Geothermal Heating Costs vs Natural Gas

Geothermal heat pumps are fantastic cooling units that can do the same job as an air conditioner only a whole lot more efficiently. Unlike conventional air conditioners, geothermal can reverse cycle to heat in winter. Which obviously puts them into competition with the most popular heater in America: a natural gas furnace. Because you don't want a second-best heat system, how do geothermal heating costs stack up against the competition?

Geothermal vs Gas

The basic question between geothermal and natural gas comes down to fuel source. A natural gas furnace, obviously, uses natural gas. A geothermal heat pump uses electricity. In a lot of areas around the country, natural gas costs are very low. It is much cheaper to operate a natural gas furnace than to rely on an electric furnace.

Of course, geothermal heat pumps operate very differently than electric furnace units. Geothermal heating costs calculations must take into account Coefficients of Performance (COP). Basically, COP indicates that a geothermal heat pump is so efficient that it can get 300-400% efficiency out of a single dollar's worth of electricity. And that means geothermal heat pumps can operate very, very cost effectively when compared to any kind of heating system. So, where does that leave us?

Basically, geothermal heating costs are going to be as good and often better than what a gas furnace can produce. Which means that not only will a geothermal heat pump operate more efficiently than a conventional air-source unit, but it will also heat overall more efficiently than the best heating systems on the market.

This doesn't mean you should rip out your furnace and replace it with geothermal. What it does mean is that when it comes time to replace your home heating and air system, make sure you keep your options open on geothermal heat pumps.

Other Questions & Comments?

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13 comments (view/add)
  • Michael Innes
    Michael Innes
    Posted on 3/30/2019

    We are semi retired and downsizing. Looking at a home right now which has Geothermal heating. We had a heat pump for 30 some years
    and the house was never warm We were told the heat never gets above 90 degrees coming out of the heat vent. Does this apply to Geothermal
    as well. Do they have heat coils like a heat pump that have to come on to get the home warmer. We are renting now with Natural gas and
    you can really get the house warm in a hurry. Can you provide me with any information.
    Thank you from and older couple

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 4/1/2019

    Geothermal heat pumps use the same basic principles as air-source heat pumps. The main difference is since geothermal units most always have a reliable stable temperature source, they can heat more efficiently and at lower temperatures than conventional heat pumps. If the unit is properly sized for the home, you should not have any problem get a warm, comfortable house even in very cold conditions.

  • Kurt Nienhusser
    Kurt Nienhusser
    Posted on 5/2/2019

    I learned about the geothermal system back in the 70's in Brookhaven Lab in Long Island and never I came across of any company that were manufacturing the equipment up to now.
    I have a 1200 ft square, roughly, single level house, which unit would you recommend?
    In my plans I'm considering to install a Lennox condenser or other brand, could you please tell me what should I gain installing a close loop geothermal unit?
    Do you happen to know if in Georgia, specifically Douglas county can be installed a open loop geothermal unit?
    Efficiency wise, which one is the best one, open loop unit or close loop unit?
    Thanks from a possible new geothermal customer.

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 5/3/2019

    We would recommend a GeoCool or a ClimateMaster unit. A closed loop geothermal will be a lot more efficient than any conventional system. I'm not sure about Douglas County. Open loop are typically more efficient and cheaper to install than a closed loop, but not able to be installed in all places. Give us a call at 270-575-9595 and talk to Jacob at x103. Jacob is our in-house geothermal expert, and can give you a lot more information.

  • David T
    David T
    Posted on 6/16/2019

    I would like to explore using alternative energy sources in a combination of ways and install everything myself. Geothermal, LNG generator for electric along with Solar Panels. Does the co-energy buy-back apply to all areas of the country?

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 6/17/2019

    The Federal renewable energy tax credit applies to any property owner in the United States.

  • Brian G
    Brian G
    Posted on 11/1/2019

    We recently move into a home with a geothermal system. My question; With traditional furnace systems we would turn the temp down or up when we were not home. The thought was to save electricity/gas depending on season. Does geothermal systems benefit from doing this? Or is it cheaper to leave temp settings at one temp?

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 11/1/2019

    Geothermal heat pumps are very energy efficient, but they still use electricity. You will see some savings by modifying the temperature when you're not going to be home. The best way to do that is with a programmable thermostat.

  • Joanne Appelhof
    Joanne Appelhof
    Posted on 11/16/2019

    We now have a geothermal heat pump , it is now 25 years old and needs to be replaced. We are wondering if we should go with natural gas or stay with ground water heat pump.

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 11/19/2019

    You should definitely consider sticking with geothermal. Any existing ground loop will likely last for many more decades, so all that would need to be replaced would be the external components. Plus, there is still a federal tax rebate active right now, so you can save a bundle on a new unit.

  • Victor
    Posted on 12/11/2019

    You have agent in Ontario Canada?

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 12/12/2019

    We do not have an agent in Ontario.

    Posted on 12/30/2019

    A geo thermal heat pump uses approx $14 of elec at 14 cents per kwh to make1 million btus of heat. 1001 c.f. of natural gas makes1 million btus of heat. Right now the going rate for1001 c.f. of natural gas up here in Michigan costs $4.5 to $5. That includes tax and commodity and transportation charges.

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