler tune-ups discover and eliminate potential safety hazards before they create dangerous situations in your home. Heat exchangers are inspected for cracks that can leak CO and other dangerous gases, exhaust is tested to ensure it is venting properly, and ignition systems and safety shut-offs are tested for safe and proper operation.
Furnace and Boiler Tune-Ups Provide Maximum Comfort
A properly tuned-up furnace and boiler heats your home faster with less energy, allowing you to place your thermostat setting where it feels best, with less worry about high energy bills and inconvenient heating system breakdowns. A tune-up will also ensure that your air remains as clean as possible, which is critical as we seal up our windows and doors against the impending cold.
Tune-ups also ensure that the accessories on your system, such as humidifiers and air cleaners, are running at peak performance. Keeping your indoor air clean and properly humidified will reduce the risk of sickness and allergic reactions as you enter the cold and flu season.
If in Doubt, Tune it Up
Most people wait until the really cold weather hits to call and have their furnace or boiler checked. Typically, this is when they have heard about unfortunate tragedies associated with heating – fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, frozen water pipes – and are even more anxious to make sure their home is safe and warm.
Furnaces are more likely to break down during cold snaps when they are working overtime, and heating companies cannot always keep up with the demand for emergency repair services during these times. It is best to tune up your furnace or boiler before the coldest weather hits, and to keep it tuned up to prevent breakdowns during cold snaps, especially if your furnace or boiler is older. The typical furnace or boiler only lasts 18-20 years, depending on the average winter temperatures of your region.
If you have any doubts to the safety or efficiency of your furnace or boiler system and humidification and air cleaning accessories, you should schedule a tune-up before the bitter cold hits. Call the highly-trained technicians at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for your tune-up at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO, and check for seasonal specials at www.AnthonyPHC.com/Coupons.
Now may be the time to replace your furnace with a high efficiency system. There are many factors to consider when thinking about replacing your older furnace system.
Has your furnace reached “retirement age”?
Furnaces last an average of 18-20 years, depending on whether they have been professionally maintained or not. Age isn’t everything, though. The cost to keep the furnace running will give you additional concrete reasons to consider replacing vs. repairing.
Increased cost and frequency of furnace repairs
Like an old car, an old furnace that requires costly repairs is signaling that it’s near the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced soon. The question then is, “How expensive does a furnace repair need to be before it’s not worth it?” Even for less expensive repairs, depending upon how old your furnace is, you should consider replacement vs. repair.
Your heating bills have risen dramatically over the years
Even if your furnace has a few years left in it, it may not be cost efficient to keep it if your energy bills during the heating season are high due to the furnace’s poor efficiency. A new law is expected to provide significant savings for homeowners by cutting the electricity consumption of furnace fans. After July 3, 2019, residential furnace manufacturers must include energy-efficient electronically commutated motors (ECM’s) on their furnace fans, which are expected to save homeowners billions of dollars on electricity bills and reduce carbon pollution. ECM motors will also keep occupants more comfortable, too. First, they provide more efficient airflow. Second, they reduce temperature swings in the home by allowing the fan to run for a longer time at a reduced speed. You need to assess how much it’s costing you just to keep the current furnace you have versus how much you’ll save on a new furnace. The Energy.gov AFUE chart can do just that, and we will help you decrypt it.
Weigh the factors together
As you can see, none of these factors (age, cost to repair, energy efficiency) alone can tell you if you need to replace your furnace. They should be weighed together. To help you make the best choice possible, Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling will help you assess whether you should replace your furnace or not. Call us at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO. For more information on furnace replacement read our blog: Eight Things You Should Know Before Replacing Your Furnace.
Garage Heater Auto-Ray Brings the Warmth of the Sun to Your Space
It’s easy with the installation of our Auto-Ray infrared garage heater. Add more comfortable living space to your home instantly! Our garage heater uses NO electricity. It runs on natural gas, using infrared technology, and can heat a 2-3 car garage for pennies a day.
Just think, no more frozen blocks of snow still on your wheel wells in the morning. No more warming up the car for 10 minutes before you leave. Our garage heater is also a great idea for an out-building or a detached work shed. It also helps those rooms above the garage stay warm. We invite you to visit our showroom to see the garage heater in action. Beat the cold!
