Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by tthomass, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,498

    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?
  2. GreenLightLawnCareInc

    GreenLightLawnCareInc LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 58

    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.
  3. ConstSvcs

    ConstSvcs LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    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.
  4. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,498

    Yes, please share. I can handle the digging and piping but need to read up on the actual system more and HVAC.
  5. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Messages: 4,281

    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.
  6. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    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.
  7. ConstSvcs

    ConstSvcs LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    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.
  8. AWJ Services

    AWJ Services LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Ga
    Messages: 4,281

    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.
  9. EcoGreen Services

    EcoGreen Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 205

    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.
  10. mudmaker

    mudmaker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 156

    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!

Share This Page