The Right Renewable Energy for your Home

We've got the lowdown on whether solar or geothermal is right for you

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012  |  Updated 3:25 PM EDT
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The Right Renewable Energy for your Home

Joe Pallitta

Solar panels and geothermal energy are both great renewable energy sources for your home.

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This article is sponsored by Michael & Son, the leading full-service plumbing, electrical, HVAC and remodeling company serving the Washington D.C. area for over 30 years. Learn more about Michael & Son at MichaelandSon.com.

So you've decided to "go green" by powering your home with a renewable energy source, a decision that is both cost effective and environmentally friendly. The next step is finding a green energy source that's right for your home.

Solar panels and geothermal pumps are the most popular, but they're both best suited to different climates and lifestyles. Here's what you need to know to make the right decision:

Location
Solar panels require a significant amount of sunlight. They're ideal for areas in the American Southwest, or any consistently sunny location. For those in the Northeast, you won't see their full potential during the darker months.

The best bet for a northerner is geothermal. These pumps don't require specific temperatures or conditions to operate; they stay consistent no matter what the weather is like above ground.

Installation
Solar panels are simple and nonintrusive. They attach to your roof and into your home with minimal fuss.

Installing a geothermal pump requires a fair amount of digging, noise and general inconvenience. You may need to include a landscaper as well, once the job is finished. 

Maintenance
A dirty solar panel will lose 15 to 20 percent of energy retention. Like cars, they require a regular cleaning. Rain doesn't do the job, either, and professionals usually perform these cleanings.

Geothermal systems require about the same maintenance as other standard household appliances. However, the energy savings they provide typically offset these costs.

Reaction time
Solar panels demand a bit of patience, as they're reliant on the weather. For example, you may experience a longer wait for the shower to warm up.

Geothermal systems work just as fast as traditional sources. The only difference you'll notice is a lower electrical bill.

Both systems are great ways to save money and protect the environment. Ultimately, we recommend geothermal over solar, as they're adaptable to any climate. If you're considering the jump to a green lifestyle, give Michael & Son a call for free information and a consultation.  

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