'Digging' geothermal energy in the Tri-States

Geothermal energy and heat pumps are becoming more and more popular, even in the Tri-States.

Many people are eager to dig up savings and invest in the stable, even heat of the earth to heat and cool their homes and businesses.

Energy Consumers Edge tells readers that like every other energy resource, geothermal energy utilization brings with is a number of issues. Click here to explore some of the pros and cons of using geothermal energy.

KHQA's Jim Whitfield ask local experts all about geothermal energy and heat pumps and tell you more of what you need to know.

More home builders are turning to geothermal heating and cooling and electric heat pumps.

That's because it's a cheaper and greener way to heat and cool homes.

In fact, Adams County ranks at the top of the list in Illinois for the number of geothermal systems installed.

The idea of using a water system tied into underground piping has been around for at least 30 to 40 years.

But its popularity has grown by leaps and bounds during the past 20 years.

Jim Benz is the president of the board for the Adams County Electric Cooperative and he said, "primarily because people are looking at the cost of fuel. Fuel costs have really risen and the higher the fuel costs become, the greater the savings is with geo thermal."

Just in Adams County Illinois alone, there are at least four subdivisions that are exclusively geothermal developments.

But when homeowners look at the return on their investment when it comes to comparing a geo thermal unit to a standard natural gas fired furnace and central air unit, the savings is very noticeable.

"In 1998, we built a home and we heat and cool something around 3,000 square feet and the first eight years that we had geo thermal it cost us $43 a month for heating, cooling and that also included our hot water usage," said Benz.

So by being able to run pipe underground and utilizing the constant temperature of 55 degrees will help either heat the house or ward off the summer heat.

Benz also says because of the popular radio program hosted by Doug Rye on WTAD radio on Saturday mornings, the Adams County area is in the top five counties in the U.S. when it comes to geothermal systems being installed.

Does your home have a geothermal system? We'd love to hear your story, so post your comment below or join the conversation on Facebook here.