Geothermal vs Natural Gas & Why Geothermal Wins

When it comes to geothermal vs natural gas, which is a better choice for your home? In just about every case we will come down for geothermal. The advantages seem obvious to us, so why do many people still use heating oil to warm their homes? Is it that they don’t understand geothermal heating? Or is it all about the cold, hard cash?

We explore the top arguments we use to choose geothermal vs. natural gas or heating oil or coal or whatever. Let's get started!

Geothermal Never Runs Out

There is nothing more stable than the ground beneath your feet. Which means a geothermal heat pump is rooted in a continuous source of steady heat located under the frost line in the soil. No matter what the temperatures above ground, the heat source remains largely the same.

Natural gas is resilient as well, but other forms of fossil fuel heating fall short. In particular, both propane and heating oil require tank storage, and can run out. The last thing you want is to hit empty on a particularly cold winter day. Plus, natural gas lines can freeze if not properly insulated. Hopefully your state has taken precautions to prevent this, but not all have. Neither of these issues will happen to a geothermal heat pump.

But What About Electricity?

Geothermal vs natural gas and fuel oil is all well and good when it comes to storage and fuel, but what about electricity? Don't geothermal units need that? So what happens when the lights go out?

It is true that a ground-source heat pump will need electricity to function. But so do modern furnaces. They have electric igniters, control boards, and switches that all must be grid-connected. No edge to furnaces on that account then.

Ground-Source Doesn’t Burn Fossil Fuels

For many people around the world, reducing their carbon emissions is at the top of the agenda. They want to decrease the environmental footprint without sacrificing the safety of their family. Obviously, heating is a human requirement for many parts of the globe. In this geothermal vs natural gas contest, who wins?

This one is obvious. Fuel oil furnaces and natural gas furnaces burn fossil fuels directly. Yes, they provide effective heating, but their environmental impact is undeniable. Geothermal heat pumps only require electricity. They need zero fossil fuels to heat (or cool) in a variety of climates.

Geothermal is kind to the environment. It doesn’t emit carbon as oil does. Most systems emit water vapor. It doesn’t increase global warming, and it is super-efficient. By tapping into the earth's heat, it provides a natural and clean source of warmth.

Now, it is true that the electricity used in a ground-source unit might come from a power plant reliant on fossil fuels. The key difference in geothermal vs natural gas is that geothermal is not intrinsically reliant on the resource while natural gas definitely is.

Geothermal Improves Indoor Air Quality & Safety

One of the disadvantages of fossil fuels like natural gas is that every time you turn on your heating, your oven, or range, the quality of the air in your home drops. That’s because burning fossil fuels emits carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. These hazardous by-products are highly poisonous, and if inhaled in large enough quantities, they are deadly.

With geothermal heating, the air is as clean inside as it is outside because there is no combustion taking place. When you evaluate geothermal vs natural gas, a geothermal heat pump is never going to endanger your life or your family. A natural gas furnace could literally explode. Is there a low chance of that? Yes. Is that chance zero? No, it is not.

Geothermal Delivers Efficient Performance

We all know how volatile fossil fuel prices can. Wouldn’t you like to be in control of the price you pay for your heating? The cost of heating oil delivery can vary dramatically. Natural gas is more stable, but it is not without the potential for wide swings.

Geothermal heating gives you stability. It removes the shackles of dependency on fossil fuels and unsteady market forces. It has the lowest running costs of any other source of energy, including some renewables.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), your annual energy-savings should be somewhere between 30 and 60 percent. They break down these costs to a saving of between 30 and 70 percent on heating and 20 to 50 percent on cooling. It translates to a yearly saving of between $400 and $1,500. And the great news is you don’t have to suffer price fluctuations like with fossil fuels.

Geothermal Lasts (Almost) Forever

The average lifespan for an furnace is about 15 years if fully maintained and serviced. By contrast, a geothermal system can last for well over 30 years, with the coils in the ground still working 50 years later. There is no furnace that can get close to that level of long term performance.

Geothermal Adds Value To Your Home

A well maintained geothermal heating system adds value to your home. It’s because any potential buyer out there can see the annual savings they would make compared to an oil-fired heating system. If you couple that with the decreased maintenance geothermal heating requires and the longevity of the system, it all adds up to a sound investment.

What About Incentives?

There are some generous incentives available if you are considering installing geothermal heating. Get to know what rebates or grants apply through federal, state, or local government schemes. Check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) to get a clearer picture of what is on offer.

Some banks offer energy-efficient mortgages designed to help you finance your installation. It is useful if you are building a home from scratch and want to take advantage of any help on offer.

The whole point of renewable energy schemes is that it adds a dollar or more to your home's value for every dollar you save. The trade-off will be that these schemes often lock you into a time frame, dictating how long you stay in the property.

This measure is to deter any investors looking to take advantage of free money and then make a quick buck by immediately selling the house at an inflated price.

Our Conclusion About Geothermal vs Natural Gas

So there you have it. There is a clear winner when it comes to matching geothermal vs natural gas. It couldn’t be more plain that geothermal is the answer to so many of the country’s heating problems. It’s clean, renewable, cheaper to run, and efficient. The only downside is the cost.

But, with some generous incentives available, the gap closes between the cost of installing an oil-fired heating system and geothermal. Are you ready to finish the fight of geothermal vs natural gas in your home, and finally make the ground-source switch?

Then call us today at 270-575-9595! The helpful staff at Ingram's Water & Air is ready to help you find the best geothermal heat pump for your home right now. You can even check out our fine selection of ground-source units right here.

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