Call us today to schedule a free estimate at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (286-4669) KS or MO. Or click here to schedule a visit.
- Efficient Infrared Heat – Directly heats people and objects which in turn heats surrounding air to desired temperature.
- Economical – No electricity required
- Instant Heat – Includes adjustable thermostat for individually controlled warmth
- Large Capacity – Heats 500-600 sq. ft. (2-3 car garage)
- Convenient – Easy to operate
- Quiet, Clean, Odor-Free Operation – natural gas or propane
- Maintenance Free – No moving parts to service
- CSA Certified
- Limited 1 Year Warranty – On gas control
- Limited 3 Year Warranty – On burner
WHY INFRARED HEAT?
Infrared heaters work just like the sun. Infrared rays heat the object directly, not the air around it. When the object becomes hot, it heats the surrounding air and any other objects. With infrared heat, people, machinery, objects and floors all become heat reservoirs — leading to greater fuel and cost efficiency.
Should I Repair or Replace my Air Conditioning System?
When deciding whether to repair or replace your AC system, there are really three things you need to consider:
1. Which is the most Cost-Effective route?
2. What is my family’s Comfort level?
3. What are my Convenience needs?
At some point in the life of an AC system, repair costs outweigh the long-term cost savings of replacement, and it depends upon the unique circumstances of each homeowner as to when that tipping point is designated.
But Cost, though a huge consideration, is not the only one; Comfort and Convenience can be the deciding factors if you are trying to avoid the time and headaches associated with routine repairs on older equipment, or if you have family members in your household who cannot tolerate stretches without comfortable conditioned air.
1. COST CONSIDERATIONS
At some point replacing your AC system will be more effective in the long run, and there are several factors to consider when pulling the trigger to replace. The experienced Comfort Advisors at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling are best equipped to help homeowners through this decision-making process, and homeowners are encouraged to take advantage of the free consultations we provide.
There are two instance, however, when replacement is almost always recommended:
when your system uses R-22 refrigerant
when your system is 15 years or older
If Your AC System Uses R-22, Plan your Replacement Strategy Now
If your cooling system uses the refrigerant known as R-22 and you’ve had to add refrigerant recently, then it is time to replace. Refrigerant doesn’t get used up – the only time you have to add refrigerant is if you have a leak. And if you have a leak, you will have to add more and more refrigerant each year.
Also, the price of R-22 is climbing every year. R-22 refrigerant contains chlorine, which eats away the ozone layer when leaked into the atmosphere. Because of this, R-22, also known as HCFC-22, will be illegal to produce starting in 2020, and the only way to acquire it will be through recycled or stockpiled supplies which will be prohibitively expensive to purchase.
The last AC systems using R-22 were manufactured in 2010. So if your AC system is one of these, it is already old enough to consider replacement. Refrigerant leaks likely happen to systems as they age. Refrigerant circulates under high pressure and therefore wears down the inside of the tubing. Because AC systems last only 10-15 years on average, it is time for your R-22 unit to be replaced, especially if it is leaking refrigerant.
How Do I Know if My AC System uses R-22?
Steve Burbridge, owner of Anthony, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, recommends homeowners have an HVAC technician inspect their system to determine what kind of refrigerant it uses. Age of the system is one determinant – no R-22 units were manufactured after 2010. But systems using R-410A, the ozone-friendly refrigerant, have been manufactured since 1996, so just because your unit is old it doesn’t mean that it uses R-22.
It is occasionally possible to determine what type of refrigerant your system uses by locating its manufacturer’s data plate. These are labels found either on the side of the condenser (outside unit) or air handler (inside unit). Some manufacturers make it easier for you by putting a separate sticker on the condenser with the refrigerant spelled out in tall letters; R-410A also goes by the name Puron®, which is the name Carrier uses.
Can I Wait One More Year?
If you want to wait it out one more year and try to save money by pumping R-22 into your old unit until it is no longer available, you may end up spending a lot more next year than you save this year, as the cost of R-22 is increasing significantly every year until the 2020 phase out.
