Calculator

Geothermal vs Conventional Heating and Cooling

When your geothermal system is installed and operating, you have a fully integrated, single-source home energy system. There is no tank to fill and only one energy bill to pay. A single unit provides both heating and cooling. And, you have the peace of mind that comes from a totally combustion-free home.

Savings Intro

To compare heating systems (apples to apples) you need a common denominator. We have choosen to use "1 million BTUs" because many homes use between 45,000 - 85,000 BTUs per hour on a very cold winter day, which is just over a million BTUs per day (about 125,000,000 BTUs per year).

Because each system uses a different fuel type we need to know how many BTUs a unit of fuel contains (A). Then, using efficiency ratings of each system (B), you can calculate the number of units required to create 1 million BTUs (C), which is used to compare costs (see calculator/next tab).

  
A
B
C

Fuel Type

Fuel Unit

BTU/Unit

Heating System
Efficiency

Units Required
1 million BTU

#2 Fuel Oil

Gallon
138,000
65%
78%
84%
92%
11.15
9.29
8.63
7.88
Natural Gas
Therm
100,000
65%
78%
84%
92%
16.7
14.3
12.5
11.1
Propane
Gallon
90,000
65%
78%
84%
92%
17.5
15.0
13.1
11.6
Electric
Baseboard
kWh
3,413
100%
293
Air Source
Heat Pump
kWh
3,413
293 / 2.5 COP (Warm Climate)
293 / 1.8 COP (Cold Climate)

117.20
162.78

Geothermal Heat Pump
kWh
3,413
293 / 3.9 COP (Warm Climate)
293 / 3.4 COP (Cold Climate)
293 / 4.2 COP (Hydronic)
 75.13
86.18
69.76

Heat Pump efficiency is measured as Coefficient of Performance (COP). For instance a baseboard electric heater has a COP of 1 (it is 100% efficient). Geothermal Heat Pumps in the Northeast have COPs of 3.4 or higher (depending on system design and performance).

How to Use This Calculator

To generate 1,000,000 BTUs simply enter the units required and the cost per unit of fuel.

Type of Fuel

Units Required per M from Col C - upper table
Price per Gallon of Fuel or kWh
 
Cost per Million BTUs ($)

Fuel Oil
Calculate
Natural Gas
Calculate
Propane Gas
Calculate
Electric Resistance
Calculate
Air Source HP
Calculate
Water to Air Geothermal HP
Calculate
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