This study investigates the effect of reinforced concrete cracking on the performance of thermo-active piles subjected to traction force. A newly developed finite element code that is within the framework of the load-transfer approach is employed to simulate the response of a single pile subjected to thermomechanical loads. The results suggest that the performance of energy piles is highly affected by reinforced concrete non-linearity. Nevertheless, piles can accommodate thermally imposed strains if ductility capacity is provided. This outcome, in conjunction with the results of previous studies on the non-linear response of interfaces, may be considered for a more rational performance-based design approach of energy piles.