A geothermal heat pump, also called a ground source heat pump, is a type of heating and cooling system. Instead of using fossil fuels, thermal energy from the ground heats and cools your home. Some geothermal systems can even heat water.


According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), geothermal heat pumps are the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective systems for heating and cooling buildings. But they are an investment. This is an overview of how they work and how much they cost. Contact a qualified installer for an exact quote.


How does a geothermal heat pump work?


The technology behind geothermal heat pumps relies on the fact that the earth’s underground temperature stays at a relatively constant temperature throughout the year. Ground temperatures are warmer than the air during winter and cooler in the summer.


A geothermal heat pump exploits this natural phenomenon by using electricity to transfer heat stored in the earth or in ground water into your home during the winter, and transfer it out of your home and back into the ground during the summer.


There are four main types of geothermal heat pumps:


  • Open Loop – transfers heat using existing groundwater
  • Pond Loop – absorbs heat from an existing lake or pond
  • Horizontal Loop – transfers heat horizontally across the ground (ideal for large spaces)
  • Vertical Loop – transfers heat vertically through the ground (best for small spaces)


How much does a geothermal heat pump cost?


The exact cost of a geothermal heat pump can vary greatly. Your home’s size, available land, type of soil, climate, current ductwork, and the type of pump you choose affect the total cost. In general, you can expect to pay between $5,000 to $30,000 from start to finish. That covers a home energy audit and installation of both interior and exterior portions.


Upfront, geothermal heat pumps cost more than traditional HVAC systems, and it can seem like an exorbitant amount of money. But over time, geothermal heat pumps pay for themselves through lower energy bills, financing, and government incentives. Energy.gov reports that you may recoup your initial investment in two to ten years.


Rebates and incentives


On average, heating and cooling account for 50% of your home utility costs. That’s a lot of money and a lot of energy, especially if you are using fossil fuels to condition your home’s air. To help more people heat and cool their homes more efficiently, federal and state governments offer sizeable tax credits. Combined, Oregon and Washington have over 250 clean energy policies and incentives. (Be sure to check if the system you select qualifies for available incentives before you make your final purchase.)


According to Energy.gov, you may also be able to include the cost of a geothermal heat pump system in an “energy-efficient mortgage,” which would cover the initial installation. (Consult your bank and mortgage company for more information on these loans.)


Energy savings


Certain geothermal heat pumps like Trane Earthwise™ and Trane Envirowise™ systems can return up to four dollars of heat for every one dollar of electricity used. Depending on the geothermal system you choose, your local environment, and your existing heating and cooling system, you can expect to save several hundred to more than a thousand dollars on your utility bills every year.


In general, geothermal heat pumps require less maintenance than other types of heating and cooling systems. Underground piping can carry warranties of 25 to 50 years, and the heat pumps often last for more than 20 years. Unlike most traditional heating and cooling systems, geothermal heat pumps rarely have outdoor compressors, so they are less likely to be damaged by vandalism. All of these factors combined translate into huge savings!


Learn more about geothermal heat pumps


Are you interested in finding out if a geothermal heat pump is right for your home and how much it would cost? Make an appointment with your local geothermal heat pump professional today.


5 Stars for these folks. Bradford came out on the nastiest day of the year and had us up and running again in short order. Knowledgeable, professional, fast and affordable. DO business with these folks !! You will not regret it.

-Ric K. Google Review

I was planning a heater upgrade and received a 24 month no interest offer from Home Depot. They sent me a list of contractors and Comfort Air was the only contractor that called me before I could call anyone else. The customer support, salesperson and installers were fast, competent and incredibly supportive. From the time that I contacted them until the heater was installed was fast and the new heater is a big improvement over what I had before. Highly recommend Comfort Air for fast, efficient and professional service. I feel comfortable that they will be responsive, should there ever be an issue with my new heater!

-Jolene N. Google Review

We would like to thank all of you at Comfort Air for the work you just completed on our home. We are particularly pleased that your company has both the equipment and training to diagnose the exact problem we were experiencing with indoor air quality. We are very pleased that with the remedy you suggested the problem is completely resolved. The installers were highly competent and a pleasure to have in our home.
Special thanks to Dmitriy for his work from beginning to end. He is surely a gem on your staff.

-Kyle H. Google Review

Bradford the technician has come to our home a couple times and is always professional. I especially appreciate the exceptional customer service in the office. Every time I call, no matter who answers the phone, they always help me and go out of their way to help me understand how to troubleshoot my thermostat/heat pump. Today, I needed to revise an appt time and Rosa called me twice today to make sure she set up the appt for a time that would work for me. Fabulous service!

-Mardi F. Google Review

Best experience!! Bradford was so polite and helpful. He really took pride in his work and did a great job on our fireplace. Will be calling Bradford again for help if needed! One of a kind worker!!

- Alexandra Call Google Review

Always very professional and the best value I have found. I asked for a courtesy text prior to arrival and they totally did. Definitely recommend Comfort Air

-Shae Rondeau Google Review

I've had a very positive experience with Comfort Air and Trane. The system was affordable, installed in one day and they have done great follow up! Thanks Johnny!

-Gary Thompson Google Review