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Old 01-25-2011, 05:45 AM   #1
nskitts OP
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Geothermal heating and cooling.

I'm going to build a house this spring and was considering having one of these installed. The wife gets her house and I get my geothermal system.

So, any opinions on these? Do you regret it? Are you happy you did it?

I know the install costs are high but I have to buy a new system anyhow, so I thought I might as well swing for the fence. The thought of getting 57 degrees out of the ground when it's 0 degrees outside is pleasing.
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:22 AM   #2
madeouttaglass
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I considered it while doing a complete renovation to an old place that included lots of excavating. The upfront cost and honest electric cost to run was a deal breaker. I instead put more money to soy based spray foam insulation instead and went with a high end boiler for heat.
I'm also interested to hear from people that went with GT.
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:57 AM   #3
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A good friend built his own house 5 years ago, it is nowhere near an entry level home and did not use cheap windows etc.. he did it right and it is insulated as well as most new houses around here.

He lives in the sticks and had a propane heat system and traditional AC, he installed Geo last fall and now he saves $200-$250 overall a month compared to last winter. Does that make it worth it? He says he will be paid up to a break even point in 7 years, I believe him.. HE says he thinks his return water temp is 117º or so.

FWIW if you have a pond as large as your house on the surface, and if it's deep enough, you can save on install costs.


I just built onto my garage and put radiant heat in the slab, I am wondering if a guy with a backhoe could DIY a heat pump and loops for some cheaper hot water BTU's?
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:01 AM   #4
madeouttaglass
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I'm impressed with his numbers. No doubt that it also adds value to his house if he sold it.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:52 AM   #5
ShadyRascal
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A friend of mine has one of these systems to heat/cool their whole furniture store. While it works very well and saves money, it's kind of a pain to maintain, the room where the heat exchanger is always smells moldy and seems like he's dealing with issues with it more than he wants. His system is about 17 years old right now.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:26 AM   #6
kpmunt
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Geo thermal

My parents have had a pump and dump system for 20+ years in an old farm house. Works great and is economical for them.

I've got a friend that has a heating and cooling business. He installs GT but also bought components and "engineered" his own geothermal unit. I had one of his installed with a closed loop system and it works great. Keeps our house well heated down to about -20 F. Ours is installed on an off peak electric system so can be controlled by our REA but the electricity only costs $.035/kw.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:52 AM   #7
IDScarecrow
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We put it in the house we completed last summer. So far, I really like it.

Since it is a new home I can't compare before and after utility bills, and we also use a Tulikivi masonry heater for heat, but I can say that our bills are quite reasonable.

I also like the fact that it preheats our water to 85 degrees. That 85 degree water then goes to our hot water heater, which therefore works much less hard than it would heating our well water straight from the ground. Important in a house with three women.

The compressor unit is louder than I expected. I was told it would be "about as loud as a chest freezer." I beg to differ. There is a good *THUMP* when it kicks on/off, and it hums louder than a chest freezer. Ours is located fairly central in our home, under the stairs. I will probably take steps in the near future to install sound deadening material in that area.

I am sure that you know this already, but there is currently a large tax rebate available - 30% of purchase and install (including all the ancillary installation stuff, like the digging and backfill, extra plumbing, etc). No ceiling. It makes for a rather generous tax refund for us this year.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDScarecrow View Post
We put it in the house we completed last summer. So far, I really like it.

Since it is a new home I can't compare before and after utility bills, and we also use a Tulikivi masonry heater for heat, but I can say that our bills are quite reasonable.

I also like the fact that it preheats our water to 85 degrees. That 85 degree water then goes to our hot water heater, which therefore works much less hard than it would heating our well water straight from the ground. Important in a house with three women.

The compressor unit is louder than I expected. I was told it would be "about as loud as a chest freezer." I beg to differ. There is a good *THUMP* when it kicks on/off, and it hums louder than a chest freezer. Ours is located fairly central in our home, under the stairs. I will probably take steps in the near future to install sound deadening material in that area.

I am sure that you know this already, but there is currently a large tax rebate available - 30% of purchase and install (including all the ancillary installation stuff, like the digging and backfill, extra plumbing, etc). No ceiling. It makes for a rather generous tax refund for us this year.
Nice set up....

On the GT: What energy source do you use to supplement the GT water? Oil, propane, natural gas, electric? Do you run it as radiant (110 degree) or forced hot water (180 degree)?

On the Tulikivi:

Would you mind posting some pics and your thoughts on the Tulikivi in the Wood Heat thread....

