Frequently Asked Questions

Does Geothermal Make Sense in the Keystone State?

PA is an ideal place for a GHP (Geothermal Heat Pump) system. The cold winters and hot summers allow homeowners to efficiently use it for all heating and cooling needs. Drilling conditions are generally not bad, although some places may be more difficult due to hard shale or rock.

Why are more homeowners in Pennsylvania switching to Geo?

The recent 30% federal tax credit has made geothermal an attractive alternative. Lots of homeowners want to go green, but financially it can be difficult and expensive. Although Geothermal (also called GeoExchange) is a larger upfront investment, it has a pay back period between 5-10 years. Rising propane and gas prices also make geothermal more attractive. Ideal candidates are homes who currently burn propane or heating oil, its time to replace the gas bill. Its financially smart and environmentally wise.

What is the process for installing a geothermal system in PA? (licenses, registrations, etc)

Depending on your local township or county there may be a permit necessary. There is currently no state regulation or registration necessary. Contact your local contractor, they will certainly know. Aside from making sure there are no electric or gas lines beneath the surface, there is generally no hold ups.

Are there contractors to drill the loop fields readily available?

Yes! There are many drilling contractors around to install. Here is one - geothermal Pennsylvania well driller.

How else can Geothermal Heat Pumps be used in Pennsylvania?

Snowmelting, pool heaters, refrigeration, green houses… geothermal exchange can be used for all of them.

Is an investment in a GHP system an wise option in PA?

There is no doubt about it. Some customers are more prime for geothermal than others… for example if you have a larger home with existing duct work and are currently heating with propane or heating oil, its almost a no brainer. Even small homes with little property are ideal for geothermal, the installations are easy and the savings are immediate.

Answers provided by: Eric McKeever of EM Mechanical – Lehigh Valley PA

Pennsylvania offers a number of rebate programs for Geothermal customers

Utility Rebate Program

Pennsylvania Loan Programs:

  • Loans for geothermal systems: $3 per square foot of space served up to $5 million; also limited to 50% of eligible costs for residential systems.
  • KeyStone Help -http://www.keystonehelp.com

$1,000 - $35,000 (varies by loan type)

Vary by loan type; interest rates from 2.99% - 8.99%; terms from 3 - 20 years

PA Geothermal Testimonials

Dean from East Greenville says:
Geothermal was a smart investment for my home. We used to burn propane (about $4,200/yr), its been just about year since we had a GHP installed and we have saved $3,100. With the 30 federal tax credit this system will pay itself off in 6 years. I don\'t pay the gas man anymore, and the world is a slightly better place.
Installed by: EM Mechanical

Martin Gorman from Kennett Square says:
My Neighbors dont like to discuss their comfort and utility bills with me. I installed my geothermal heat pump when I moved in nine years ago. Paying $138 a month for heating, cooling, hot water, cooking, lights, tvs, computers etc, etc, for an all electric 40 year old 2400 sq ft home. Other so called green \"variable\" technology like solar and wind, cannot compare.
Installed by: Sinton Geothermal

Anonymous from Pittsburgh says:
I switched to geothermal years ago. Its not a science project, its a real mainstream solution which has had little to no exposure given its not obvious like my neighbors solar panels or wind turbine, but my R.O.I is near double. Great Site, Join the under ground and go geo.
Installed by:

Bud Mortinson from Beaver says:
I had a geothermal system installed in my home two years ago, and it\'s honestly been nothing but savings ever since. The up front costs can be intimidating, but they\'re surely worth swallowing if you\'re in it for the long term.
Installed by:

DeMers from Exton says:
We had our geothermal system installed in February of 2010. We live in an 1800s PA German stone bank barn that we renovated (with a LOT of help) in 1990. We originally had oil fired hot water heating and central air. When it became time to replace our aging systems, we went Geothermal for a variety of reasons. #1 was to reduce our reliance of fossil fuels long term. #2 was to save money (the payback is greatly accelerated by the 30% tax credit) and finally for Comfort. The system is exceedingly quiet, clean and efficient. The beauty of geothermal is you dont notice the heating or cooling - its just comfortable. Heating and cooling a barn is a BIG job, but geothermal is up to the task! Thanks to Sinton Heating and Air Conditioning.
Installed by: Sinton Heating and Air Co

