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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Electrical, HVAC & Energy Efficiency > Geothermal Heat Pump

Geothermal Heat Pump Cost


How Much Does a Geothermal Heat Pump Cost?

 
average costHeat Pump Only: $3,500-$7,500high costComplete System, Installed: $10,000-$25,000+
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Also called ground-source or geo-exchange, a geothermal heat pump is an electrically powered heating and cooling system that transfers heat between the house and the earth by circulating fluid through long loops of underground pipe. Heat pumps do not generate heat; instead, they move it around, and temperatures just below the ground surface are relatively constant all year. A geothermal heat pump works best in relatively mild climates.

Typical costs:

  • Geothermal heat pumps have high initial costs but are one of the most energy-efficient methods of heating A geothermal (ground-source or water-source) heat pump can cost $3,500-$7,500 for just the unit, and the more expensive models may include options such as a two-stage compressor or a hot water heater.
  • Excavation and installation costs can bring total costs to $10,000-$25,000 or more, depending on depth of pipes, type of equipment and soil conditions. CostHelper readers report spending $12,000-$15,000 for complete installation of a geothermal system, at an average cost of $13,400; and a reader in Iowa spent $35,000 to install three geothermal units (one for each floor of a 6,500-square-foot barn which was converted into a bed and breakfast).
Related articles: Heat Pump, Air Heat Pump, Dual Fuel Heat Pump, Furnace, Central Air Conditioner

