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Propane vs. Geothermal Heating for Your North Carolina Home

Posted: November 7, 2016

Dog home heating

You’ve probably seen or heard the promotions and advertisements for geothermal heat pump systems, which are always touted as the green energy choice for your home. But you probably haven’t heard too much about this type of system stacks up against propane heating systems—which can range from a high-efficiency propane furnace, gas pack, or hybrid heating system. Propane is a pretty green energy choice too!

While it’s certainly true that geothermal heating (also known as a ground source heat pump) provides exceptionally low energy costs because it draws thermal energy from underground, it has much higher upfront installation costs than a propane heating system.

The installation process for a geothermal system is also a lot more complicated. These systems require wells or “loop fields” to extract heating energy from the ground. Higher heating or cooling loads may require deeper wells, more wells, or more trenches in limited spaces.

Compare that to propane furnaces, which can be installed easily-usually in just one day–in basements, attics, closets, and other areas of a home.

Consider comfort

Perhaps the biggest drawback to a geothermal system is its inability to deliver the same warm, comfortable heat that today’s propane furnaces consistently provide.

A typical standalone geothermal system delivers heat in the 90–120 degrees range. This can leave your home feeling uncomfortably chilly on a cold North Carolina night. Propane heating systems consistently deliver heat in the 120–140 degrees range, even when the outdoor temperature drops below zero degrees.

Consider cost

  • because it involves digging, installing, and burying ground loops, geothermal represents the highest installation cost of any heating system studied*
  • geothermal has the longest payback period of any heating system — up to 15 years in some cases*
  • a high-efficiency propane furnace is the most affordable to purchase and install of all the heating systems studied. Because propane is a clean, efficient energy source, you can count on affordable annual energy costs as well*

Go here to learn more about keeping your home warm with propane.

* Source: Based on a study conducted by Newport Partners, LLC.