Florida is one of the hottest and most humid states in the country, and the people who live here are always looking for ways to save on their utility bills, cut down on their carbon footprints, or both. Geothermal cooling is a great way to do both, but is it worth the time and money it takes to install it?
Is the Ground Just Too Hot for Geothermal Cooling?
One of the most common misconceptions about geothermal cooling is that the ground in sunny Florida stays far too warm to really provide much cooling comfort in the summer. This is not the case. Remember that just below the surface of the ground, the temperature stays constant year-round. When it’s in the nineties outside, it may be below 60 just a couple feet below your feet. Geothermal cooling makes use of this constant temperature, and it can be quite efficient – even in Florida homes.
The Cooling Cycle
Geothermal cooling actually uses a heat pump in reverse. When you think of a heat pump, you probably think of a system pulling heat from inside the earth and pumping it into your home so you stay warm. This is certainly true, but a geothermal unit can also work in reverse. In this case, the system moves the hot, moist air out of your home and through one of the best conductors known to mankind – water. It’s this redistribution of heat that saves you incredible amounts of energy and money over time.
Will the Comfort Be the Same?
Remember that a geothermal cooling system relies on the temperature of the ground outside to provide you with comfort. Though it’s true that they work better in milder climates because there’s less redistribution of heat, they can do the job in Florida, too. It may take a little longer to bring your home down to the desired temperature, but once it’s there, the system can maintain that temperature much more easily (and far more efficiently) than a standard HVAC system can.
Considerations before Switching
There are a few things to remember before you decide on a geothermal heat pump as your main source of cooling.
- It’s an expensive initial investment. Installing a geothermal heat pump in Florida can cost up to four times (and in some cases even more) than installing a traditional HVAC system. However, with the combined savings on your energy bills, it’s worth it.
- It’ll last longer. Heat pumps have far fewer moving parts, and this means they have a long life expectancy. Most heat pump components last 25 years while the outdoor loop lasts up to 50 years or more.
- You’ll have access to heat, too. Though it rarely gets cold enough in Florida to warrant running central heat, you’ll have it available to you if you need it.
- The efficiency is amazing. Some of the best geothermal cooling systems on the market are up to 600% efficient. Imagine the savings!
Is geothermal cooling worth it in Florida? If you don’t mind the initial investment, it absolutely is. However, keep in mind that not all property is well-suited for geothermal systems. The best way to find out is to contact an expert for an evaluation.