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tthomass
01-13-2010, 05:51 PM
Anybody installed a geothermal system for a home? I've been reading up on them a bit and thinking of doing one at my house.

Any info/details?

GreenLightLawnCareInc
01-13-2010, 06:05 PM
Anybody installed a geothermal system for a home? I've been reading up on them a bit and thinking of doing one at my house.

Any info/details?

My wife and I just built a new house and installed a geo-thermal system. We love it. Our house is 2,400sq ft and our power bill was about 120 through out the summer. We are all electric so that includes lights ect. This is our first winter with it but so far we love it! Plus you can get a nice tax rebate up to 30% I think.

ConstSvcs
01-13-2010, 06:20 PM
Anybody installed a geothermal system for a home? I've been reading up on them a bit and thinking of doing one at my house.

Any info/details?

I'm a home builder in CT. ALL of our projects in the past three years have been built using geothermal systems. Deep well systems. More info to follow when I return from dinner. There is much more to it than a simple installation.

tthomass
01-13-2010, 06:29 PM
Yes, please share. I can handle the digging and piping but need to read up on the actual system more and HVAC.

AWJ Services
01-13-2010, 07:13 PM
Anybody installed a geothermal system for a home? I've been reading up on them a bit and thinking of doing one at my house.

Any info/details?

I looked long and hard into it and it has it's share of negatives.
It is impossible to get an accurate comparison of actual operating costs between a conventional and Geothermal. The latest conventional systems are very efficient and it could possibly take 15 to 20 years to recoup the additional costs not including added maint coasts associated with Geothermal.
The one advantage Geo thermal has over conventional is it's ability to generate heat in sub 35 degree weather where heat pumps will not.
Expect to pay close to 15k for materials for a 4 ton system and more if you have to dig a well. You can buy cheaper Geo setups but if you get the highest efficiency systems they are expensive.
If you do a ground loop expect to replace the pumps every couple years and if the unit gives trouble most HVAC guys just do not work on them and if it breaks down do not expect a trip to the local supply house to get the parts.

Gravel Rat
01-13-2010, 07:41 PM
My parents ex-neighbours installed it in their other house that they live in. It isn't a inground it is in a small bay (salt water). They said it works good but it was expensive and you still need electricity to circulate the water in the pipes.

The ideal heat is hydronic heat where you run the water pipes through the floor. I never did like forced air it is too dry for me.

Next option that is fairly efficient is pellet stoves.

ConstSvcs
01-13-2010, 10:38 PM
OK, back from dinner..........

Lucky you ! TTHOMASS since you are in an excellent zone for a geo system.

We use vertical bore systems. These allow the best use of space but the drilling is costly ( $ 13-14 per foot which includes the line set, lateral to the house and grouted shaft. Systems designed on our projects are well engineered at 115 of bore hole per ton of cooling. Usually about 345' for a 3 ton system. We use only Water Furnace or Climate Master high efficiency systems which are currently leaders in the industry.

These systems use a wall hung on-demand propane fired water heater for the backup heat source and adjusting the warm water from a inline hot water storage tank (desuperheater) up to the desired hot water temp.

I did mention that it is all about the complete system........ very important when building a new energy efficient home. Insulation is just as important as a well designed
geo components. Forget the fiberglass insulation batts for wall. Close or open cell expandable soy based or other (non-toxic) is the best wall floor and(in some cases) roof insulation. R-40 + in the roof system is a must!

Of course, when building such a tight, healthy home, air exchanges are extremely important. An Energy Recovery Ventilator system is a must to give the required (controlled) outdoor air exchanges while pulling the heat and moisture from problematic areas such bathrooms/shower areas and redistributing it as needed. A must for maintaining healthy indoor air quality.

There are a few different ways of installing ground loops......we've found the vertical loops to be the best install.

Our most recent customer just mentioned that they have been in their new home for six months and have just spent $385 topping off their 500 gal buried propane tank! They pay approx. $165 per month in electric cost for 2500 square ft.

With the new federal energy credits for geo, insulation and low U-value windows, its starting to become a no brainer. The break even point comes closer every time oil prices jump.

We use to use High-efficiency propane fired variable speed hydro-air systems.........but even 99% efficient cannot compete with a geo system for heat...........and forget about cooling. With the high efficiency compressors in the geo machines...............cooling is very inexpensive.

AWJ Services
01-14-2010, 07:08 AM
If heating is a large expense where you live I have a friend in Canada who invested in a wood fired boiler. His heating cost is virtually nothing for less than 10 k investment in equipment. If you have access to wood it is a better investment than Geothermal and has a much less complex installation.

Here In the South we cool sometimes 9 months out of the year.
The benefits of Geothermal are not as significant here as the cost is to prohibitive in relation to the new High efficiency heat pumps.

One other thing you have to consider is total cost over the life of the system. That means all service calls and inconvenience due to equipment being down as well as installation cost. For every 6 month old installation that was a success i have found an equally dissatisfied customer in there Geo thermal system. Just search a few Geo thermal Forums and you can get a better Idea of there actual operating costs.

EcoGreen Services
01-14-2010, 07:38 AM
GeoThermal is the latest "Trend" here because the government has huge incentives to install it.

Because the backup heat system is electric a lot of people are getting a big surprise when a $800 electricity bill rolls in.

Just something to be aware of.

mudmaker
01-14-2010, 11:03 AM
Are you guys running geothermal using radiant floor heat?? It has been a while since I have been around a geothermal system, but the complaints then were the drafty feeling due to the amount of air that needed to be moved to heat the house with forced air.

Are any of you coupling geothermal with solar?? The solar incentives are crazy right now!

RockSet N' Grade
01-14-2010, 08:16 PM
alternative "incentives" vary according to state.......idaho gives good credits, california used to rebate (in some form or another) up to 50%.......where we live, you get a $2,000 credit which is as close to an insult as you can get and does not encourage alternative growth.

ConstSvcs
01-14-2010, 09:13 PM
alternative "incentives" vary according to state.......idaho gives good credits, california used to rebate (in some form or another) up to 50%.......where we live, you get a $2,000 credit which is as close to an insult as you can get and does not encourage alternative growth.

The current federal incentives for geo-thermal, PV and solar thermal are 30% of the installed value off of your 2010 taxes. This is in addition to state incentives.

AWJ Services
01-14-2010, 11:11 PM
The current federal incentives for geo-thermal, PV and solar thermal are 30% of the installed value off of your 2010 taxes. This is in addition to state incentives.

There is a healthy tax credit for conventional systems as well.