How expensive are these systems?
The initial expense is generally greater than conventional systems but there are some exceptions to that. If the site has easy and sufficient access to ground water then the cost of the ground loop is greatly reduced. Each site is different but in the best-case scenarios the total system installation would cost the same as a conventional heating system using a furnace or boiler. In all cases the geothermal system will begin paying off its installation costs the moment you start using it. All other conventional systems will consume energy and money for their entire service life.
How much can I save?
Ground source heat pumps deliver heat at 400% efficiency. They operate on electricity. Depending on what we are comparing it to, you can expect savings of up to 70% on what you would pay for conventional heat. Consider the average Montana home that is using propane as it primary means of heat will spend $2000 per year for domestic heat and heat for the domestic water. A geothermal system could provide that same energy for $600. That’s a savings of $1,400 every year! Easily enough for the payment to pay off the system.
How is the money saved?
Geothermal heating saves you tons of money all year in operating and maintenance costs. You can provide the same heating you are used to for a fraction of the cost. The initial investment can be made up in these savings in as little as three years. Until then there is actually usually a positive cash flow, because the savings from the system exceeds the payments on the system. Then after it is paid off, the savings are gigantic.
Are there any state or federal incentives for installing a GSHP system?
Yes, there are many incentives available on both the state and federal levels. The current federal tax credit is 30% of the cost of the installed system. You can visit DSIRE to see if your state has any incentives.