What should be included:
  • Generally the entire geothermal heat pump and all mechanical components are located in an indoor unit (somewhat similar in appearance to an air conditioning unit). Typically a geothermal heat pump is inexpensive to operate and has no noisy outdoor equipment. The US Department of Energy provides a general overview[1] of the various types of geothermal heat pumps, and the California Consumer Energy Center illustrates how a ground source heat pump works[2] .
  • Installing a geothermal system usually involves digging holes 150'-250' deep. Pipes can be buried in soil, installed under a water source (such as a lake) or bored inside a rock shelf. An average installation takes 1-3 days, but this varies considerably depending on the length and depth of the pipes, soil conditions and the type of equipment required. Generally, installing a geothermal heat pump requires professional training and is not encouraged as a do-it-yourself project, since poor installation techniques can hurt the system's efficiency. House-Energy.com provides a brief installation overview.
  • Terms such as "ground-source" or "geothermal" are often used interchangeably, but some argue[3] that true geothermal systems take heat directly from natural sources (i.e. hot springs, geysers, volcanic hot spots) and are generally used for larger commercial or industrial sites, while ground-source heat pumps are reversible air conditioners that use groundwater or the soil to cool and heat a home or other building.
Discounts:
  • Utility companies and other agencies may pay a rebate on an energy-efficient ground-source heat pump; check with the local power company or search for rebates listed at EnergyStar.gov[4] .
  • Energy Star-rated ground-source heat pumps may qualify for a federal tax credit[5] of 30% of the cost through 2016.
Shopping for a geothermal heat pump:
  • The US Department of Energy provides guidelines[6] for selecting and installing a geothermal heat pump system. Find manufacturers and local contractors in the GeoExchange directory[7] .
  • Get several estimates, making clear what is included in each quote. Request and check references; ask about the contractor's length and type of experience; and be sure the company is properly bonded, insured and licensed[8] . Check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau[9] .
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Bad Geotheral installer
Amount: $25,000.00
Posted by: Tom and Joyce Frame in Coeur d Alene, ID.Posted: November 21st, 2013 01:11PM
Brand: Water FurnaceModel: EO72TR111NBD55A
Installer: R and R Heating & AC
We live in a 5000 sqft home with a 6 ton unit installed. The compressor, a pump and the thermal expansion valve have all failed. Consultants says the the loop field was significantly undersized. Warranty reduced by installer from 10 yr to 5 yr.
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Closed loop system inlet and outlet lines are close to same temp.
Amount: $14,000.00
Posted by: Homer Bailey in Cass City, MI.Posted: March 18th, 2013 07:03PM
Brand: Water FurnaceModel: Premier
Installer: Newton Plumbing and heating
Our Aux. heat continues to run costing us around $350.00 last month, A repairman from B&D Heating checked the unit and did a test which he said showed that the inlet and outlet temp. are about the same, and that our field is full of ice cristals. We have 360 ft. 4 lines out and in, and the seperation was about 3 ft. top to bottom. Our unit has had an impeller and a compressor replaced within the last 4 years yet it never cost us over $150.00 per month in the coldest winters in Michigan. Is the repairman right, and if so is there some way that I can install a pre heating unit on the inlet side prior to the furnace. Thanks
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geothermal
Amount: $35,000.00
Posted by: G. Etter in Waterloo, IA.Posted: July 16th, 2012 06:07PM
Brand: EconarModel: 3 unites GV 491, 591, 591
Installer: Picar heating and cooling
We converted a large barn into a bed and breakfast in 1997. We bought 3 unites, one for each floor of our 6500sq area. Our costs were pumped up due to the excavation company,whose services we will NEVER contract for again. We have a closed loop slinky system using 2 1/2 miles of special plastic pipe linked together to resemble a slinky.. buried 8 feet deep. There have been a couple small repairs in the past years, one due to the surging of electricity during a 2 week ice storm,ruining a thermister. Our electric bills have been very affordable. Today we have a problem with one of the unites 'blowing up' the master switch. We have not gotten it figured out, and our repairman Tri-County Refrigeration is contacting Econar tomorrow to see if we can find the problem. The compressor is kicking on when we replace the switch, but after turning off when it reached the desired temperature it burns up the master switch when it calls for cooling again. 3 of them, so far. Any ideas?
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Geothermal installation cost
Amount: $8,500.00
Posted by: Dan Favata, CGD in Oklahoma City, OK.Posted: May 17th, 2012 02:05PM
As a certified geothermal contractor and trainer, I would like to add the following, the cost of the installation should not be the only factor considered when installing this system. Many non-certified and non-qualified companies are installing geothermals, and not properly designing and installing the system, loop field or required components. I spend a considerable amount of time doing "forensic" geothermal.Unfortunately, most cases require repairs in excess of the differential in initial cost estimates from the "high" bidder. Be sure that your installer has experience in installations and that they are (at a minimum) IGSHPA certified. Costs range from 4500 to 8500+ per ton depending on the dynamics of the installation. Please do your homework, and pay the difference upfront rather than on the back end over the long run. Just like automobiles, you can buy a cost effective model or you can buy one with a proven track record.
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Geothermal
Amount: $14,000.00
Posted by: P. Dougherty in Muncy, PA.Posted: April 10th, 2011 05:04AM
Brand: Water furnace,Model:
This unit has been in for three winters in central PA. It has work very well. Our electric bills are much lower by about 75% than with fossil fuel. We heat and cool about 3000 sq. ft. using three 150' well loops. We will be building a new second home & will have a well system like we currently have.
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Geothermal
