Heating Options: Natural Gas vs. Geothermal Heat
LESLIE: Dale in Virginia’s next who finds The Money Pit on WJFK, Free FM. And you’ve got a question about geothermal heat pumps. What can we do for you?
DALE: Well, I’m in the process of building a house. Just kind of started and we’re at a point where we need to select a regular heat pump or geothermal. And I’ve, you know, heard all the claims and kind of curious what your thoughts are on the efficiency and if they’re really worth it, you know, to put one in.
TOM: Do you have the option to put oil or gas in?
DALE: I can put gas. Oil is really kind of a … and I’m not real fond of the thought of oil and I’ve had gas in the past.
TOM: Alright, so what you’re really comparing here, Dale, is gas heat – natural gas heat – to geothermal heat pumps?
DALE: Either that or just a regular heat pump.
TOM: Right, regular electric heat pump. Well, I would suggest that, if you have the ability to put natural gas in, that you definitely put natural gas in over any electrical system for heating your home; whether it’s geothermal or a straight resistance heat pump. Because I think that natural gas is going to be less expensive; even though it’s perhaps a little more pricey this past year, in the long run …
LESLIE: Electric is always going to be pricey.
TOM: Yeah. And the other thing about geothermal is that you’ve got this big loop of pipe that has to go through the soil. And while the piping materials themselves are warranteed for a long time, generally it’s only the material, not the labor; which, of course, is the biggest part of the repair. And so, for those reasons, I think that my choices would be … if I had all the fuel choices lined up, I would put in a gas system first, followed by oil, followed by propane, followed by geothermal, followed by regular heat pump.
TOM: (INAUDIBLE) put them in that order.
DALE: (laughing) OK.
TOM: Alright, Dale? Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.