Robert Carter from Kennett Square says:
Since having our geothermal system installed two years ago, our heating and cooling bills have been reduced about 50 percent. Our house is much more comfortable, especially in the winter, and our system does not create a great variation in temperature from one room to another. We also received a tax reduction after our system was installed.We also were interested in the environmentally friendly aspects of a geothermal system by using the warmth of the earth to help heat our house.
Installed by: SintonAir Conditioning

Lou Cortese from Lincoln University says:
My home is approximately 2800 square feet and it just turn 9 years old in October of this year. We previously heated our home with a Trane propane fired furnace and cooled with a Trane electric central air conditioning system. We decided to go Geo Thermal for not only the cost savings but for the green factor. Our system was installed and on line in January of this year. The system is a Water Furnace Envision with a desuperheater to assist in hot water production. Right out of the gate we saved approximately 200 a month on propane cost with a just a moderate increase in electric usage of 50 a month. The summer cooling costs have been about 20 percent lower with the Water Furnace. In addition to the direct savings we received the Federal Tax Credit of 30 percent of the installation cost. We are in the process of applying for the power company rebate. The system has been a real pleasure as it provides a quite and constant temperature in the home where before we had constant temperature and humidity fluctuations, and a very noisy operation.
Installed by: Sinton Air Conditioning

W. Boulton Alexander from Coatesville says:
Considering the energy savings potential of the system and the government incentives offered it seemed the only choice when it came time to replace our old heat pump. The system was installed in Oct. 2010 and we are very satisfied with it\'s performance so far. It doesn\'t seem to work nearly as hard to achieve the same comfort level and we have seen a drop in our electric bill
Installed by: Sinton Air Conditioning

Jack Hines from West Chester says:
We installed a geothermal heating/air conditioning system in our 100 plus year old home in January 2008. Our 2200 square feet home was previously heated with hot air oil burner and air conditioning unit. The new system provides winter heating/summer air conditioning/desuperheater for hot water assist generation. Since that time our electric bills average $145 per month for our entire energy costs. This includes running a well equiped 750 square feet cabinet shop used to make period furniture. Prior to installation our electric costs were higher due to summer air conditioning plus we spent approximately (depending on price) $2100 per year for heating oil. We do not now buy any oil. We decided to change the system because both our ac and heating units were old and we are getting old also so wanted to have reliable easy maintenance as we go into retirement years. My wife said I would be sorry if this was a typical heat pump installation and she was not comfortable. By installing a properly sized system we have been blessed with even temperatures throughout the house and my wife is happy. Being former fire chief I have seen too many homes ruined with oil burner backfires and cracks in the heat chamber. I no longer have a combustion chamber in my basement, do not have to worryabout carbon monoxide and the chance of pollution from heating oil release. There is little noise in the operation as we no longer hear the oil burner running or the outside condenser in the summer.
Installed by: Sinton

Anonymous from Meadowbrook says:
We decided to replace our oil burning heater and electric air conditioner with a geothermal heating and cooling unit. We have a 60 year old, stone two story home. After almost two full years of having the system, we can report all positives to making the switch. We don\'t have to buy 1,100 gallons of fuel, the temperature is even throughout the house (it used to vary greatly during the winter from room to room), the heat is much more pleasant and humid and we no longer hear the heater running. We\'re thrilled with our system and how comfortable our house is. We made the change because we figured that if it makes good sense economically (it does), then why not also live a little greener and stop sending money to the oil companies.
Installed by: Sinton Air and Heating

Douglas Lieberman from West Chester says:
Love our GeoThermal System. Installed 7 years ago, cut our electric bill in half. All electric house. Nice, even heat all year long, comfortable house, easy on the wallet. We have had no major issues with the system since it was installed, we just get the standard yearly maintenance to keep the system humming.
Installed by: SINTON

Patrick Rafferty from Devon says:
We are very pleased with our new geothermal system. It\'s toasty warm, easy on the wallet, and good for the environment. We love it!
Installed by: Sinton Air Conditioning

