Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Geothermal System’

Will I Save Money with a Geothermal System?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Using a geothermal system to heat and cool homes grows more popular as an option with each passing year. A geothermal heat pump offers homeowners a level of stability and dependability for comfort that they could not receive from a standard air-source heat pump. This is especially important in a place like Chicagoland, with our intense winters that put heavy stress on air-source heat pumps, but which won’t bother a geothermal system that has access to the stable temperatures in the earth below the frost line.

Another reason to consider installing a geothermal system in Northbrook, IL is that geothermal power can help you save money. Installing a geothermal system costs more than a standard heat pump because of the digging and extra material and equipment involved, and this sometimes causes potential customers to hesitate: will a geothermal installation save money in the long run? Our technicians at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning, who have years of experience installing different kinds of heat pumps, can help answer that question.

How Geothermal Systems Save Money

The reason that geothermal heat pumps (also knowns as GHPs or ground-source heat pumps) are energy efficient is the same reason they work so well in temperature extremes: they access a reliable source of heat from underground so they will not need to overwork either to extract or deposit heat. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, geothermal heat pumps can reach high efficiencies of 300% to 400% on even the coldest winter nights, compared to 175% to 250% for air-source heat pumps on only a cool day.

How much can this efficiency save you? We cannot provide an exact dollar amount, of course, because it depends on the size of your home, the geothermal system, and your pattern of heating and cooling. However, the Department of Energy estimates that the savings from a ground-source heat pump will allow it to earn back its installation cost in 5–10 years. When you consider that, according to the DOE, the average system life expectancy for a geothermal heat pump is 25 years for the inside components and more than 50 years for the ground loops, you will have at the minimum 15 years of excellent energy savings after the end of the payback period. In addition, geothermal systems often raise the value of a home, adding to the amount of money they return on their investment.

Contact Us for More Information About Geothermal Heat Pumps

There are so many reasons to consider installing a geothermal system in Northbrook, IL and other parts of Chicagoland that we cannot list them all in this space. We encourage you to give us a call at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning and take advantage of our many decades of work in heating and cooling to provide you with all the information you need to decide if you want geothermal installation for your home.

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Principles of Geothermal Heating

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Here in Morton Grove, IL, geothermal systems make a fascinating alternative to more traditional boilers and forced air furnaces. They’re not for everyone – they require certain specifics in your property and the up-front cost is often higher than other systems – but they offer a number of benefits in the right circumstances. The principles of geothermal heating make those advantages clear and can help you decide if such a system is right for you.

At its heart is an unchanging physical constant: the ambient temperature of the earth remains the same, no matter what the weather is like outside. Once you get below a few feet deep, the same temperature prevails in the winter as it does the summer. With that as a basis, the geothermal system can facilitate a heat exchange with the ground: pulling heat from it or bleeding heat into it depending on what you need. A series of hollow tubes is run through the ground, at least six feet deep or so, and a mixture of water and antifreeze is pumped through it. The mixture will pull ambient heat out of the ground when you need to warm your home, then bring it back inside where it can be distributed through your household.

Geothermal heating costs more to install because you need to uncover a fair amount of ground to put the tubing in. That takes time and personnel, which can up the costs. On the other hand, the tubing involves no moving parts which means repairs are very infrequent. Furthermore because no energy is used to create the heat – only to pump the fluids through the tubes – geothermal heating is very inexpensive to operate and saves a lot on monthly costs over more traditional forms of heating.

For more on the principles of geothermal heating, or to see if such a system is right for you, then give the experts at Shavitz Heating & Air Conditioning a call. Geothermal systems are one of the things we do best, but we also offer other heating services in Morton Grove, IL as well. Give us a call today to discuss your options: we’ll help you through the ins and outs of this exciting form of heating technology!

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Signs You Need to Replace Your Geothermal System

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

In Illinois, a geothermal heat pump is one of the most efficient ways to receive heating during the winter. Standard air-source heat pumps have trouble providing warmth during Illinois winters (unless they have a back-up furnace), but a ground-source geothermal heat pump uses the steady temperature of the earth that varies only a few degrees, no matter how cold the surface becomes.

