If you're sick of paying your utility companies hundreds of dollars in heating bills every winter, you might have a chance to switch your home to an off-the-grid heating system based on geothermal energy. Geothermal home heating systems use abundant hot water pockets buried deep in the earth to provide cheap, natural heat. The systems carry a lot of promise, but they're far from perfect. There are two big disadvantages and two big advantages you should know about.
Disadvantage: Limited Availability
One of the biggest problems with geothermal heat is its limited availability. Basically, geothermal is only an option for home heating in areas where heat from the earth's core naturally warms subsurface water. Canadians are lucky to have more geothermal energy available than most other nations, thanks to the British Colombia's position atop the so-called "great ring of fire." Virtually the entire province has access to pockets of natural hot water. Large portions of Quebec and Newfoundland also have natural geothermal power sources, but most of the interior provinces don't have good geothermal options.
Disadvantage: High Installation Cost
The other big problem with geothermal heating in Canada is high upfront costs. In most areas without ready access to surface-level hot water, installing a geothermal heating system requires digging a well to access some hot water and then pumping it through pipes installed in your walls. The tab for a brand new system can easily exceed $40,000, according to Esquire. Various tax incentives and rebates can help you recoup the cost, but the bottom line is that installing a new geothermal heating system is pricey.
Advantage: Minimum Continuing Costs
Even though installation is expensive, keeping warm with geothermal system will cost you virtually nothing. You can completely eliminate your annual gas or heating oil bill, saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The only continuing cost is maintenance, which usually just involves replacing your pump's filter once a year and, perhaps once a decade, replacing the pump itself. Those costs are comparable to the maintenance costs of keeping a boiler in good condition, anyway.
Advantage: Environmentally Friendly
One final reason to choose a geothermal system is that it's the most environmentally friendly heating source out there. Instead of burning fossil fuels and contributing to the ongoing climate crisis, geothermal power taps into the earth's existing heat reserves. It requires no additional energy production, saving resources and protecting the atmosphere from smoggy emissions. And unlike solar power, geothermal doesn't require manufacturing fancy technology with high doses of toxic heavy metals like cadmium and lead. From an environmental perspective, geothermal is an optimal heat source.
If you're interested in getting your heating bills under control and you can stomach the high upfront costs, check out geothermal heating options in your area today. If you're looking for a local heating company, visit Clark's Plumbing & Heating Corp.