Anonymous from Kennett Square says:
Home size & year built - 3400sqft, 2 floors, 1991. Previous Heating - oil fired/forced air. Previous Hot Water - Electric/80 gal tank. Previous AC - Regular AC. Current Heating - Geothermal/forced air. Current Hot Water - Geothermal desuperheater preheat to 120F (80 gal tank) + old electric heater. Current AC - Geothermal. Installed - Nov 2008. Installation cost - $22K (before $6K government credit) had an old well that was utilized, didnt have to dig. Cost savings per year ~$2500. Comfort - winter heat set at 67 F throughout day and night, don\'t have to turn heat down in night, very comfortable, uniform heat in all locations of house, not too drying, never went to electric element heat even when temp dropped to single digits. Summer AC set at 74, very comfortable throughout day and night, very uniform, again not too drying like AC\'s can be. Reason - Do my bit to reduce carbon foot print.
Installed by: Sinton Air

Fred from Berwyn says:
Moved into a 3000 sq ft house with an oversized, 80 percent natural gas furnace, gas hot water heater and properly sized central A/C. House was built in 1961, with two additions over the years.
During the first weeks of February 2008, Sinton A/C installed a WaterFurnance, closed loop geothermal system with desuperheater and hot water buffer tank. Two 300\" wells were drilled. The system went live on February 13, 2008.
Natural gas usage went to zero, and we terminated that service. Electric consumption went up accordingly, and was priced with two tiers, with cheaper winter rates applied to usage above 600 kWh per month.
It becomes difficult to establish a baseline for pre-geotherml electric usage because we only used the gas system for two full months after moving into the house in late November 2007. However, since natural gas was used only for heating and hot water, the exact cost for those two services was $315.86 and $312.21 for December 2007 and January 2008.
The following amounts are the total electric charges for the entire house, including heat or A/C, hot water, electric stove, electric oven, washer/dryer, and general usage. Notice the costs for the central A/C and pool pump kicking in June 2008
(The first full billing period of operation with a geothermal system was 3-12-08 to 4-10-08, with a meter read date of 4-10-08.)
04-10-08 1861 kWh $183.93
05-11-08 1623 kWh $166.75
06-10-08 1801 kWh $295.58
07-13-08 2019
Installed by: Sinton Air Conditioning

Anonymous from Phoenixville says:
Our revolutionary-war era house (circa 1796) in Chester County PA was heated by oil when we purchased it in 2002, and cooled by dual zone central air conditioning units (electric). Water was also heated by oil via a winter/summer hook-up. We were concerned about the price and availability of imported oil, as well as the impact on the environment. In 2007 we hired Bill Sinton of Kennett Square, PA to help design and install a geothermal system. Our two-story house (approx 2,000 square feet) was constructed of stone and plaster, and had been retrofitted with central air. Three vertical wells (300 feet each) were dug in our front yard and connected to dual Water Furnace Series E systems, one in the attic for the second floor, the second in the basement for the ground floor. The entire ductwork system was also updated by Sinton to increase efficiency and comfort. A desuperheater was included to maximize efficiency of providing hot water to our house. How much are we saving? Eliminated oil bills - approximately $1500 per year. Reduced electric bills during the summer months by approximately $100 per month. Rebates:$300 rebate at the time we installed (2007).Participation in reduced electric rates for heating a home in PA. Comfort and systems operation: One of the best things about our geo system is that we do NOT notice it. It is very quiet, unlike the old oil heater which sounded like a jet was taking off in our cellar.
Installed by: Sinton Air

Linda Hnatow Tilson from Oxford says:
We decided to invest in a geothermal system for several reasons. First we knew it was very effecient for both heating and cooling. Second because the cost was effective over long term and we wanted to have cost benefits for when we retired. The 30% tax credit sealed the deal for cost concerns. Third because of the positive environmental impact. Previously we had liquid propane and electric heat pump. It was fine, but inconsistent and noisy. Since we had the goethermal installed in summer 2009, the \"feel\" of the home has been great. We are impressed with the balance of both heating and cooling in the house. The cost in summer is not much more than what we paid with the heat pump, with the added benefit of free hot water. The cost in winter is the greatest savings, since we do not have to fill the propane tank every month or two. We estimated our saving last winter at over $1800, based on the previous winters propane costs. It was so satisfying to tell the propane company that our tank (only for cooking and a propane fireplace now) was still at 85% every time they called throughout the winter. We are gratefull to our installer, Sinton, for the great job of not only the great installation but also for improving our existing duct work.
Installed by: Sinton Air Conditioning and Heating

