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Disappointed with our Geothermal system- Do your research before you invest

Disappointed with our Geothermal system- Do your research before you invest


  #1  
Old 01-22-12, 09:01 AM
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Disappointed with our Geothermal system- Do your research before you invest

We had a Geothermal system installed a few years ago, and overall I am disappointed in the system. I'm not posting for advice, but to dispel the myth that going with a Geothermal system will substantially lower your energy bills.

The system is a ****, installed with a horizontal loop system. Two 300' loops were installed at 4' and 6' depths.

I have a family of 5 in a roughly 3000 sqft house in Western Maryland. We have replaced all the windows with new Anderson windows and have had the house energy tested, to include a blower door test, with no major problems present. December's electric bill was $600...for 1 month! This was the same cost as last year. I don't know what the bill was before the system was installed as we installed it as soon as we moved in. But, having lived in Alaska and Colorado, I've never paid this much.

Again, I'm not posting for advice. The system is in and working, just not providing the savings we expected. I'm only posting this so that other folks know to do their homework, and that the grass isn't "greener" on my Geothermal side of the fence! Ha
 

Last edited by Shadeladie; 01-22-12 at 09:18 AM.
  #2  
Old 01-24-12, 08:28 AM
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I had asked about this technology when I tool ownership of our new (to us) home. It's about the same size (2900sqft + basement).
I was looking at all options as our oil bill (oil boiler system) was expected to be high during the cold months.

I was informed that although the system I have installed could be converted (partly or full) fairly easily, it was not suitable for a house of our size. We also have a tempurate range of -35'C to +35'C through the year.

Please keep in mind, I don't know a lot about these systems, but that is what I was told.
 
  #3  
Old 01-24-12, 08:53 AM
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Craig in Maryland and Mike in Canada, you are worlds apart when it comes to what you need for heating. But in both cases the truth lies in the engineering, which often gets lost in the "sales".

Craig, there are many reason why your electric bills can be coming in at that rate, that may not be related to the geothermal, you said you had no history, and may be correctable. That energy audit you mentioned should have been a good place to start, but I would need to see the details to know if it was a real one or one of these quickies, that runs through the paces, but doesn't find the solution. From what was posted, a family of 5 and electric hot water can be expensive. But before I diagnose, I need more details.

Mike, I won't drift on this thread, but if you have a question, feel free to ask on another thread and we will get to it.

Bud
 
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Old 01-24-12, 04:09 PM
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My brother has geothermal for his home. I think his house about 2500 sq ft. I know his most expensive month for the winter may have been $250. He had his system upgraded this year among other energy upgrades and should see lower bills. His hot water comes from an on demand propane fired tankless water heater.

Have you had the installers back to look at the system? There could be something wrong with it.

Another thing that makes me think something is wrong is that the bill was the same as last year. I know here in NJ, the winter has been far milder.
 
  #5  
Old 01-25-12, 03:45 AM
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I've talked with other Geothermal homeowners in my area, and I think our bills are similar, given the differences in house sizes, etc.

What I've never found is a Geothermal owner that states, "wow, my bills dropped substantially when I installed geothermal."

Now I need to find the money to install Solar, so I can support the geothermal....ha.
 
  #6  
Old 01-28-12, 10:29 AM
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If you're not seeing savings, there is something wrong with the installation.

Two x 300' loops is not enough for a 3,000 square foot house.
Could you please let us know how the loops were installed? Do you mean two x 300' trenches with 1,800 feet of slinky pipe in each?
 
  #7  
Old 01-28-12, 11:17 AM
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I was talking to a co-worker yesturday and she said they recently switched from dual electric furnaces to a lake based (?) geothermal system. She said they cut their bill down to next to nothing with the system and no longer mess with turning the temperature up and down based on when they are home or sleeping.
I don't know much about thier system, but I do know they are extremely pleased with it.
Our weather can range from -35'C to +35'C here.
 
  #8  
Old 01-28-12, 01:42 PM
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There is something wrong with either the installation, size of loop, or something in the controls that is allowing your AUX heat to come on.
 
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Old 03-08-12, 03:33 PM
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Not installed right

From what you said they installed 2- 300 ft loops doesn't match a house with 3000 sq ft. It should be more like 4-300 ft loops. The distance of 250 ft is usually what it takes to max the transfer of the temperature in each loop, to the ground temp. Any longer is not needed. You have to add other loops to increase the volume needed for the size of system to be efficient. I would say you need 4 loops. Call the contractor who installed it, have him call somebody if he doesn't know how to correct it.
GOOD LUCK
 
  #10  
Old 03-09-12, 03:14 AM
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Guess I should have said, "there are two 300' trenches, each with 2 loops. So there are a total of "4" loops. More importantly, the temp differential of the fluid leaving the house vs returning is appropriate- which is checked every 6 months (I think it was 8 degrees, but don't quote me).
 
 

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