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Comparing Air-Source Heat Pumps to Geothermal Systems

Although they operate on the same principle, air-source and geothermal heat pumps have significant differences. These differences give rise to a number of pros and cons for each that you’ll want to be aware of when you’re selecting a heat pump.

The biggest advantage for both types of heat pumps is the extremely efficient heating they can provide. Their efficiency is due to the novel way in which they provide heat to your home. Instead of consuming fuel, they warm your home with heat that is extracted from the air or ground. This allows them to attain efficiencies that are much higher than what is possible for traditional heating methods.

Between the two, geothermal heat pumps provide the best efficiencies. They transfer heat between your home and a region of earth or water that stays at a constant temperature year-round. This allows them to maintain their efficiencies, no matter what the weather is. Air-source heat pumps, on the other hand, aren’t as efficient in temperature extremes. In fact, if it gets too cold out, some air-source heat pumps need a backup furnace.

But geothermal does have some downsides. For one, it is more expensive. It also is more complicated to install, and there must be a suitable area for the underground loop system.

Like many other energy-efficient options, the extra cost of geothermal installations can frequently be recovered through savings on energy bills over the years, and geothermal heat pumps offer these additional benefits:

  • Quieter operation: There’s no outdoor compressor to make the noise associated with air conditioners and air-source heat pumps.
  • Cheap water heating: Some models have a feature that can help to heat your home’s water with almost no additional energy use during cooling-mode operation.
  • Increase durability: Geothermal components generally require less maintenance and last longer.

For help deciding between a geothermal and an air-source heat pump, contact HVAC Unlimited Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve Reston, Burke, Lorton and other nearby communities.

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