Sam Stafford from Media says:
Installed our Geo with Desuperheater in April 2009, replaced a Gas fired Hydronic system for heat and a Carrier 18 Seer Central A/C unit. Our utility bill has been cut approximately 50%. Comfort level is phenominal, our home is approximately 3,000sqf. We have a technology dependent severely handicapped child, and the enviroment created by the Geo system make his life much more manageable, best thing we ever did for him and the enviroment.
Installed by: Sinton Heating & Air

Rich Moore from Berwyn says:
Switched from oil (baseboard heat) to Geothermal around the time oil costed me $4.50 a gallon in our 46 year old 2100 SF house, installed March 2009 with a desuperheater for free hot water in the summer. We got the 30% federal rebate - HUGE tax rebate plus a 15% reduction from our electric provider for being all-electric. We\'re saving between 50-70% on former oil+electric bills - how much we save of course depends on cost of heating oil. Our installer did an amazing job, since we used to have very cold spots in parts of our house, and hot spots too - we were guaranteed to have even temps throughout the house, which we do - WOW! The system is SO quiet, and it freed up enough space in my basement (tearing out oil furnace + 250 gallon oil tank) that I now have a finished playroom for the kids in the basement, which adds 350 SF of new living space to my smallish house. My average monthly bill for everything (all electric, heating/cooling plus hot water - which includes 10 hours per day of running our pool pump + significant christmas lights) is around $220 per month - incredibly inexpensive, especially given we\'re in a high cost electric area. My neighbors were so impressed with our system, that 2 of them also went geothermal - which makes 3 of us on our street alone geothermal. While the initial cost was expensive up front, the long-term economic and many other immediate benefits have been absolutely astounding for our family. Highly recommend this experience to others
Installed by: Sinton

Anonymous from Chadds Ford says:
We own a 30 year old 3000 sq ft house and installed our 5 ton geothermal system in April 2006 complete with desuperheater. We have two 300 ft geothermal loops supplying the Waterfurnace. Our forced air system was previously a York oil fired system with a traditional AC unit. Our geothermal system is saving us a minimum of $1,600 a year while providing very comfortable and even heat and air conditioning, the most comfortable of any home we\'ve owned. We chose geothermal because of the efficiency, energy cost savings, and comfort. Good job Sinton! You delivered what you promised!
Installed by: Sinton

Anonymous from oxford says:
I had my geothermal system installed a year and a half ago. I opted to go with the horizontal closed loop system, because I have sufficient room on my property to do so. I also had a full duct system installed in my single story home. The previous heating system for my home was baseboard electric heat and I knew the cost to operate this would be substantial. I knew the facts about geothermal and have heard many good comments from other geothermal customers. I recieved the goverments tax credit which was a great help, my average utility bill is about $125 a month for an all electric house. The comfort level is phenominal and I would reccomend the investment to anyone who asks me. From the design to the installation sinton ac did a very good job helping me out.
Installed by: Sinton Air Conditioning and Heating

Anonymous from West Chester says:
Our home is approximately 2,700 sq/ft of heated living area and was built in 1976. We had oil fired hot air heat and oil fired hot water. In August 2008 we installed a Waterfurnace Envision NDV 064 Geothermal unit with the desuperheater option for hot water and a Aprilaire Whole House Humidifier. We received a EAP/Peco Rebate for $800.00 and a $2,000.00 tax rebate from the federal government. In addition our local utility gives a 50% discount in the winter heating season (Oct thru March) on all electric usage over 500KW in each billing period. The system runs very efficiently so we no longer set our heat back to 62 degrees at night, but leave it at 68 degrees 24hrs/day. This has greatly increased the comfort for us. For the last full year with our old oil heating system we used 810 gallons of fuel at 2.70/gal. for the total cost of $2,187. For 2009 our total electric bill for the entire year, which also included air conditioning, was $1,913.28. Our electric bill for 2007 was $1,449.20 (no air condiitoning). So we heat and air condition our home for under $500 per year. That is a significant savings over the cost of heating oil in 2007 of $2,160. All of these savings are realized at no loss in comfort in the winter and now we have air conditioning in the summer. We chose geothermal technology for comfort, significant cost savings on energy, and the safe clean technology.
Installed by: Sinton Heating, Inc

