Are you considering a geothermal system for your home? Here are some facts and FAQs to help you decide if going geothermal is right for you.
Q: Is geothermal available here in South Carolina?
A: Yes! Geothermal systems for individual homes or buildings harness energy from the earth at a depth where the temperature remains more or less constant. While that depth might be different in different areas of the country, it is available right here in South Carolina.
Q: What are the benefits of geothermal systems?
A: Geothermal systems have a lot of great benefits. First, it's clean energy and doesn't require the burning of fossil fuels or coal to work. Second, it doesn't release emissions that harm the environment. Third, it's cheaper and saves you money on your utility bill. We could keep going but these tend to be the most important benefits to homeowners.
Q: What makes up a geothermal system?
A: A geothermal system consists of an indoor unit plus a buried earth loop. There are two types of buried earth loops, vertical and horizontal. A horizontal buried earth loop runs in a horizontal fashion at the appropriate depth for your area. A vertical buried earth loop is more like a borehole that goes straight down into the earth between 300 to 400 feet deep. Which type is right for you will be determined by the size of your home and the size of your land lot.
Q: How does a geothermal system work?
A: When it's cold out, the water in the buried earth loop absorbs heat from deep underground and transports it to the indoor unit. The indoor unit condenses the heat from the water to the correct temperature and distributes it into the home. In the summer, the system works sort of in reverse. The indoor unit pulls excess heat to be transported by the water in the buried earth loop to the earth where it is cooled down. Then the water is cycled back to the indoor unit at a cooler temperature that is condensed and released into the home.
Q: Does a geothermal system cost a lot more than a traditional system?
A: Yes, it does cost more than a traditional system. However, the savings on your utility bill will more than make up for the extra cost over time. The system does still use some electricity to power the indoor unit and blowers but this is far less than the energy a traditional system would use.
Q: Do geothermal systems require a lot of maintenance?
A: Aside from changing the air filter like you would for any heating/cooling system, a geothermal system is virtually maintenance free. The main unit is housed indoors and protected from the elements and comes as a sealed system. The piping that carries the water solution underground is designed to last for generations without having to be dug up and replaced. For most people, one yearly check-up to ensure all is running smoothly is all you need.
If you're considering a geothermal system for your home, give Carolina Comfort Systems a call. We can come evaluate your home and land to let you know if going geothermal would be a viable option for you.
Ahhh, it's fall allergy season and the pollen is flying. If you are one of the many people miserable with fall allergies, the good news is your HVAC system can help. While technically your HVAC system is designed to trap and catch dust and not necessarily allergens, a few small changes and your HVAC can help you breathe easier.
1. First, make sure you schedule your twice yearly regular maintenance. Keeping your HVAC system operating as efficiently as possible is key.
2. Dust your vents and registers regularly. If you see dust, you could be breathing dust and making allergies worse.
3. Remove debris from around the outside unit and make sure you dust and clean around the indoor unit on a regular basis. The less dust and grime around, the less the chance it can be pulled into the air you breathe.
4. Buy a better quality air filter. Look for a filter with a MERV (minimum efficiency recording value) rating of at least 8, though they go up to a rating of 20. The higher the number, the smaller the particles it can capture and remove from your air.
5. If your system is compatible with HEPA filters, choose a HEPA filter instead. For allergies, a HEPA filter rated between 17-20 is best. HEPA filters are made from glass fibers instead of paper so, it's important to make sure your system is compatible before you install a HEPA filter or you'll put significant stress on your HVAC system that could lead to a breakdown.
6. Change your air filter regularly. Ideally, it's best to change your filter bi-monthly. If you have pets, changing your filter monthly will give you the best chance at allergy relief.
7. Watch the humidity level. High humidity tends to make allergy symptoms worse. High humidity can also cause mold and mildew to grow on your air filter, making your allergy problems into a more serious indoor air quality issue.
While your HVAC system isn't exactly designed to be an allergen reducer, there are things you can do to get it to help you in the fight against allergies. These 7 tips help you reduce allergies using your HVAC system and its maintenance.