Amount: $14,000.00
Posted by: P. Dougherty in Muncy, PA.Posted: April 8th, 2011 07:04PM
Brand: Water furnace,Model:
This unit has been in for three winters in central PA. It has work very well. Our electric bills are much lower by about 75% than with fossil fuel. We heat and cool about 3000 sq. ft. using three 150' well loops. We will be building a new second home & will have a well system like we currently have.
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Ground Source 4 ton Tetco Heat Pump furnace installed in 1994
Amount: $12,000.00
Posted by: Ralf Armstrong in International Falls, MN.Posted: March 24th, 2011 11:03AM
Brand: TetcoModel: 4 Ton Unit
Installer: N/A
New Construction(1994)2100 sq. foot bungalow on a 4 foot insulated(R22) crawl space. Also, R22 insulation in main floor walls and R60 in attic. Started the system in January 1994. It wouldn't heat the house above 65 with 1800 feet of lines installed 5 feet below ground. Was told it was because we installed the ground loops late in the year and ground had not settled yet. Also had an HRV hooked up to the cold air return to supply preheated fresh air to the house. HRV did make the unit work harder, but hey, you need fresh air in your house and an HRV also filters air and controls humidity. Furnace makers and designers should know that. Furnace compressor was noisy and gave us headaches. Switching valve had to be replaced the first year. Second year the fan motor had to be changed and I had to do it myself. I installed a good quality universal blower motor. Third year the compressor died and I had to pay my installer to install a higher quality compressor. The furnace ran well for 10 years after that. Heating was ok, but we still used a wood stove to take the chill out of the house in mid winter. Was told I should have had 1 foot of closed ground loop lines for every 1 sq.ft. of floor space. Too bad the installer wasn't told that by Tetco before he did my job. It was better for A/C than for heat. All in all, the cost was too high and the life expectancy of the unit is not long enough. By the time you pay for your investment and are ready to enjoy your energy saving you will have to do major replacements. Our Next home was a slab foundation with radiant heat "electric boiler" instead of a geothermal forced air system. I also put in a propane gas furnace for backup which includes the A/C forced air and duct work. HRV installed as well. Geothermal is way too much money and the life of the system is 15 years vs. 45 years for a good quality electric boiler. PEX tubing for radiant heat has a life expectancy of 100 to 600 years according to some scientists.
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water source geothermal
Amount: $15,000.00
Posted by: Colin Ritter in Berrien Springs, MI.Posted: March 9th, 2011 03:03PM
Brand: WaterFurnaceModel: Premier AT
Installer: Water Furnace michiana
I had this unit installed almost twenty years ago and I loved it. I have had a couple of repairs done but the warranty that came with the unit covered them. I have a 2500 sq.foot two story house in Michigan right where Lake effect storms can wreck havoc on our winter weather. my highest electric bill is around $100 all year round and I have no gas service in the house.
Now that Water Furnace is offering a buy back program on old equiptment whether that made it or not, I am defenitly changing out my unit for the new and improved version. Also with the government rebate incentive of 30% off the cost of replacement, my bill will be almost the same as installing a high effeciency furnace and air.
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geo thermal system
Amount: $12,000.00
Posted by: JERIMAH in MINOT, ND.Posted: February 2nd, 2011 01:02AM
Brand: econarModel: geo source 2000tm
Installer: NORTHERN PLAINS
SYSTEM WAS INSTALLED IN 2002.i HAVE JUST STARTED TO HAVE PROBLEMS WITH IT.IN JULY THE REPAIR MAN CAME OUT AND SAID HE REPAIRED A PIN HOLE IN THE DISCHARGE LINE THAT THE UNIT WAS EMPTY 400.00.ON JAN 26 6 MONTHS LATER WE HAD THE REPAIR MAN OUT AGAIN.FOUND GEOTHERMAL UNIT EMPTY AND A PINHOLE LEAK ON DISCHRGE LINE.506.02. IM BEGINING TO BELIEVE THAT ALONG WIITH THE HIGH COST OFF INSTALLING THIS KIND OF SYSTEM AND THE COST OF REPAIRS.IT WOULD BE LESS EXPENSIVE TO GO WITH A CONVENTIONAL SYSTEM.IF I CONTINUE TO HAVE THESE HIGH REPAIR COSTS I WILL SWITCH OVER.IT IS FEB 1 AND MY SYSTEM HAS NOT SHUT OF FOR 3 DAYS .IT IS VERY COLD OUT .JUST DONT REMEMBER MY SYSTEM RUNNING THIS MUCH.I RECOMENED TO PEOPLE BECAUSE OF THE HIGH COST OF REPAIRS AND INITAL COST TO STAY WITH THE CONVENTIONAL SYSTEMS.AT THIS RATE BY IT COULD COST ME 1500.A YEAR IN REPAIR BILLS.GR ND
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BAD GEOTHERMAL UNIT
Amount: $14,000.00
Posted by: KEITH LEHMKUHL in HOUSE SPRINGS, MO.Posted: July 10th, 2009 04:07PM
Brand: CLIMATEMASTERModel: VT036 GSSSRTDDSH
Installer: WEST COUNTY HEATING AND COOLING
IN 2002 I HAD A 3 TON CLIMATEMASTER GEO SYSTEM INSTALLED IN MY NEWLY BUILT HOME. EVERY YEAR THE SYSTEM WOULD LOCK UP IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER. EVERYTIME THE INSTALLER COULD NOT FIND A PROBLEM. THE WELL TEMP. WOULD ALWAYS REACH EXTREM TEMP. IN SUMMER AND WINTER. THE SYSTEM WOULD RUN LONG AND LOUD. WAS LIKE NOISE POLLUTION IN MY HOUSE DURING THE WINTER MONTHS. FINALLY QUIT CALLING A REPAIR MAN. IT WAS COSTING TO MUCH TO MISS WORK AND PAY FOR SERVICE CALLS. JUST MADE DUE WITH A BAD UNIT,BY HEATING ONLY HALF THE HOUSE AND KEPT THE WINTER T-STAT SET AT 65 DEG. now 7 years later have had my hot water circulating pump quit working (out of pocket $500.00) and most recent a compressor quit working estimated cost of repair $3900.00 plus my missed work pay. (WOULD NOT RECOMMEND CLIMATEMASTER GEOTHERMAL UNITS) THEY ALSO OVER CHARGE FOR REPLACEMENT PART WHEN THE FAIL.
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External Resources:
  1.  energy.gov/energysaver/articles/geothermal-heat-pumps
  2.  www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/heating_cooling/geothermal.html
  3.  www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/jargon-watch-geothermal-vs-ground-source-...
  4.  www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=rebate.rebate_locator
  5.  www.ase.org/resources/energy-efficiency-home-and-vehicle-tax-credits
  6.  energy.gov/energysaver/articles/choosing-and-installing-geothermal-heat-pumps
  7.  www.geoexchange.org/findapro/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=200&Itemid=4
  8.  www.contractors-license.org/
  9.  www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/
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