Anonymous from West Grove says:
With he price of oil being unpredictable I found it comforting to have the Geo system installed. My previous system was a central heat pump with oil back up. After comparing electric costs for heating and cooling, The electric costs were basically the same but I did away with the oil delivery, which was probably on average a savings of $850 for the year.
Installed by:

Anonymous from Springfield says:
We installed our Geothermal system two years ago. Our house is a 1920\'s era brick cape with several additions, none more recent than the 50\'s. Efficiency was not a driving design objective. Our new system replaced an oil fired furnace, and conventional central air conditioning system. The electric utility company where we live has a discount program for \'all electric\' residences. Once the Geothermal system went into operation our net electric bill increased only negligibly (about $10 per month) in the winter months, and declined in summer. All this while the $3000 per year oil bill disappeared. Over a conventional replacement system I calculate the ROI at approximately 4 years. Our contractor was Sinton Air. Highest recommendations from us.
Installed by: Sinton Air Conditioning and Heating

Lawrie Bolger from West Chester says:
Saving green and being green - a great combo! We love having geothermal.
Installed by: Sinton

Mary and Michael Rucci from Cochranville says:
A little more than five years ago, we began to search for a home in the country, where we could keep our horse, dogs and cats. We found our dream home, but initially were reluctant to purchase it. For one thing it was big - more than 4,000 square feet, and it was heated and cooled with a geothermal system, which we knew nothing about. We started to do some research, and the more we read, the more we knew geothermal was for us. Though the house was large, we knew the geothermal system would keep our energy bills down. We bought the house, and during our first winter, the bills in our all-electric home were about half what we had been paying in our gas heat home, which was about half the size. Last year, we upgraded to a new system, including a desuperheater for hot water, so we could take advantage of the rebates and tax credits available. Not only did we received a nice tax refund, we also saw our energy bills drop again. We love geothermal heating and cooling. It is extremely comfortable, and we feel good knowing we are doing something positive for the environment while saving money.
Installed by: Sinton, Kennett Square

John from Willow Grove says:
It was time. The air to air heat pump wheezed its last breathe in the early spring. With government incentives and the need for a new heating air conditioning system we dove into the geo install. I remember feeling fear as the 34 ton truck pulled onto my lawn in font of my home. The wells took a few days to be completed. The HVAC people took over and installed the unit. Pipes were bleed and the switch thrown, we went Geo thermal! It\'s been over a year and even my wife, an accountant by occupation, is happy with the system. Even with adding a couple degrees warmth in the winter and the humidity being smoothed out better we are seeing an actual savings of 30% on our electrical usage!!!! Mind you that the house is 100% electrical too! We are believers! Any who have asked, have been given the tour and a full description of the system. As a member of the Township\'s Environmental Advisory Council (EAC), it is now my mission to persuade the Township to look at Geo as the ONLY way to go with replacing the ancient system in the Township Building.
Installed by: Stanley Cooper HVAC

Dale & Linda Binkley from Landenberg says:
We had a Waterfurnace 3 ton unit installed in our home 5 years ago by Sinton Air. It replaced a 30 year old oil burner and 15 year old central AC unit. The new unit also has a desuperheater to preheat our hot water. The first year our total utility bill for our home dropped over $1000. The new unit makes our home more confortable all year round. Our home is 2800 sq ft, a bit larger than most of our neighbors. Our summer AC bill is usually 20% less than our neighbors even though our home is larger. The best testimonial I can think of is that my wife said the first thing we would do if we ever moved is put a geothermal unit in our new home if it was not there. Last year we also installed a solar PV system to provide about 35% of our annual electric use. This brought our total utility bill for the past year down to $1200.
Installed by: Sinton Air

