Anyone with Geothermal experience?

Old 10-14-02, 10:19 AM
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Question Anyone with Geothermal experience?

My current furnace/central air unit is approx. 30yrs. old so I am looking to replace both. I am interested in Geothermal because of the increased efficiency and have doing a lot of research on the topic. Does anyone have any personal experience with them? If so, and you don't mind answering some ?'s I'd really appreciate it. Don't answer all of them if your pressed for time. I'd rather have you answer one of them than none of them. Thanks!!!

How long have you had your unit?
Was it a retrofit? If so were there any suprises in the cost/installation?
Where do you live?
Are you happy with the performance?
Would you recommend one?
What type of well do you have? (Vertical,Horizontal,Slinky,Closed or Open Loop)
How would you rate the comfort level compared to gas/electric heating and cooling? Worse...Same....Better
Is it what you expected?
Will adding one increase the resale value of my home?
Is it worth it to get the hot water heating from pump also?
Any other commments you want to add?

My home is approx. 1600 sq feet. Ranch. Half finished basement, but plan to finish all of it in coming years. Basement space is not included in the above sq footage. Live in Central Ohio. Local IGSHPA certified contractor sounds like would put in a vertical system. Getting a Heat Loss/Heat Gain estimate tomorrow. I'll try to get a second or third estimate, but installers/suppliers are scarce here and I don't know how far some will be willing to drive for the work. Home is 30yrs. old. Needs new windows and some more insulation in the attic, but will have that done when we take out the loan for the furnice/air. Sorry so long of a post.

Old 10-14-02, 02:16 PM
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Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts This a site for a manufacturer of heat pumps and are probably the best in this country when it comes to geothermal heat pumps. Their innovations and creativeness are unsurpassed. Besides getting contractors and customer assistance, their experts are really good. You want to check out the "WP Series" and "Free Heat Recovery Option" products. If you live in a warm climate area, nothing beats of geothermal heat pump (GHP), which can have a SEER 20. If you don't use air conditioning that much and gas is available in your area, go with gas. Use the money you save to put more insulation in the home and windows.

I've seen the WP Series heat pump used to heat pools, suanas, garage and basement floors, walkways, steps and driveways. Only a few times for radiant floors systems. One experience I'd like to share with you is a home I inspected where a geothermal heat pump was used to melt the snow off his more than a 1/4 mile driveway and he wanted to know why his electric bill was so high. Mind you, this guy didn't turn off the damm thing regardless if there was snow on the driveway or not.

My experience with heat pumps go back more than 15 years. At present I am involved in the quality assurance for Energy Star Homes which includes geothermal heat pumps. For years I was paid to resolve high energy bill complaints for 5 of the 7 utilities in New Jersey. Well over a thousand of these complaints were with geothermal heat pumps, however, more were with new construction than retrofits.

With retrofits, the most common problem was using the old ductwork with the new system. Even upgrading the ductwork doesn't seem to improve the problem. Which is geothermal heat pumps operate at a lower temperature than other systems. Older distribution systems were designed to move air at 180 degrees F. This allowed large degree drops at the vents they came out to about 155 degrees. You can't do that with a GHP. Proper duct sizing and layout is going to play an important role.

Nationwide, under energy Star programs, utilities must provide rebates for geothermal heat pumps. This will offset the additional cost of installation. It will not affect the price of resale of the home or comfort. Resale has more to do with consumer preference and comfort has more to do with matching components of a heating/cooling system.
Old 10-14-02, 06:40 PM
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my first one was in '82, and have done several hundred since. have used well drilling rig for vertical loop, used wells for supply, and even lake loops. resercon is absolutely correct. great system if installed correctly.
Old 10-15-02, 03:49 PM
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looking for info too

mwolf I have looked at the web page listed in this post. I looked on my local utility web page too. But wanted to know if you have any more useful sites to research this info.
I also located a ground water map for my area and the water depth is about 60 feet making open loop a possiblity. Do you know how far apart the wells need to be?

Old 10-16-02, 05:54 AM
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Thumbs up Geothermal

How long have you had your unit? 10 years

Was it a retrofit? No, new construction.

Where do you live? Central Ohio

Are you happy with the performance? Absolutely!

Would you recommend one? In a heart beat!

What type of well do you have? (Vertical,Horizontal,Slinky,Closed or Open Loop) Closed ground loop, no well

How would you rate the comfort level compared to gas/electric heating and cooling? Better than electric (especially an air-to-air heat pump, not as good as gas or oil, but a lot cheaper to run. In A/C mode it was dirt cheap to run.

Is it what you expected? No, it was better.

Will adding one increase the resale value of my home? Probably not. So be sure you are there to get the extra cost back in energy savings over time, otherwise your buyer gets it.

Is it worth it to get the hot water heating from pump also? We did and found it to be worthwhile.

Any other commments you want to add? We had a Water Furnace 3 ton unit in a 2,100 sq. ft. log house (we sold the house this year and miss it and the geothermal). We installed three 150 foot runs for the ground loop. We were initially sceptical about the system but wanted to give it a try, it exceeded our every expectation. The only problems were when it really got cold it couldn't keep up, even with the backup heat coils going. That may have been a problem with size of the unit but in our area the extreme cold was rare. We did have an impeller come loose in one of the circulator pumps but it never quit, was just noisy. The contractor replaced it under the warranty. As I said above the A/C was almost free, wasn't worth the effor to open the windows when it cooled off a little, we just set the stat and let it run.
Old 10-16-02, 07:39 AM
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My partner's Grandfather has one his his home.. I think his is about 10 years old... His is a coil lope system, and he only had to replace the water pump once cuz the bearings went out.... It's dirt cheap to use for cooling he says, and heating is good, but not the "Warmth" you get from gas/oil heat system. He's got the electric heat back up and been used a few times due the very cold minnesota winter.

He says that he never opens the windows.. like BillOH says, not worth the effert to open them up on a cooler days.

I'd put on in my home when I own one and have the money to install one. But I may put in gas back up heat being that we are in MInnesota.
Old 10-16-02, 09:19 AM
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good idea jay11j

Good idea, use gas as the backup and not electric. provided you have gas.
Old 10-16-02, 02:19 PM
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Yeah figured that would be the best thing to have on a Cold December morning when it's -15 outside and having that warmth would feel good waking up to vs cool draft from the electric back up heat.

I wouldn't go out of my way putting in the 90% in.. just a basic 80% being that will not be used alot.

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