Waiting will also put you in the same boat as all of the others who are waiting until the last minute, and prices go up when demand is high. And even if you are lucky enough to get a reasonably priced replacement system, the wait for available technicians to install it might be long. And the last thing you want to do is be faced with weeks without air conditioning during the summer heat.
What if I Can’t Afford to Replace Right Now?
Replacing a central AC system can cost several thousands of dollars, more than many of us have saved up. This is where financing comes in. Fortunately, there is financing available for just about any credit score. The one bright side to incurring an extra monthly expense is the reduction in energy costs that you will receive when a new system is doing the cooling. New cooling systems outperform old ones significantly, no matter what their Energy Star rating is. Click here for financing options at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.
Can I Get Away with Purchasing a Lower Cost AC System?
The cost of AC systems depends upon cooling capacity and SEER rating. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures how much cooling a system puts out for each unit of energy it consumes. In theory, the higher the SEER rating, the more efficiently the system operates. But paying for a higher SEER rating does not necessarily mean that you will incur enough reduction in energy costs to make up for the higher price.
Size matters – if an HVAC company says you can get away with the same size system as you currently have, be skeptical. If you just purchased your home, don’t assume the AC system installed is necessarily the best size for your home. Size requirements can change when changes to your home are made as well, such as additions, insulation changes, and asphalt roof shingles.
If your cooling system is too small it will run constantly and not lower the temperature to your desired set point. Alternatively, if you install one that is too big, it will turn on and off constantly, and not dehumidify the home. This makes the home feel like a cave – cool and damp. It is most cost-effective to purchase a unit that is the correct size for your home.
Homeowners should use the assistance of well-trained experts like those at Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling in order to choose the most cost-effective AC system over the long run.
If Your AC System is More than 10 Years Old, Consider a More Efficient Model
Cooling systems wear out just like any other household appliance. A well-maintained AC system will last 10-15 years, according to the National Association of Home Builders. If your system is older than 15 years, replacement is recommended. But even if it is only 10 years old, replacing can save you money and peace of mind over waiting for it to fail over the next 5 years.
It is important to know that even AC units younger than 10 years old can fail if they have not been maintained properly over their lifespan. Steve Burbridge, owner of Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, recommends having your cooling system tuned-up by a professional HVAC technician annually to keep your system in good working order. The technician can inspect the unit’s components, identify and fix any issues, and clean the indoor and outdoor coils. This will increase a system’s efficiency as well. If you have just purchased your home, try to obtain maintenance records, as they will inform you on the system’s potential either to fail soon, or last another several years.
Rising Energy Bills are a Red Flag that Your AC Could be Failing
Before you blame global warming for your rising energy costs, consider whether your high energy bills could be the result of a faulty, failing or inefficient AC system. An AC system that is working inefficiently will run more frequently, using up more electricity while not adequately cooling your home. Once an AC system reaches this point, its chance of failing completely increases rapidly.
Many utility companies provide comparison charts of how your bill has changed year over year. They also provide an average temperature for each day of the month, information that can help you identify whether higher utility costs are associated with outdoor temperature or something else.
Repeat Breakdowns – Another Indicator to Cut Your Losses and Replace
Whether your AC system has reached the end of its lifespan or not, having multiple serious repair jobs in a row could indicate it is close. Recall that systems last only as long as they’re maintained well, and some simply don’t last as long as others. If you’ve already fixed one issue and more are popping up, it might be best to cut your losses and replace.
Older AC systems will also have more aesthetic issues. “Rust is a major problem, along with being noisier than newer models,” says Steve Burbridge, owner of Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. “People with AC units that are near windows or backyard patios could benefit from the newer and quieter AC units built today.”
Climbing R-410A Refrigerant Costs – Bad News for Those with Leaking AC Systems
If you thought R-22 was the only refrigerant with a rapidly increasing price, think again. The price of R410-A has doubled in the last year, and price is expected to keep increasing. If your system has a refrigerant leak, your needle has just moved toward the replacement side of the decision making equation.
