Geothermal Heat Pump Retrofits

As you might expect, most geothermal systems are installed in new construction and on good-sized lots. This is not to say that retrofits aren't a good idea, or that they're unworkable. In many cases they work well. Even modest city lots can often accommodate vertical loops. The problem is that most furnaces and air conditioners are replaced when they fail or when a real estate transaction requires it. Neither situation encourages a leisurely choice or an experimental mindset.

Fortunately the federal government is keen on retrofits and is offering rebates. Many state/provinces have similar initiatives including rebates, tax deductions and/or interest-free loans.

Of course, some existing homes will not accommodate these systems. A heat pump, like a furnace, needs ductwork, so you either need to have it in place or find a reasonable way to get it. And if your furnace is now in a closet, these larger, indoor heat pumps may not fit. Interestingly, the ClimateMaster Co. has introduced a geothermal system with an outdoor compressor designed specifically for tight-fit retrofits. Because it's in a sealed compartment, it should hold up well. In this case, only an evaporator coil is connected to the ductwork. The point is, if you're paying through the nose for an inefficient system, don't automatically assume that a geothermal system is out of the question.

Geothermal Heat Pump Retrofits copyright 2011