Reader Question: Would a geothermal system installed at my home increase the value? I don’t want to sell, but before I have this expense, what it will do to the value of my house?
Monty’s Answer: There is a considerable amount of information that is required to assess individual property accurately. As with any high-cost product, seek three estimates. Here are some of the major factors a well-trained and ethical installer will study in a geothermal evaluation of an existing home.
- Soil conditions – The different characteristics of different types of soil are a factor in determining operating costs and installation costs. If you live in a rocky area with minimal soil coverage, it will affect the installation cost and may change the efficiency of the system.
- Hydrology – Water availability is another factor that can affect the cost of a geothermal installation as water quality, the volume of water, and the source of the water, play a role in the evaluation.
- Land Availability -The size of your lot and the location of utilities, sprinkler systems, invisible fences, and more play a role in determining the least costly type of installation.
- Water Regulation – Every state regulates the use of water. If other conditions make a groundwater system the only option, can a permit be obtained to drill a well into the aquifer?
- Climate – Moderate climates that do not experience wide temperature variances may not consume enough energy to justify the expense of a geothermal system
- Home Size – The more significant the home, the larger the unit required, which translates to a higher cost to install.
- Construction Quality – not all building materials nor contractors are created equal. Insulation and other components may make a difference in the type of system installation.
- Ductwork – Some electric heating systems and hydronic heating systems do not utilize ducts for circulating airflow. Will additional costs be required to install ductwork?
Types of geothermal systems
The variables discussed above give rise to the need for different types of geothermal systems to overcome the various circumstances contained in each home. There are three types of systems; horizontal ground loops, vertical ground loops, and water sourced systems. The cost of these systems can vary widely, but many experts point to the higher installation costs as a deterrent to widespread adaptation by homeowners. The lower price in new construction installations is one of the contributing factors to the increased adoption of heat pumps.
A simple calculation
Every home has a heating system. Replacing one type of system for another is often a matter of preference. It is difficult to determine if a heat pump system affects the value of a home. One method that helps in determining the value of replacing a furnace is to calculate the anticipated energy cost savings over five years. If one cannot recover the cost of installation during those five years, there is a school of thought that believes the furnace may not be a good investment. For more information go to http://bit.ly/2Oo5PYY.