As geothermal heating systems become more and more affordable for many households, there is an increase in the number of people installing them. When it’s time for you to start shopping for the right geothermal heating system for your home, there are a few things you’ll want to know about in order to find the right unit for your needs. Here are a few important things to keep in mind when comparing geothermal heating systems: Types of geothermal heating systems First, there are two types of geothermal heating systems that you’ll find as you begin your search: systems that use fire to operate and systems that don’t use fire. Systems that use fire are combustion-based. The majority of the central heating systems that are already installed use the combustion-based system, which uses a fossil fuel to create the flame. Newer and more advanced systems are non-combustion systems. These non-combustion systems transfer heat from one location to another and do not use fossil fuels to operate. Here’s a closer look at the difference between combustion-based and non-combustion systems: Combustion-based systems Combustion-based systems are the most common heating systems installed in homes. These systems are relatively inexpensive to install and operate. They are also very available in the marketplace. Combustion-based systems use fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas, propane, or even wood, to maintain a flame. However, while there are many benefits to using a combustion-based system, there are also many drawbacks. For example, these systems can be unsafe and may require more maintenance than other types of systems. One of the reasons that combustion-based systems can be unsafe is due to the risk of explosion. Additionally, combustion-based systems can also create carbon monoxide as a by-product if fuel is not completely burned. In many cases, these systems become dangerous if they are improperly installed, if chimney flues become blocked or damaged, or if there is a downdraft through the chimney flue that blows carbon monoxide into the house. The way combustion-based systems work is by delivering heat by blasting it through ducts periodically. As a result of the hot blasts, air can also become dehumidified and uncomfortable. As such, humidifiers are often installed along with combustion-based heating systems. In addition to the heating systems, combustion-based units are often tied with central air conditioning units that are inefficient and expensive to operate. Heat transfer systems Heat transfer systems are non-combustion geothermal heating units. These units generate heat for a home by capturing the heat from outdoor air and pulling it into a home. These systems get their heat from the earth itself. In addition to providing a safe and low-impact heating system, heat exchange systems can also be used as cooling systems. In many cases, this type of system also has the added benefit of providing hot water at very low costs. On the downside, heat exchange systems may be expensive to install. However, they are often coupled with generous warranties for the units themselves as well as the piping. There are two basic types of heat transfer systems: heat pumps and geoexchange systems. Here’s what you need to know about each of these options: Heat pumps Heat pumps are popular heating methods that provide central heat as well as central air for a home. This heating solution is also very cost-effective for many consumers, making heat pumps popular heating solutions. Heat pumps work year-round to make the interior environment more comfortable. During warm summer months, heat pumps remove heat from the interior of a home by transferring it through a condensing unit to the outside of the home. During the winter, heat pumps pull air from the outside of the home, compress the air to make it hot, and release it into the home. These systems tend to be efficient and affordable. Geo-exchange system A heat pump is just one kind of heat transfer system. Another type of system is a geo-exchange system. A geo-exchange system is similar to a heat pump, in that air is transferred from the exterior of the home to the interior (or vice versa). However, the geo-exchange system captures heat from the earth rather than from the air on the exterior of the home. Most heat transfer systems can be reversed in order to cool a home as well, including geothermal heat transfer systems. In many cases, geothermal heat transfer systems can also help to provide hot water at reduced costs. As you look for the right heating systems for your home, be sure to investigate the many geothermal systems that are available. Geothermal heating systems can not only help you reduce your energy use and environmental impact, but they can also help to reduce your energy bills. Geothermal heating systems provide just one more way to maximize the natural resources of the earth.