Is Geothermal really worth it ?


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Old 07-17-08, 06:13 PM
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Is Geothermal really worth it ?

Brother is a builder who recently has been asked to look into Geothermal, for homeowner whom he is doing an addition for. They want a complete system put in, and for him to subcontract it. Problem is he keeps hearing Good & bad about the systems, as well as locating an experienced installer/service company. From what little I've read, it appears to have an awful lot of things that can go wrong, & malfunction over a short time span. Views from those who know better than I/we do, would be appreciated. Also, are tankless water heaters all their cracked up to be?
Thanks in advance, Mike.B
 
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Old 07-17-08, 08:31 PM
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Mike.
To find a knowledgeable geo contractor is like to win to lottery almost. If you know what I mean. If you brother is looking for one tell him not to compeer the prices at all, but to ask them this question first.!!!
“”Show me a house you have done and the energy bills the homeowner pay during the winter months of geothermal operation.”” And he has to look them in the eyes when he is asking. This question believe or not answer on all type of questions like:

How many holes and how deep you drilling per ton of geo equipment.?
How many ears experience you have.?
What is better, close loop or open loop.?
Are you going to provide a heat calk for the property.?
How you going to size the ductwork for that job.?
What is the most efficient unit you can offer me.??
How long is the expecting lifetime for one system like that.??
Hw noisy will the equipment going to be.??
What expecting energy bills my customer has to expect in future.?
What is the COP of the Geo you offer me.
And many, many more questions of that kind.

If your brother has answer of this kind like:

Oooo no problem we are doing this for a long time !!!!!
WE are in the business for 500 years.!!!!! It’s a family business. Don’t worry.!!!
Specially if he heard the word NO PROBLEM more than ones or the word DEFINATHLY ……………….. He should beware.
If they tried to push geo system in the way.
This is environment, that equal on that “number” many trees, so many cars taking out from the road , sort of that answers. That is a sell men. They have a limit understanding how the system operates on first please.

If your brother find the technical person, that is his best bet. But do not forget the question witch he has to ask………..
If I am the person instead your brother, I will ask….. Can you show me the first house you have done please. And speak with the homeowner on that property. If he follow this guide lines he will not fail.

If you get price different some time of 5,7 or 10,000 do not get scared. Tell him to be a cold blooded. If he does not find one to show him a energy bills, that geothermal is not option for him. Just tell him if the homeowner want it like that much let he find one by his self. Your brother shouldn’t include geothermal in he’s price.

I don’t know if that was help for you.

Tony



Originally Posted by Mike.B View Post
Brother is a builder who recently has been asked to look into Geothermal, for homeowner whom he is doing an addition for. They want a complete system put in, and for him to subcontract it. Problem is he keeps hearing Good & bad about the systems, as well as locating an experienced installer/service company. From what little I've read, it appears to have an awful lot of things that can go wrong, & malfunction over a short time span. Views from those who know better than I/we do, would be appreciated. Also, are tankless water heaters all their cracked up to be?
Thanks in advance, Mike.B
 
  #3  
Old 07-18-08, 06:32 PM
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Good question, interesting first reponse

First, when I got out of the NAVY in 97 I went to work for a Geo-Thermal heat pump distributor. I was warranty repair for 8 years. Got a lot of education and educated myself quite a bit. Even got IGSHPA certified as a loop installer (we used to hold the training/certification). Basically, I'm trying to let you know that I what it is I speak of, very well. Very well in fact.

TO illistrate that point, when I moved from Virginia Beach to where I live now, I stopped into the areas only Geo-Thermal company and noticed a sign (couldn't miss it) that touted "Over 300 installs". My first thought was "Heck, I've been on jobs with over 300 Geo HP's sucking off of the same loop".

Now, some education.

In air to air heat pumps the capacity for heating and cooling is based on a specific outdoor air temp. Meaning at X outdoor air temp your 3 ton heat pump will deliver 36000 BTU's cooling and at X outdoor temp your 3 ton heat pump will deliver X BTU's heating.

In cooling the HP is trying to heat the outside air, the higher the outdoor temp the harder this is to do and your efficiency and capacity goes down. Likewise in heating the HP is trying to cool the outside air. The lower the outside temp the harder this is to do and capacitcy and efficiency goes down.

Goe-Thermal does not care what the outdoor temp is. Water temp is always the same. YOu take away the air to refrigerant condenser and add a water to refrigerant condenser. Efficiency never changes.

For what your Brother is doing look for open and closed loop. Open has the highest SEER.

Geo_Thermal units are almost like window units. Plug them in and let it run.

Brother can sub the duct work and loop/wells and install the unit. Water in, water out, air in, air out.

My favorite saying is "Yes, it is a high cost install. but once you push the "GO" button your are saving money over what you had.".

You must do research!
Google
FHP
IGSHPA
Geo Exchange
Water Furnace
etc..

