A lot of people who are interested in geothermal heating systems for their home already have a heating system in place. While it is obviously easiest to install a geothermal system in a brand new house, there are many options available with geothermal retrofits to adapt your current system. Here are some of the common questions about geothermal retrofits that will help you decide if that option is right for your home.
Which type of heating system is the easiest to retrofit?
The easiest type of system to retrofit is a hydro-air heating system because its operation is not that different from that of a ground source heat pump. With a hydro-air heating system, a boiler heats air which is then distributed through the house via ductwork. If you replace the boiler with the geothermal heat pump for the primary heat source, the rest of the system only needs minimal adjustment. In some cases, the hydro-air system is left in place to serve as an auxiliary heat source.
Which type of heating systems are the most difficult/expensive to retrofit?
The most difficult systems to retrofit are older houses with baseboard heating and no central air conditioning. These systems have no ducts to distribute the air from the ground source heat pump, and you will need to have ducts installed for the new system. Radiant floor geothermal systems are very expensive, so it is not a recommended retrofit for residential homes.
Will the underground loops affect my landscaping?
Installing pipes underground will obviously involve digging up at least part of your yard, but horizontal loops only need trenches of about 6 inches wide. Vertical loops require even less space and will not cause very much damage to your lawn. In the long term, geothermal systems do not cause any problems with trees, grass, or other plants. After your grass recovers from the initial installation, you should notice no differences in your yard.
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