As stated above, leaks don’t go away, they get worse over time. And since the cost of refrigerant is ever-climbing, keep in mind that you will be paying a lost more next year than you paid this year to keep your system cooling. Not only will the refrigerant price be higher, but the amount you need will be greater due the leak getting bigger.
There are a few reasons for the rapidly increasing refrigerant prices. One is a tariff on Chinese imports imposed in 2017; most refrigerant is manufactured in China. Another reason is a worldwide shortage of R-125 that occurred in 2017, a key ingredient in the manufacturing of R-410A and other refrigerants. And prices for refrigerant naturally raise in hotter weather due to increased demand, so homeowners that needed refrigerant added to their systems during the summer of 2018 were shocked to find the price increased significantly.
Although it doesn’t look like R-410A AC systems will be discontinuing anytime soon, it does look like the cost of R-410A will continue to increase, making replacement a more affordable option in comparison.
2. COMFORT CONSIDERATIONS
For some families, no amount of cost savings is worth putting their family at risk of being without adequate air conditioning. For homeowners with pets, children, or adults who are elderly, pregnant or have health issues, it doesn’t make sense to save a few bucks and hope your AC system will last another year with no major repair downtime.
Heat Can Harm Kids, Pets, Pregnant Women and Elderly
The temperature inside your home rises at an alarming rate when your cooling system stops working. It is no secret how miserable it is to be inside a 90-degree home, but to some it can be dangerous.
Pregnant women are understandably susceptible to overheating during pregnancy, but it is worth noting that the unborn child is at a higher risk of experiencing low weight and birth defects when subjected to extreme heat. Individuals with breathing problems and heart conditions experience a great deal of distress when subjected to heated air, especially when coupled with humidity.
The younger the child and the older the adult, the more susceptible they are to heat stroke and heat exhaustion and dehydration. These populations, like pets, cannot always discern or verbalize their discomfort until it is too late.
3. CONVENIENCE CONSIDERATIONS
Rather than take time off work and move all of your pets and family members to a hotel while your AC is down, or worry about them being home alone while you are away at work during an AC system failure, replacing your cooling system will do more than save money, it will save worry as well.
Even if you are a healthy adult who can easily “take the heat,” chances are you live a busy life and cannot afford to take a day off work to deal with a “hot house.” Nor are you willing to return from a long, tiring vacation ready to jump back into a busy work week and come home to an unpleasant sauna.
AC Systems Only Break Down in the Heat
As obvious as this sounds, this is worth remembering, because it is easy to forget how critical air conditioning is to your life during the cooler months. Whether your cooling system quits working because a simple repair is needed or because it has reached the end of its lifespan, NO time is a good time to be without air conditioning during a heat wave.
It is important to remember that HVAC technicians are their busiest during heat waves as well, so you might be facing more than the usual 24-48 hours without cooling if you have to wait for technicians to become available during the busy season.
Plan Your Replacement in Advance
By scheduling your AC replacement well in advance, you can plan your installation for a time when it is convenient for you. Some replacements can even be completed over the weekend if planned well enough ahead.
It is often best to purchase a new cooling system during the off season, when demand is less and installation technicians have more time. Look for AC clearance sales and have financing paperwork completed for when the perfect deal arises. Don’t make a heatwave-related AC emergency dictate the cost and timing of your AC replacement. Also, a complete system includes a furnace or air handler that moves the cooled air, so furnace replacement should be considered anytime cooling systems are replaced.
4. One More “C”… CALL if you Have Questions!
For more information on how to recognize when your cooling system needs replacing, contact Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling in the Kansas City metro area. We have Comfort Advisors willing to share their wealth of experience and expertise with you for free. We will make the Repair vs. Replace decision-making process a breeze, and make the AC replacement process a happy one – GUARANTEED. Call us 24/7 at A-N-T-H-O-N-Y (268-4669) KS or MO.
Americans are aware of the dangers of heart disease and stroke and all the messages encouraging us to eat right and exercise to reduce the risk of these deadly events. But research is now showing that air pollution is another cause of heart disease and stroke – and it is not something people can control as easily as their diet. But as the average person spends 90% of their time indoors, eliminating air pollution is a reachable goal.
