How Does Geothermal Compare?

Geothermal heat pump systems can hold their own when compared to other traditional heating methods.  In fact, they’re an extremely competitive choice for a market forced to deal with rising energy costs and resource depletion because they are renewable and the most efficient heating and cooling system available today. Add in the fact that many ground source heat pumps can heat a home’s water for virtually no additional cost, you quickly realize that you can’t lose with a properly designed and installed geothermal heat pump.


So how does geothermal compare?

Comparing Operating Costs:  For our purposes and to make a fair comparison, the following examples are based on:  cost per million BTU’s (1 BTU = amount of heat put out by 1 candle), the highest efficiency appliances for each type of heating fuel and the Midwest’s average heating fuel costs.

  • Geothermal = $2.99 (@ $.05 per kW)
  • Air Source = $5.23 (@ $.05 per kW)
  • Electricity = $14.73 (@ $.05 per kW)
  • Natural Gas = $10.20 (@ $1.00 per Therm)
  • Propane = $13.92 (@ $1.90 per Gallon)
  • Fuel Oil = $40.15 (@ $4.50 per Gallon)


Comparing Comfort Level:  Geothermal systems keep inside temperatures constant and comfortable by exchanging BTU’s between a building and the earth.  For example:  When a building becomes too cool, the geothermal unit will take just the right number of BTU’s out of the earth and puts those BTU’s into the building.  This constant exchange eliminates hot and cold blasts and improves humidity control.


Comparing Benefits:  All modern heating and cooling systems have their pros and cons but geothermal’s benefits far out-weigh those of its competitors.  The following table lists the benefits of each type of heating system.

Geothermal Comparison Table


A combination of eco-friendly qualities, lower operating costs and improved comfort levels have made Geothermal heat pumps a popular option.  When considering a new heating and cooling system, the decision to choose one system over another is ultimately based on individual circumstances, needs and priorities.  One thing is for sure; Geothermal heat pumps will give any conventional heating and cooling system a run for its money.


Link to our Proud Green Home blog, A Geothermal Revolution is the Best Solution and other resources!