We've been asked a number of times whether geothermal heating and cooling can work with an existing home. The answer is YES ... however ... the context of the discussion needs to be adjusted slightly.
Regardless of what technology you are considering for a replacement to an older less efficient heating system, the most important first step is giving attention to the quality of your home's building materials; more specifically INSULATION - which defines the ability of your home to prevent heat loss in the winter and prevent heat gain in the summer.
Insulation is by far the least expensive way to improve the efficiency of your home. Once you’ve improved your insulation in the attic, walls, basement, and basement sill, you’ve now significantly reduced the “size” and cost of the mechanical system necessary to heat and cool your home.
The reason this is more significant for geothermal is simple – the size of the geothermal loop is decreased. While federal tax credits will typically cover the cost of your geothermal loop, by improving the insulation of your home, the initial system costs and the operating costs will be greatly reduced.
And after all, with insulation being the least expensive way to save money – it seems like an easy first step while you make your decision about which heating and cooling system is best.
Our recommendation is to approach MassSave for an energy audit and do what you can to access the incentives and 0% heat loans available for upgrading.