I could go on and on about Geo. But I won't.

I will say that in 98 or 99 OK State Univ was involved in a subdivision progect where the buyers were given a contract as to what there heating and cooling costs would be with Geo-Thermal. Problem was the guesstimate was wrong. The cost was lower.

Finally, the thing is that Geo-Thermal is cheaper heating and cooling.

YOur loop system must be correct. Duct work is the same. 3 tons is 3 tons.
 
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Old 07-28-08, 06:40 AM
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Geo Thermal and Tankless

I am an architect and builder who has recently installed a geo thermal HVAC system.

The previous reply is a very good posting with respect to the technical aspects of geo thermal.

I take it your brother's client is in Ontario. This is important point to begin. Geothermal's greatest effeciency is with the cooling, not the heating. In an area with a greater amount of cold days compared to hot days this can tax the system if the temp. get real low for days on end.

The interior system works and appears like a traditional furnace. The only different component is the loop system in the yard. This is why it is critical to find a qualified installer. Digging up 1000 lf or more of tubes is not real good.

We have had a great experience with geothermal. Our heating bills have been 1/3 less than gas, and our cooling bills are 2/3 lower. Yet the difference is we are always running the system, so we are getting more consistent air/temp. in the home. The geothermal is also providing hot water to our hot water tanks during the cooling days. So it is not necessary/possible to have a tankless system with the geothermal supplimenting the hot water.

I would suggest waterfurnace.com. Ask the manufacturer to provide you with certified installers in your area. But based upon your location you need to research how effective it will be for your brother's client. If it gets real cold there for days on end - then it may not be the best system for them.

The greatest challenge with a tankless system is to find a location to properly/safely discharge the exhaust. They are a good green system, but need to be installed properly.
 
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Old 07-28-08, 07:28 AM
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I'm only familiar with corporate GEO HP, but IMO, geo makes sense if you are building a new house. The costs are more appropriate. The extra cost of installing geo on a renovation is not worth it, IMO.
 
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Old 07-31-08, 05:00 AM
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Earthlink versus Watersource?

Cna some one explain what this means> Is this a better GEO technology since it does not require a secondary water pump?

http://www.hitechconstructionproduct...tersource.html

http://www.earthlinked.com/residential/how-it-works

I am confused is this marketing jargon or a different technology?
 
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Old 08-02-08, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike.B View Post
Brother is a builder who recently has been asked to look into Geothermal, for homeowner whom he is doing an addition for. They want a complete system put in, and for him to subcontract it. Problem is he keeps hearing Good & bad about the systems, as well as locating an experienced installer/service company. From what little I've read, it appears to have an awful lot of things that can go wrong, & malfunction over a short time span. Views from those who know better than I/we do, would be appreciated. Also, are tankless water heaters all their cracked up to be?
Thanks in advance, Mike.B
Just a thanks to all who took the time to give their input. Although the comment by "SKr99" about more cold days than warm, (which is quite common where we are, thanks to cold winds & snow blowing across Lake Erie, and coming down from the North across Lake Ontario) certainly would have done it for me as far as what my decision would be, the client did a little more thinking & research of their own on it & took the advice of local heating & plumbing installers, and have decided for now, that their current A/C will handle the extra space, and a small, high efficiency furnace running independent of the main furnace will do the job quite well for the addition. I think the big clincher was the fact that the piping was going to have to run over the property line, and although they had good neighbors now, who's to say what the future could bring.

Thanks Again, Mike.B
 
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Old 08-09-08, 06:44 AM
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EWT entering water temperature

Some of the gov't info states that the efficiency of geothermal in a closed loop system depends on the water temperature in the loop. Yet this factor seems to be missed in all the glossys and estimates discussion.
For us in the north east it is estimated the water in a closed loop system will be 30F-34F in winter months. This not constant 50F as has been stated in this thread.
Is anybody operating closed loop geo in N.E. Niagara Falls, Buffalo ..?
Can someone explain what the efficiency would be during the cold months and whether backup system is required?
 
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Old 08-10-08, 09:32 AM
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John, having work on Florida Heat Pumps for years, might say " I cut my Geo teeth on them", I'm somewhat partial there. Not to mention that FHP has always made Geo only, nothing else. Well, you can make a hybrid for a pool house but that something different than what we are talking about.

Not a great fan of water furnace, too many bells and whistles for me FHP is straight forward for troubleshooting.

Anyway, back on track. I honestly have not seen an install that actually needs backup heat other than insurance incase the comp dies or is locked out.Ground temp is constant below a certain depth in any climate.

As to your question, this link is to spec sheets for FHP's GS series 410a units. Gives capacities for different EWT's.

GS and GT are 410a and 22 units (respectfully). Can be used on closed or open loop.

EC, ES, and EM are open loop only, 410, 410, and 22.

http://www.fhp-mfg.com/newpdfs/GS_GT/GS_Spec.pdf
 
 

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