Geothermal home heating
and cooling systems


Disadvantages of geothermal energy


A geothermal heat pump, also called a ground source heat pump, is by far the most energy efficient home heating and cooling system available today.  At 500% efficient, it outperforms a conventional air source heat pump by double, and a gas furnace/boiler by being FIVE times more efficient.


You pay for one unit of electricity and receive 4 units for FREE.  How can that be you might ask??  How can anything be more than 100% efficient?  It can’t unless you introduce and external source.  In the case of a geothermal heating and cooling system, the ground, or mother earth, is the external source.


A ground source heat pump uses a closed loop of water/anti-freeze mix and the earth as a super-efficient heat exchanger.


I could go on and on about the advantages of a residential geothermal heat pump but this page is about the disadvantages of geothermal energy.  For most of you that came to this page, you came looking for information on a geothermal heat pump and not necessarily the disadvantages of geothermal energy that comes from deep within the earth.  However, I’ll briefly cover both.



Disadvantages of Geothermal Energy


  1. Geothermal energy defined as heat stored deep below the earth’s surface is definitely a green, eco-friendly energy source.  Super-heated water is stored deep in the earth’s crust at extreme temperatures.  This super-heated water can be brought to the earth’s surface and used to generate electricity.  At this time, a geothermal energy plant is cost prohibitive and very expensive.

    Another disadvantage of this type of geothermal energy is that it can be fairly difficult and expensive to build the plants required to convert the hot water and steam into electricity.

    A geothermal energy plant, like the one pictured below in Iceland, cannot be used for residential use and is a true power plant.
    geothermal energy plant

  2. A disadvantage of a geothermal heat pump used to heat and cool your home can be the upfront costs.  A geothermal heat pump will typically costs twice that of a conventional system.

    It is very important to note that most of the added expense of a geothermal heat pump is in drilling the holes for the vertical loops (picture) or digging the trenches for a horizontal loop (picture).  The system inside your house is essentially the same as a conventional heating and air system.

  3. Another potential disadvantage of a geothermal heating and cooling system can be finding an installer in your area.  Not only do you need to find an installer but one that has experience installing geothermal heat pumps.

    Thanks to the many advantages of a geothermal heating and cooling system and their efficiency, more and more homeowners are starting to use them , resulting in widespread usage and installers.


Despite these disadvantages, I still strongly recommend that you take a serious look into a geothermal heating and cooling system for your home.  If you are building and new home and looking for energy efficient house plans I can help you with your custom blueprints and teach you how to make it super energy efficient. 


Are you building a home and looking for a custom, passive solar house plan?  Visit my home design site at for more information.

 phillip rye custom home design


If you aren’t building a new home and just want to make your existing home more energy efficient I suggest you order my DVD that teaches you everything you need to know.  Learn more    



Tags: geothermal heating and cooling, disadvantages of geothermal energy, geothermal heat pumps.

Phillip Rye
Phillip Rye

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