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=628738

Tulikivi's or another like soapstone installation are on my long term 'want' list...
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Bone View Post
Nice set up....

On the GT: What energy source do you use to supplement the GT water? Oil, propane, natural gas, electric? Do you run it as radiant (110 degree) or forced hot water (180 degree)?

On the Tulikivi:

Would you mind posting some pics and your thoughts on the Tulikivi in the Wood Heat thread....

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=628738

Tulikivi's or another like soapstone installation are on my long term 'want' list...
Yes, me too on the Tuliikivi in addition to the GT.
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:54 AM   #10
IDScarecrow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Bone View Post
Nice set up....

On the GT: What energy source do you use to supplement the GT water? Oil, propane, natural gas, electric? Do you run it as radiant (110 degree) or forced hot water (180 degree)?

On the Tulikivi:

Would you mind posting some pics and your thoughts on the Tulikivi in the Wood Heat thread....

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=628738

Tulikivi's or another like soapstone installation are on my long term 'want' list...
On the GT: It is hooked to a forced air system. Radiant floor would have been nicer, but between the GT and the Tulikivi I was running out of money. Also, the forced air allows me to use the GT for a/c cooling, too.

We supplement the GT with electricity. My thinking was that I don't want to be directly dependent on fossil fuels for anything in my house - the whole house is electric, plus the wood burner. We don't yet have solar (that pesky $ issue again) but the house is set up so that I can add it when rising energy prices intersect with falling solar panel prices. It didn't cost much to have the panel wired with this in mind, and then we ran conduit to the roof.

Will post on the Tulikivi in the other thread.
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:59 AM   #11
A-Bone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDScarecrow View Post
On the GT: It is hooked to a forced air system. Radiant floor would have been nicer, but between the GT and the Tulikivi I was running out of money. Also, the forced air allows me to use the GT for a/c cooling, too.

We supplement the GT with electricity. My thinking was that I don't want to be directly dependent on fossil fuels for anything in my house - the whole house is electric, plus the wood burner. We don't yet have solar (that pesky $ issue again) but the house is set up so that I can add it when rising energy prices intersect with falling solar panel prices. It didn't cost much to have the panel wired with this in mind, and then we ran conduit to the roof.

Will post on the Tulikivi in the other thread.
I take it you don't have to do much heating then if you are on electric... that is the kiss of death around here (NH has some of the most expensive consumer electric rates in the country).. but depending on electrical costs, construction and heat losses it might not be too bad compared to fossils...

Thanks for sharing..
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:39 PM   #12
IDScarecrow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Bone View Post
I take it you don't have to do much heating then if you are on electric... that is the kiss of death around here (NH has some of the most expensive consumer electric rates in the country).. but depending on electrical costs, construction and heat losses it might not be too bad compared to fossils...

Thanks for sharing..
We don't do a ton of heating because the Tulikivi does the lion's share of that. Also, the home is very well insulated (ICF construction) and makes good use of passive solar. Finally, we have relatively cheap electricity here because of all the hydropower. So for us electric made sense.
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:51 PM   #13
IDScarecrow
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I was curious so I just did some quick-and-dirty research - based on this chart from Dept of Energy WA has one of the very lowest average electric utility rates. And I actually pay less than the WA average, which, in turn, is less than half of the NH average rate.
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:08 PM   #14
MeanMoe
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We ran into the $$ issue when building our house. The GT would have added about $12k to the cost of the installed forced air, gas heat (would have installed dual fuel) system. Well insulated 4800 sqft house costs less to heat and cool than the poorly built 2500 sqft house we lived in before.

To the OP, my bro just moved into a GT house in Grove City. The system is 20 years old but he says it still works better than the builders quality MI home that he sold in Galloway, OH. What's your 20 in OH?
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Old 01-25-2011, 05:24 PM   #15
kfsinc
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Both of my brother inlaws live north of Fort Wayne. Both have GT units for thier 3,000 square foot homes. Both pay $100 to $150 per month total electric - and everything is electric, including the pool, barn lights, etc.

Upfront cost can be a little higher, but operating cost is very low. Make sure you have a good way to disperse the water - one BIL puts it into a drain tile on the farm, the other puts it into a pond. Part of the pond stays ice free to water the horses and attract geese/ducks (dinner ). Also make sure you have an experienced installer size the aire duct correctly. These units need a higher volume of air delivery to the house.

Key decision factors are:

Cost of electricity in your area.
Ambient water temp.
Ambient outdoor temp.
If you live in a very cold climate, it may not pay as you'll be running the auxilary heat (expensive) all the time.

My next house will be GT and gas.
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