7 Geothermal Myths You Should Forget

Geothermal energy is growing in popularity, but plenty of misconceptions still exist. Here are seven of the most commonly believed geothermal myths and the actual truth of the matter.

  • Myth: Geothermal systems require a large amount of land.
  • Fact: Depending on the soil makeup and other site characteristics, you could be eligible for a vertical underground loop, which requires relatively little above-ground surface area.
  • Myth: Geothermal systems only provide heating.
  • Fact: The same as air-source heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps provide heating in the winter and work in reverse to provide cooling in the summer. Plus, geothermal systems are more efficient than air-source heat pumps, meaning you probably don’t need a backup heat source, especially because San Diego’s climate is so mild.
  • Myth: Geothermal energy is not affordable.
  • Fact: Green energy solutions tend to earn this bad rap. It’s true that the initial costs is higher than a traditional system, but 50 to 75 percent lower utility bills make up for this very quickly. Plus, with tax credits that cover 30 percent of the purchase and installation costs through 2016, the initial investment is even more feasible.
  • Myth: Geothermal is only for new construction.
  • Fact: While installation temporarily disrupts the landscape, geothermal retrofits are certainly reasonable. In fact, older buildings with poor insulation can benefit tremendously by the 400 to 600 percent operational efficiency achieved by geothermal heat pumps.
  • Myth: Geothermal systems are noisy.
  • Fact: On the contrary, geothermal heat pumps are some of the quietest HVAC systems available. Plus, there’s not an outdoor compressor to bother the neighbors.
  • Myth: Geothermal systems don’t last.
  • Fact: The above-ground components last as long as other HVAC equipment (about 15 to 20 years) and the underground portion can last for generations. In fact, it typically includes a 50-year warranty.
  • Myth: Geothermal consumes a lot of water.
  • Fact: The underground loops reuse the same water over and over, so there is no waste at all.


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