FAQs

faq

1. What is a geothermal heat pump?

A geothermal heat pump uses the free, renewable, solar energy stored in the earth to efficiently heat and cool your home.

2. What is the difference between geo-exchange, ground source, and geothermal heat pumps?

There is no difference; these are just different names for the same product.

3. How efficient is a geothermal heat pump?

Geothermal heat pumps are the most efficient residential heating and cooling systems available today. Heating efficiencies can be up to 500% more efficient that conventional fossil fuel systems and up 50% higher than other air conditioning systems on the market today. People with geothermal heat pump report significantly lower electric bills and increase comfort levels in their homes.

4. How much space does a geothermal heat pump unit require?

The geothermal heat pump unit requires about the same amount of space as a conventional furnace or air handler.

5. Can geothermal heat pump systems heat hot water?

Yes, by using a desuperheater, built in as a standard feature of Spectrum Geothermal Heat Pumps we can provide domestic hot water at a significant savings because your water heater does not have to heat water from 50 degrees to 120 degrees. The desuperheater and preheat water up to about 110 degrees using an optional storage tank so your water heater only has to heat it up an additional 10 degrees to make it usable.

6. How long will my geothermal heat pump system last?

An ASHRAE (American Society for Heating Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers) study revealed that a typical geothermal heat pump system lasts about 24 years compared to a conventional air conditioning system and furnace, which lasts about 15 years. Geothermal heat pump are both durable and highly reliable, because the components are located out of the elements so they are not subject to the rain, heat, cold and corrosion as their conventional counterparts.

7. How noisy is the geothermal heat pump system?

Spectrum geothermal heat pumps are extremely quiet, due to our 3D Quiet Sentinel Technology providing whisper quiet operation. In addition, because the system is located inside the home, the outside environment stays quiet too. After you have your system installed, you’ll wish your neighbors would install them too.

8. How safe are geothermal heat pump systems?

Geothermal heat pump systems are completely safe and reliable. There is no equipment left to the ravages of the elements outdoors, and children or pets, cannot hurt themselves or damaged exterior components. Geothermal heat pumps have no open flame, don’t use potentially explosive fuel, or have hazardous or dangerous fuel storage tanks.

9. How comfortable are geothermal heat pump systems?

A Spectrum Geothermal Heat Pump system creates an even comfort level throughout your entire house. It moves warm air throughout your home using standard ductwork. A constant fan setting creates an even comfort level the warm air is distributed throughout the home and saturates the building with warmth evening out hot or colds spots. Once you install a geothermal system you will never go back to anything else.

10. Is a Spectrum geothermal heat pump system guaranteed?

Spectrum Geothermal Heat Pumps warrants heat pumps and the refrigeration system, to include the compressor, air coil, expansion valve, coaxial heat exchanger, reversing valve, cabinet, control box, and its components to be free from defects in material and workmanship for a period of 10 Years from date of installation. We further warrant to the original owner for the life of the product the aluminum powder coated cabinet, the control box, and its components.

11. Can Spectrum geothermal heat pump systems be used for commercial, industrial, or apartment requirements?

Yes!

12. How much does a Spectrum geothermal heat pump system cost?

The initial investment for a geothermal heat pump system is greater than that of a conventional system. However, when you consider the operating costs of a geothermal heating, cooling, Federal and local tax credits and rebates, and water heating system, energy savings quickly offset the initial difference in purchase price.

13. What other costs are there besides the geothermal heat pump system?

Contractors charge for installation, which generally includes any electrical work, ductwork, water hook-up, and other provisions or adaptations to your home that are required. Your Spectrum Geothermal Dealer can estimate these costs in advance.

14. How would the increase use of a geothermal heat pump system affect electricity cost and availability?

Geothermal heat pumps reduce peak load requirements allowing utilities to serve more customers and provide lower fixed costs to customers, thus offsetting some increased variable costs. This would result in less cost per kilowatt, since fixed investment for new capacity is high.

15. Does my state offer any incentives for installing a geothermal heat pump system?

Some utilities offer rebates or incentives to their customers who purchase GSHPs. To see what your state has to offer click here.

16. Are geothermal heat pump systems difficult to install?

No, Spectrum Dealers are trained and experienced in geothermal heat pump installation. Most units are easy to install, particularly when they are replacing another forced-air system. We call this a retrofit installation. In addition, we can install geothermal heat pumps in areas unsuitable for fossil fuel furnaces because there is no combustion and therefore no need to vent exhaust gases.

17. Will my existing ductwork function with this system?

In most cases, your existing duct system will work with your new geothermal heat pump. Your Spectrum dealer will be able to determine ductwork requirements and if any minor, modifications are needed.