Anonymous from Lincoln University says:
We completed construction on our home this past February. The federal tax credits made the choice to install a geothermal system easy (it was basically the same cost as a high end gas fired system). We have a 4-ton Water Furnace Envision with desuperheater. We contracted Sinton Air Conditioning to supply and install the equipment. The installation went very smoothly. After comissioning, there were some minor issues with the unit that casused it run significantly more then necessary over the first few weeks (very high electricity usage). I contacted Sinton Air and they quickly diagnosed and corrected the problem. Since then, the system maintains the home at a very comfortable temperature. Our electric bills are comparable to what we were paying to heat / cool a townhouse that was less then half the size of this house.
Installed by: Sinton Air Conditioning

Jeff Durica from South Fork says:
We have had geothermal heating for the past 5 years. It has been an excellent heating system. Our capability is heating as well as cooling in the summer. My wife and I grew up with coal heat so we were used to a hot heat. Our geothermal has been a very comparable, energy efficient, clean, maintenance free system and we only miss the radiators for drying clothes fast!
Installed by: Somerset REC

Alan Freyer from Downingtown says:
We have used a traditional heat pump to heat and cool our residence for approximately 20 years, and we have just converted to a geothermal system. We have been pleased with the performance of our old heat pump, but several factors prompted our conversion to geothermal. The most important factor was potential savings on our electric heating and cooling bills. The savings were guarrenteed in writing by our installer. Also swapping the large above-ground heat exchanger previously situated in our our back yard for a non-mechanical ground loop (totally out of sight) makes sense from a maintenance point of view as well as yard esthetics. The long-term warranty offered by Water Furnace is also attractive indicating that they stand behind the product. The current federal tax breaks on installing these evironmentally friendly systems drastically shortens the payback period for this investment. So it actually became difficult to come up with good reasons not to convert to geothermal as soon as possible. We were also pleased to have Sinton handle our installation because we have dealt with them for several years and they have proven knowledgable and trustworthy.
Installed by: Sinton

Chuck Steak from Pittsburgh says:
Geothermal Keeps my family warm all winter and cool all summer. I don\'t pay for heating oil and more!
Installed by:

Anonymous from Pittsburgh says:
I love it! We are so comfy.
Installed by:

Anonymous from Pennsburgh says:
I have used geothermal for 8 years now and I would never recommend anything else. Make sure you use a quality installer & you will enjoy the benefits of geothermal for a long time.
Installed by:

Anonymous from Pittsburgh says:
I switched to geothermal, glad I did.
Installed by:

Justin from Pennsburg says:
Our family decided to stop paying a fortune for propane to heat this winter. Our geothermal installation went smoothly and it worked great this summer. Can\'t wait to see it work this summer. Better than solar as an investment for us!
Installed by:

Connie Hess from Conestoga says:
In the summer of 2008 our heat pump died. We were on a pretty tight budget but after talking to our salesman at J.K. Mechanical, Inc. we decided to go with a new Geo Thermal system. It has been the best decision we have ever made regarding our home. Our electric bills have decreased dramatically and the house always feel comfortable. It is also much quieter than our old heat pump. We have J.K. Mechanical do routine maintenance on our system once a year and make sure the filter is changed every 3 months. To say we are thrilled with our Geo Thermal is an understatement.
Installed by: J.K. Mechanical, Inc.

David Neiblum from West Chester says:
Installation (in a 100 yr-old house) was superb by Sinton Air. Incredible attention to detail and fine workman ship. System sized for the house; have a 10.6kW solar array as well, so tough to know just how much we\'re saving via geo only, and first winter only beginning. But elec. bills were $7 over summer...! And no heating oil for this house\'s next 100 yrs.
Installed by: Sinton Air

Anonymous from Avondale says:
Our 6 ton Waterfurnace and desuperheator replaced Trane propane furnace and A/C and provides outstanding comfort at 70F year round. Sinton Air did an outstanding job: consummate professionals who found and fixed basic installation flaws from when the house was built and coordinated with our generator company as well. Way to go, Billy, Wayne & Team!
Installed by: Sinton AC & Heating

Anonymous from Kutztown says:
We\'re at 16 years and counting. SO glad we installed it.
Installed by: