Thursday, October 09, 2008

Negatives of Using Geothermal For Your Home

Author: Rick Chapo

Using the inherent heat in the ground, geothermal, is being pushed by many experts as a great energy source. While this is generally true, there are some negatives as well.

There is no disputing that we need to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels. While alternative energy sources are clearly the answer, there is a problem. Advocates of alternative energy tend to become emotionally attached to one source and discount others. In truth, the answer to replacing fossil fuels is a combination of alternative energy platforms. Let's take a look at the problems associated with geothermal energy.

First and foremost, there is an economic problem with using ground energy. Geothermal systems can be very pricey. Although prices vary by brand and location, installing a geothermal system in a building or residence will almost always cost more than a traditional heating and cooling system.

Familiarity is an additional problem. Much like owning an exotic car, a geothermal system is unique. If it breaks or has problems, getting it repaired can be difficult and expensive. Unlike with a plumbing problem, you are probably not going to be able to call a geothermal repairman in the middle of the night when the systems stops working.

In a rather grim bait and switch, many people fail to realize that some geothermal systems actually use fossil fuels. To use geothermal energy, a residence must often already have electricity to run the pumps or mechanisms that transfer geothermal heat from the ground to the home. Spending $50 a month to run your system more or less defeats the purpose.

Finally, geothermal heating systems for houses use liquid to transfer heat to and from the ground. This liquid is often a refrigerant of some type, which can be toxic. On the other hand, systems using water do not have this problem.

Overall, geothermal is definitely a part of the solution to fossil fuels. Advocates, however, need to acknowledge it is not the end all solution.

About the author: Rick Chapo is with - a directory of solar energy and solar power companies. Visit to read more solar electricity articles.


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