18. Can a geothermal heat pump system be added to my fossil fuel furnace?

Yes. Called dual systems, a dealer they can easily add it to existing furnaces for those wishing to have a dual-fuel heating system. Dual fuel systems use the geothermal heat pump system as the main heating source and use a fossil fuel furnace as a supplement or backup heat in extremely cold weather should additional heat be needed.

19. Will I have to add insulation to my home if I install one of these systems?

Ground source heat pump systems will reduce your heating and cooling costs regardless of how well your home is insulated. However, insulating and weatherizing are key factors in gaining the maximum amount of savings from any type of heating and cooling system.

Loop questions

21. Can I install a ground loop heat exchanger myself?

All geothermal heat pumps require an emergency auxilary electric resistant heat source. Most heat pumps can provide all the heat necessary even in the coldest weather. Your Spectrum Dealer can perform an economic analysis to determine what portion of the heat come from the heat pump and what portion will come from auxiliary means if necessary.

22. How far apart are trenches and vertical boreholes spaced?

Typically, we space trenches four to five feet apart we space boreholes ten to fifteen feet apart.

23. How long does it take to install a horizontal loop system?

This depends on a number of things including, soil conditions, length and depth of pipe, and equipment required. A dealer can complete a typical installation one to two days.

24. How long does it take to install a vertical loop system?

It takes a experienced driller one to two days to install a vertical loop system depending on conditions on the site such as type and hardness of the bedrock, and the presence of aquifers.

25. Are there advantages and disadvantages to horizontal and vertical installations?

Horizontal installations are simpler and a dealer can install one using a standard backhoe; however, they require longer lengths of pipe due to seasonal variations in soil temperature and moisture content. A horizontal heat exchanger requires a larger area than the area required for a vertical system. When land space is limited, vertical installations is the way to go. Depending on soil conditions at the site a vertical installation may be the only available choice. Vertical installations tend to be more expensive due to the increased cost of drilling versus trenching, but since the heat exchanger is buried deeper than with a horizontal system, vertical systems are usually more efficient and can get by with less total pipe. Your Spectrum Geothermal Heat Pump Dealer will be able to help you decide which configuration best meets your specific needs.

26. How can I be sure that the dealer installed the pipe properly?

Always use a reputable dealer and don’t be afraid to ask for and use references. Reputable dealers and loop installers will be happy to give names and phone numbers for you to call and confirm their capabilities. Find out where the installer received training, whether he or she is IGSHPA-accredited, and how many systems he or she has installed. Also, check with your utility company representative for names of installers.

27. Is it advisable to install a geothermal heat pump system large enough to handle my total heating needs?

We generally size geothermal heat pumps systems to meet your cooling needs. Depending on heating loads, a geothermal heat pump system can typically supply 80-100 percent of your design heating load. Sizing the system to handle your entire heating needs may result in slightly lower heating costs, but the savings may not offset the added total of the larger system, and oversizing your cooling system can make your home uncomfortable in the summer. Your Spectrum dealer has the proper training and he will select the equipment for your home based on a heating and cooling load calculation.

28. Will an underground loop affect my lawn or landscaping?

No, the ground returns to its original condition after six months or so and it has no adverse effects on grass, trees, or shrubs. Horizontal installations require trenches about eighteen inches wide. Re-seed or sod bare areas to bring them quickly back to their original condition. Vertical loops require much less space and do not damage lawns significantly.

29. My lawn contains many shade trees. Will this affect ground temperature and my ability to use it as an energy source?

Not at all, shade trees do not effect ground temperature.

Environmental questions

30. How do geothermal heat pump systems protect the environment?

Because geothermal heat pump systems don’t burn fossil fuels to generate heat, they conserve natural resources and reduce the amount of carbon released into the environment. Geothermal heat pumps also minimize ozone layer destruction by using factory-sealed refrigeration systems, which will seldom or never have to be recharged.

31. What are the environmental benefits of a geothermal heat pump systems?

Currently installed systems are making a huge difference in our environment. These installed systems have the effect of eliminating more than three million tons of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of taking 650,000 automobiles off the road. Geothermal heat pump systems conserve energy and, because they move heat that already exists rather than burning something to create heat, they reduce the amount of toxic emissions in the atmosphere. They use renewable energy from the sun, and because the system doesn’t rely on outside air, it keeps the air inside of buildings cleaner and free from pollens, outdoor pollutants, mold spores, and other allergens.

32. Do geothermal heat pumps require additional heat sources in cold climates?

All geothermal heat pumps require an emergency auxilary electric resistant heat source. Most heat pumps can provide all the heat necessary even in the coldest weather. Your Spectrum Dealer can perform an economic analysis to determine what portion of the heat come from the heat pump and what portion will come from auxiliary means if necessary.

Learn More at GeoExchange.org

 


Leave a Reply