Are there drawbacks to ground-source heat pumps?

While GSHPs can be a great fit for many homes and businesses, there are some potential drawbacks:

  • High upfront costs. GSHPs are very expensive to install, with most residential systems in Concord costing at least $31,000 after incentives. It can be a number of years before energy savings pay back the difference compared to traditional fossil fuel or central AC systems.
  • Landscaping considerations. GSHP systems require drilling or excavation in your yard or lot. Vertical-loop systems require less disruption to your property, though there will still be disturbance associated with the drilling process and moving drilling equipment around. Ask installers about options for minimizing disruptions and restoring landscaping after installation.
  • Installation time. As system design and drilling/excavation is required, the ground-source installation process will typically take 2-3 months to complete from when you sign a contract. A GSHP system may not be well-suited for an emergency replacement.
  • Ductwork installation or modification may be required. GSHPs can offer both heating and cooling, but may require modifications to existing ductwork, which may be impractical in some situations. While GSHPs can work with hydronic (hot water) distribution systems, they are not compatible with steam heating systems. Ductwork and/or air-handling units are required for your ground-source system to provide air conditioning.

Show All Answers

1. What is a ground-source (aka geothermal or geoexchange) heat pump and how does it work?
2. What types of ground-source heat pumps and configurations are available?
3. What are the benefits of using ground-source heat pumps?
4. Are there drawbacks to ground-source heat pumps?
5. Is a ground-source heat pump right for me?
6. Why are ground-source heat pumps considered to be a clean heating and cooling technology?
7. Can ground-source heat pumps provide domestic hot water?
8. How do the annual maintenance costs of ground-source heat pumps compare to other heating systems?
9. How long do ground-source heat pumps last?
10. How complicated is installing a ground-source heat pump and how much time will it take?
11. What if I don’t have a lot of yard space?
12. How much will a ground-source heat pump cost?
13. Are there any state or federal incentives available for GSHP installations?
14. Are rebates available for ground-source heat pump installations?
15. How can I find a GSHP installer?
16. What questions should I ask potential GSHP installers?
17. Who can I contact if I have a question not answered in these FAQs?