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Geothermal Heat Pumps (GHPs) are similar to normal heat pumps, except they rely on the constant temperature of the ground to preheat or cool the air in your home. This method of heating and cooling is incredibly energy efficient and an ENERGY STAR qualified geothermal heat pump uses 30% less energy than a conventional heat pump, which are already more efficient than most HVAC systems.

Geothermal Heat Pumps are generally easy to install in both new construction and retrofits. The most difficult part is digging either the trenches or the well for the ground heat exchanger, which is essentially a long system of tubes in your ground. There are two basic types of systems - a closed loop system of tubes in your ground dug horizontally, vertically, or placed in a nearby pond, and then there is an open loop system which utilizes an existing well and circulates the well water.

A geothermal heat pump is more costly than conventional systems, but generally can be repaid in 5-10 years through energy savings. The lifetime of most system components is 25 years and the ground loop should last at least 50 years. On average, a geothermal heat pump system costs about $2,500 per ton of capacity, or roughly $7,500 for a 3-ton unit (a typical residential size). A system using horizontal ground loops will generally cost less than a system with vertical loops. In comparison, other systems would cost about $4,000 with air conditioning.
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