“ZONING saved my marriage!” Anonymous, Overland Park
By giving homeowners more control over how they heat and cool their home, a zoning system enables the creation of comfort zones that are customizable for each room or “zone,” which keeps all family members happy while saving money on energy bills at the same time. Instead of sending the same amount of heated or cooled air into all rooms when the furnace or air conditioner is turned on, multiple thermostats allow the system to send conditioned air only to the zones that need it and only when they need it.
Nothing tests the limits of your AC unit like a heatwave, and when a heatwave hits, it spares no one! That is when heating and cooling companies like Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling get slammed with calls from suffering homeowners all at once, and not everyone can be helped immediately. These tips are good to know when you are waiting on the phone, or in your hot home, for an HVAC technician to save the day!
If you can think back to your middle school days, you’ll remember that it’s pretty hot and steamy underneath Earth’s surface. This high temperature is due to magma below the crust. Though outdoor temperatures may change depending on the season, underground temperatures remain relatively consistent due to Earth’s insulation. You’ll find this temperature consistency a mere 4-6 feet below the surface. When magma stays trapped in the Earth’s surface, it can heat underground water. These hot water pools that remain underground are called geothermal reservoirs, and can be harnessed to heat and cool homes and businesses via geothermal heat pumps. Geothermal heating is created when natural heat is pulled to the Earth’s surface. This heat can also be used for electrical purposes. Keep in mind that geothermal HVAC systems have been used for more than 60 years in the U.S.—this is a proven method to cut down on utility bills, consolidate heating/cooling, and tap into a renewable resource. This guide will cover the advantages of geothermal energy as well as a breakdown of how this process works.
Geothermal Heat Pump and Geothermal System
A geothermal heat pump is composed of loops of buried pipes that change function depending on the season. In colder months, heat from the ground is pulled into homes and circulated through a duct system. The system reverses in warmer months; a home’s heat is picked up by the circulating fluids inside the pipes and transferred into the Earth. With a heat pump, an air delivery system uses ducts and a heat exchanger buried in the ground to transfer this heat. A geothermal system is made up of an indoor handling unit, underground pipes (called an ‘Earth loop’), and a pump to reinjection well. The pipes in this system are composed of polyethylene and can be buried vertically or horizontally depending on your space requirements. If an aquifer is available, you also have the option to design an ‘open loop’ system. ‘Open loop’ means a well is drilled into the underground water. Water is pumped up, runs past a heat exchanger and returns to the same aquifer through reinjection. A geothermal heating and cooling system is composed of the heat-pump unit, a liquid heat-exchanger medium, and an air-delivery system (ductwork) or radiant heating.
What is Geothermal Energy?
Geothermal energy is the energy stored as heat beneath the Earth’s surface. Geothermal springs have been used for hundreds of years by Native Americans, Romans, and Chinese to heat water for cooking and bathing, but we’ve come a long way. We can now utilize geothermal energy to generate electricity through power plants, one of the many advantages of geothermal energy. Once a geothermal resource is identified, wells are drilled a few kilometers deep and the hot water is extracted. Electricity-generating power plants convert hydrothermal fluids to electricity. Depending on the state of the fluid and temperature, this conversion takes place via dry steam, flash steam or a binary cycle. The dry steam method extracts steam out of fractures in the ground and harvests hot water and steam that can then drive turbines on electricity generators.
Advantages of Geothermal Energy
Great for the planet
If you’re looking into geothermal heating and cooling or geothermal energy for electrical appliances, keep in mind that it doesn’t involve any form of combustion. This is one of the best advantages of geothermal energy! Geothermal has less greenhouse gas emissions, and binary geothermal power plants release NO greenhouse gases. Geothermal power plants generate 1/8th of the CO2 emissions associates with typical coal power plants. The geothermal heat pumps used for heating and cooling are also considered one of the most efficient options available. This status is due to their low electricity requirement (electricity is only used to operate the unit’s fan, compressor and pump). Plus, geothermal energy has a small land-use footprint, producing huge amounts of electricity without taking up much space. Even the United States Environmental Protection Agency agrees that geothermal heating and cooling is the most environmentally-safe and cost-effective option on the market.
