A geothermal system for the typical home will cost more than if you bought a conventional central air conditioning system. But you wouldn’t be comparing “apples to apples.” To get an accurate comparison of costs you need to consider the following:
• Payback, or how long it takes to recover the difference in costs between the two systems using energy savings. Payback for most geothermal heat pump systems runs three to five years.
• Federal, state and local tax credits / incentives will significantly reduce the upfront cost of installing a geothermal system.
• Energy efficiency of the two systems. To get an accurate picture, make sure efficiency claims are substantiated. Your lifestyle and how well your home is insulated affect how economical a system will be, too.
• Total operating savings from heating, cooling and domestic hot water must be combined to get an accurate picture of total energy savings.
• Energy costs and availability, both present and future.
• Maintenance costs and system reliability.