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Propane Vs. Geothermal

Propane vs. Geothermal

With the increasing push to “go green,” geothermal heating has entered the race as one of the best for heating your home and fueling your appliances. So, deciding between geothermal heating vs. propane heating can be a tough choice. 

With geothermal, there are huge energy cost savings due to the utilization of the Earth’s thermal energy. However, you shouldn’t install a heating system for financial reasons alone — you do it to ensure you and your family keep warm during long, cold winter months.  

And that’s the point; more comfortable heat and lower upfront installation costs of propane make it the best heating choice!  


What is Geothermal Heating?


A geothermal heat pump (also known as a ground source heat pump) draws thermal energy from underground. As a result, energy costs are low. However, a geothermal system has much higher upfront installation costs than a propane heating system.

Additionally, the installation process for a geothermal system is complex. These systems utilize wells or “loop fields” that extract heating energy from the ground. Higher heating or cooling loads may necessitate deeper wells or more trenches in finite spaces.

Conversely, propane furnaces can be installed easily —usually in a day — in basements, attics, closets, and other home areas.


Propane Beats Geothermal for Comfort and Efficiency


When people refer to geothermal heating systems, they always talk about the low monthly heating bills. But you don’t install a heating system for financial reasons alone. Instead, you do it to keep your family warm during the long, cold winter months. 

And that’s the hole in geothermal systems’ argument; they just can’t deliver the same warm, comfortable heat as a modern propane furnace. With significantly lower installation and maintenance costs and affordable monthly energy bills, propane is a better long-term value for homeowners.


Propane vs. Geothermal Comfort


Research shows that when a heating system produces heat at, or below, the average human body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, people experience coldness and discomfort. A typical, standalone geothermal system delivers heat in the range of 90-120 degrees Fahrenheit. On the surface, this appears acceptable. But keep in mind: air continues to cool as it circulates through your home.

Furthermore, geothermal systems are typically paired with an electric resistance heat system to fill this comfort gap during extremely cold weather. When the electric heat is engaged, the homeowner sees a drastic increase in monthly energy costs and increases their carbon footprint, negating most — or all — of the geothermal system’s benefits.

Conversely, propane heating systems consistently deliver heat in the range of 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit, well above the cold threshold. Additionally, because the air starts circulating at a significantly higher temperature, you find it remains a comfortable temperature even after cooling slightly.


Propane vs. Geothermal Costs


Research by Newport Partners, LLC supports geothermal does have the lowest annual energy costs of any heating systems studied. However, the same research shows that when you dive into geothermal’s overall costs, including the payback period (the time it takes for the energy savings to equal the installation costs), it isn’t the money saver it claims to be.

  • The upfront costs of geothermal are significant — the highest installation cost of any heating system studied
  • Costs include the ground source heat pump, in addition to digging, installing, and burying the ground loops, leading to…
  • The longest payback period of any heating system — up to 36 years in some cases

Conversely, the research shows that a high-efficiency propane furnace is the most affordable to purchase and install of all the heating systems studied. Propane is a clean, efficient energy source so that you can count on affordable annual energy costs, as well.


Propane: More Than Just Home Heating


Something that makes propane even more attractive is once you’ve installed propane, you can use it for more than just home heating comfort. Uses for propane include:

  • Cooking: Enjoy the ease and control of cooking with gas — just like professional chefs do
  • Clothes drying: Dry clothes faster using up to 20% less energy
  • Fireplaces: Significantly warmer and more energy-efficient than electric or wood fireplaces

Check out all the different uses of propane here! 


Propane Is Your Complete Energy Package


Once you’ve discovered all the benefits of propane, the hole in the argument for geothermal is obvious. At Great Valley Propane, we provide high-quality propane tanks and cylinders to meet all your heating and fuel needs. We also provide top-notch customer service and our built-in safety features ensure that you and your family stay out of harm’s way.

Call us today at 610-251-2203 to discuss your propane needs!