As someone who makes a living designing and installing geothermal systems in New England, I cannot tell you how disheartening it is to hear and read all the misinformation about how goethermal works, or whether it works at all. Let’s face it – there’s a lot of bad information our there. I’ve heard it all. Today, I’d like to share with you two of the most popular myths about geothermal heating and cooling systems.
Myth #1: You need to buy a fossil fuel heating system anyway to serve as a backup.
This simply isn’t true. A properly designed geothermal system will provide all of the heating and cooling that you need. There is no need whatsoever to install a gas or oil boiler as backup.
Myth #2: You can’t install these systems in the winter.
The drill rig that installs geothermal borings drills right through bedrock. They certainly have enough power to drill through ice.
Trenching in winter can be quite difficult, though; the degree of difficulty depends on your geographic location and ground cover conditions. A few straw bails can keep the frost out of the ground long enough to trench within a small area. Even if frost penetrates through the straw, the ground usually isn’t frozen for more than a few inches. We have encountered excavators who choose not to dig in the winter because of wear-and-tear on their equipment. Others don’t feel like shoveling their equipment out of a snow bank and some excavator operators don’t like to work outdoors in the winter – I guess that’s their prerogative. I don’t like working in the cold either!
Transitioning from a fossil fuel heating system to a geothermal heating system is sometimes tricky. Sometimes we set up a temporary heat source if the transition is expected to take more than a day or two. I have encountered many homeowners who choose to tough it out by putting on some extra sweaters.
If you have your own questions about geothermal, please post them here, or send us an email. We’d be happy to answer them!