Geothermal is renewable
Many ask, ‘is geothermal energy renewable?’ Yes! And it’s one of the major selling points of this option. As a base-load renewable power source, production takes place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No matter the weather, these power plants can operate. It’s expected that geothermal will overpower coal in the traditional utility system in the years to come, presenting a greener option that’s more scalable. Smaller plants can be set up and tailored to applications in individual communities. With geothermal reservoirs naturally replenished, we don’t have to worry about these sources running dry. In fact, geothermal energy will be around for as long as Earth exists.
These geothermal power plants are expected to crop up in more rural areas, creating jobs in smaller cities that rarely experience this level of employment growth. In 2012, a power complex built in Imperial Valley, CA created jobs for 323 workers. The investment cost $1 billion and took four years to complete, but there were 57 jobs that opened up after the project was completed, including maintenance, operations and engineering. Advantages of geothermal energy can be long-term.
Geothermal is limitless
No matter where you live, you have access to Earth’s internal heat. The tricky part is finding a way to extract this heat, but technological advancements have made this extraction process easier. Geothermal heat pumps, for example, have made it possible for people to harvest hot water from reservoirs below the surface to heat homes and businesses. Electricity conversion requires more advanced resources, but industry professionals are working to makes this process easier for everyone.
Utility bill savings
There is a high up-front cost for geothermal energy systems, mostly due to the expensive buried loop systems that are required. However, this initial cost is offset by the savings you’ll receive in the long run. Once the system is running, utility bills can decrease by up to 50%, one of the most popular advantages of geothermal energy In fact, a 30%-60% savings on heating and 25%-50% saving on cooling can cover the initial cost within three years. Lower maintenance costs mean it can be installed and then left alone for years afterward. To alleviate the financial strain, many institutions offer to tie the upfront cost of installation to monthly mortgage remittances or other interest financing options. A 2,000 square-foot home can be heated and cooled for as little as $1/day with a geothermal system. Plus, you can have it set up to supplement your home’s conventional water heater, saving you up to 30% on hot water costs every year. With a simple modification, you can have your geothermal system generating some, if not all, of your hot water. Hot water is stored in your water heater for later use, and heat extracted from the building is sent to the water heater during the cooling cycle. This savings calculator tells you how much you can expect to save by switching to geothermal energy.
High efficiency and low maintenance
The great thing about geothermal heat pumps is that they’re incredibly efficient (using only 25%-50% electric power for geothermal heating and cooling). The life expectancy is much higher for a geothermal system’s parts compared to other heating and cooling mechanisms. Because they have few mobile parts and are housed in a building, they can last a lot longer. The pipes have a warranty of up to 25 years, though the system can only last up to 20 years. Where other options might require frequent maintenance, a geothermal system only needs periodic checks, annual coil cleaning and filter changes when installed properly. A geothermal heat pump’s efficiency is determined by its coefficient of performance (COP), a ratio that compares how much energy the system moves to how much it uses. With a geothermal heat pump, you can expect your COPs to be between 3.0 and 5.0. For every unit of energy used to power the system, 3-5 units are supplied as heat.
Geothermal tax credit
If you purchased a and installed a geothermal system prior, you can claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the U.S. on your purchase for your personal tax credit. This system must be owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer. This federal tax credit includes all expenditures related to labor costs for on-site preparation, assembly or original system installation, and piping/wiring to interconnect a system to the home. According to energy.gov, “if the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year”. For geothermal system qualification, your system must have been installed prior to 2017. There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008, but the geothermal heat pump must meet federal Energy Star criteria. To qualify for geothermal tax credit 2017, your system must have been placed in service on or after January 1, 2008 and on or before December 31, 2016. Finally, the home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principle residence.
Other advantages of geothermal energy
- No threat of combustion
- Clean/safe (no odors or carbon monoxide)
- Heats and cools home evenly
- Provides dehumidified air in the summer
- Power output can be predicted
- No fuel required
Get Started Today!
If you’re interested in a more thorough look into the advantages of geothermal energy, contact us. We would love to help you get set up with a geothermal heating and cooling system or answer any questions you may have.