PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you want an eco-friendly replacement for your old, electric heat pump that could end up cutting your home cooling and heating bills in half, then a Geothermal system just may be the way to go.

A Geothermal system is a heat pump, but there is one big difference: it uses underground pipes filled with water to out-perform its heat pump cousin.

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Ted Gouza of Beaver County replaced his 17-year-old electric heat pump with a geothermal system last summer, and he’s smiling all the way to the bank.

“We are definitely ahead,“ Gouza added. “We are saving money and the usage is dropping!”

Gouza estimates his savings at a whopping 40- to 45-percent in the first year alone.

Bob Wade of Wade Heating & Cooling says he isn’t surprised.

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“For a 2,000 square foot home in Pittsburgh, we are heating it for $800 a year, as opposed to $2500 or $3,000; and you are cooling it for about $100, $150 a year and it also will heat a portion of your hot water at no additional cost,” Wade explained.

Wade added that a federal tax incentive is making geothermal an even more attractive option. “The government is giving you 30 percent of the total installment back to you upon filing of your tax return.”

The cost of installing a geothermal system may be higher, but the payback typically comes two to three years later. After that, you can save an average of $2,000 to $2,500 a year in heating and cooling costs.

Gouza said he’s definitely sold on the system because the geothermal heat pump is quiet, clean, energy-efficient, and should last twice as long as a conventional furnace.

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“In my game room, we had blankets on all of the couches and all of that stuff to watch the Steeler games. When everybody came we all wore warm clothes and now we’re sitting down there in shorts, as comfortable as can be,” Gouza said.