Geothermal systems are remarkably durable and long-lived, but they won’t last forever. You’ll need to know how to read the signs warning you that you should schedule a replacement for your geothermal system in Wilmette, IL. Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning has some tips to help you find out if it’s time for a replacement:

  • Heavy corrosion across the heat exchange coils: This is a good sign in general that any heat pump needs replacement. Corroded coils will restrict the heat exchange, just like dirt and ice, but corrosion also indicates extreme age that is affecting the whole system. If your geothermal system is over 20 years old at this point, then corrosion usually means it needs replacement. Your heat pump probably uses an older refrigerant blend, R-22, which needs to be switched for a system that uses the more environmentally healthy R-410A.
  • Consistent drop in heating/cooling levels: If you notice that your geothermal heat pump is no longer delivering the level of heating or cooling that it once could, and nothing else seems wrong in the heat pump unit, then there may be damage in the underground coils causing a leak in refrigerant. Have professionals inspect the unit to locate the leaks and determine if you need a replacement. Once again, if your system is over 20 years old, replacement is often the best option.
  • Consistent coil frosting: A loss of refrigerant will cause the indoor coils of the heat pump to frost over during cooling mode. Usually, a technician can repair leaks around the compressor or clean off the coils to fix this. But if this continues to happen to an older system, it probably means the underground coils are no longer capable of carrying out heat exchange.

Here’s a bit of good news about geothermal heat pump replacement: sometimes you will only need to replace the heat pump itself, and not the underground coils—a much less expensive procedure. The heat pump is more likely to need replacement before the coils, so make sure you consult with a geothermal specialist before you decide if you want the whole system replaced.

When you want an experienced opinion on your geothermal system or have any questions regarding heating installation in Wilmette, IL, look to Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning and give us a call today—we’ve served Chicagoland for four generations!

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Can Geothermal Systems Work With Any Home?

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Geothermal systems are probably one of the most efficient systems on the market. They use the endless and free energy of the earth to provide heating and cooling for your home. However, because of how they work, they require certain accommodations that not all homes can provide. Here at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning, we offer total geothermal installation, repair, maintenance and replacement. We wanted to let our customers know about some of the limitations that geothermal systems have.

Call us today if you have any questions or if you need heating service in Winnetka, IL.

A Look at How Geothermal Systems Work

If you dig down into the ground, the temperature there will be about 55° F all year long—no matter what temperature the air is above ground. Geothermal systems use that temperature consistency to provide both heating and cooling. However, in order to do that, geothermal systems need a long series of pipes that are filled with refrigerant and buried in the ground. This is referred to as the ground loop. In heating mode, the geothermal system will use the pipes to absorb heat and bring it into your home. In cooling mode, the unit will absorb heat out of your home and exhaust it into the ground.

So while geothermal systems are very efficient, your home must have enough space to accommodate the long series of pipes buried in the ground. Typically, the ground loop is installed horizontally. However, for homes that have less space, the ground loop can be installed vertically.

If you have any questions or if you’re ready to have one of our technicians visit your home to talk with you about the possibility of a geothermal system, then call the Winnetka, IL geothermal system experts at Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning.

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How Do Geothermal Systems Work?

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

Geothermal systems are one of the most exciting home comfort options available today. Using the natural power of the earth, they provide clean, efficient energy that creates zero greenhouse gases or ozone-depleting product. They also run with a minimum of noise pollution and offer year-round dependability because they rely on the steady temperature of the earth. And even though they can have high installation costs, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that with their energy-efficient performance, they pay for themselves in only 5 to 10 years.

Our customers frequently ask us how geothermal systems operate. “How can I get both heating and cooling from the ground?” Yes, it does sound a bit strange—but geothermal heat pumps aren’t as complicated as you might imagine. We’ll try to give you a succinct answer to the common queries about the operation of geothermal heat pumps.

If you are interested in getting a geothermal system in Evanston, IL, contact Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning.

We’ve been around since 1904, so we were already hard at work heating and cooling homes when geothermal systems were first developed.

Geothermal Heat Pumps 101

A geothermal heat pump works similarly to a standard heat pump: it moves heat from one place and puts it in another; i.e. “heat exchange.” However, a geothermal heat pump uses the earth as its heat exchange medium instead of the outside air. It takes heat from the earth and moves it indoors during the winter, and reverses the process in the summer. Because the temperature of the earth remains at a steady 55°F only 10 feet below the surface, no matter the season, a geothermal heat pump always has the right temperature from which to work.

To move the heat, a geothermal system uses loops of plastic tubes or copper pipes buried in trenches beneath your property. An antifreeze solution or refrigerant passes through these loops to transfer the heat from the ground up into your home. Changing the direction of the flow of the heat exchange solution also reverses the process and moves heat from your home and puts in into the ground, giving you a cooler indoor temperature. Because geothermal systems require extensive trench-digging and intricate connections, installing them isn’t something you should entrust to amateurs. If you want to receive the superior benefits of a geothermal system, you need to have it installed professionally.

Call Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning for heating service in Evanston, IL: we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and also a Lifetime Workmanship Warranty.

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