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flyby 11-19-2007 11:01 AM

Geothermal basic questions.
 
I'm building a new home (4900 sq ft) and want to use geo. However, my best bid so far (only 2 contractors in the Memphis area) is around $36000. I've talked to many people about it and I'd like to put in the system myself. There is a Diy site that sells everything I need.
My questions are:
Will the horizontal closed loop work in my area if I go 6 ft deep?
Will the unit(s) work in my attic?
Will they be to noisy for an attic?
Why do you suppose the contractors here charge so much more than the quotes I hear about in other areas?
Thanks for any responses.

#CARRIERMAN 11-19-2007 11:13 AM

Hi flyby

A geothermal system is the most efficient and one of the quietest operating systems on earth. As far as the loop system, that is going to be best answered by getting ahold of a geological survey for your area. You should be able to go to the county inspector for this information. What you are looking for is known frost line and constant temp level. You may not even have to go down 6 feet in your area or you could have to go down double that. With the way a geothermal operates do not guess at this!. As far as a closed loop system. To me there is no better means than closed loop for optimum performance of a system. You will also want the duct system designed professionally. Any heating or cooling system this is a must, but is more closely needed on a geothermal. It will require you closely pay attention to what you are doing, don't scrimp when it comes to this system and it will repay you 10 fold.

Good luck
Rusty

LawnGuyLandSparky 11-19-2007 12:28 PM

I'd be very curious to know how much more a geothermal system costs than conventional, (installation) what the difference is in yearly operating costs, and when the payback period ends.

IMHO, many so-called low-energy systems cost more than they save.

flyby 11-19-2007 02:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky (Post 74927)
I'd be very curious to know how much more a geothermal system costs than conventional, (installation) what the difference is in yearly operating costs, and when the payback period ends.

IMHO, many so-called low-energy systems cost more than they save.

My wife is starting to feel the same way. I would really like to install this system though, if it would pay for itself within 6 years.

flyby 11-19-2007 02:31 PM

Thanks #CARRIERMAN. Any other info from you or anyone would be greatly appreciated. I've heard they are quiet, but I just talked to an installer and he thought it would be too noisy/too much vibration for an attic. Any thoughts? BTW, the guy who said this installs in CO and said he would do the same job there for around 18k. I wish I could get him out here.

hvactech 11-19-2007 06:44 PM

Unless the cost of electricity is low in your area you wonít save much by going with a geothermal heatpump versus a high efficiency gas fired furnace specially if the winter temperatures drop well bellow freezing for a long period of time, also there are only a few companies that can service the equipment, be prepare to pay more for regular maintenance and repairs. In a nutshell unless your area meets a set of specific conditions there arenít any $ savings at all.

sams7267 11-19-2007 07:12 PM

Try HydroTemp... http://www.hydro-temp.com/

I used to work there. I know they install and service West Memphis, likely they'll go the extra couple miles for you.

Talk DIRECTLY to MIKE JONES.

LawnGuyLandSparky 11-19-2007 09:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hvactech (Post 75006)
Unless the cost of electricity is low in your area you wonít save much by going with a geothermal heatpump versus a high efficiency gas fired furnace specially if the winter temperatures drop well bellow freezing for a long period of time, also there are only a few companies that can service the equipment, be prepare to pay more for regular maintenance and repairs. In a nutshell unless your area meets a set of specific conditions there arenít any $ savings at all.

I suspected as much, thank you for your frank reply. Here in the northeast, people are replacing their heat-pumps like they've got the plague. All this talk about the "efficiency" of transferring heat instead of creating heat never made sense to me. When I try to explain my position, I tell people that using a heat pump in the winter to heat a home is the same as using your central a/c in the summer to "heat" the outdoors.

flyby 11-19-2007 10:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sams7267 (Post 75013)
Try HydroTemp... http://www.hydro-temp.com/

I used to work there. I know they install and service West Memphis, likely they'll go the extra couple miles for you.

Talk DIRECTLY to MIKE JONES.

Thanks, I'll call him tomorrow.

flyby 11-19-2007 10:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hvactech (Post 75006)
Unless the cost of electricity is low in your area you wonít save much by going with a geothermal heatpump versus a high efficiency gas fired furnace specially if the winter temperatures drop well bellow freezing for a long period of time, also there are only a few companies that can service the equipment, be prepare to pay more for regular maintenance and repairs. In a nutshell unless your area meets a set of specific conditions there arenít any $ savings at all.

My biggest concern is with the AC portion. In the mid south we typically get 2 1/2 months of cold weather. The rest is usually very hot. Does this make any difference? I don't want to see $300 AC bills in Jun-Sep.

joasis 11-20-2007 05:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky (Post 74927)
I'd be very curious to know how much more a geothermal system costs than conventional, (installation) what the difference is in yearly operating costs, and when the payback period ends.

IMHO, many so-called low-energy systems cost more than they save.

It depends on where you live, and basic energy costs for your area. I am in Oklahoma, and building my new home, about 3800 sq/ft, in the country, serviced by a rural electric cooperative. They offer zero percent financing if I go with the geo thermal system. The financing period is 10 years, there is a healthy tax credit, the life of the equipment is estimated at 20 years, and the best part is they guarantee the energy usage if they design and install the system. My system will include the hot water recovery as well.

Now, for options...total electric system w/o a heat pump: about 12k. Gas fired heat, standard A/C, about 14k, Heat pump system, about 15k. Geo thermal, 16k plus the ground wells (6). Gas fired would be ok, except in the country we have to use propane...currently running $2 a gallon.

This is a split system, 6 tons total air movement. If the energy estimates are correct, my cost to heat and cool this house will be less then $100 a month at current rates. So will it pay off? Sure....lots of people are paying .o4 and up per sq/ft per month to heat and cool, I know a few that have $500 a month electric bills for 3000 sq/ft.

flyby 11-20-2007 07:47 AM

Are they using water furnace equipment? I just don't understand why they want so much more $ here in the Memphis area for what sounds like the exact same house size. They also quoted me 6 tons. I can get the wells dug for $1400 per hole (ton). That would make a difference of more than $10000. It's not like I have no room to work with either (15 acres of pasture). I'm hoping Hydro Temp comes through.

joasis 11-20-2007 01:49 PM

Our electric cooperative gets a subsidy from the government for doing these systems. My own heat and air contractor said he couldn't buy the equipment for that price.

sams7267 11-20-2007 08:17 PM

HydroTemp makes all of there units in house... they have a small factory. This may mean added savings for you.

#CARRIERMAN 11-21-2007 09:20 AM

Hi flyby

I am glad to see joasis get involved he is very good people. I just wanted to let you know that there are a lot of different manufacturers of geothermal equipment. Water Furnace is a good one but the one I most preferred and had the best performance characteristics was the Climatemaster brand. They had the highest efficency rating and were the quietest on the market. Just don't want you to get boxed into a corner, go online to www.carrier.com see if they will be willing to help you. I think you will be amazed at the response you will get. As far as one of the responses I read, not exactly sure where the information was coming from. I just don't want you to be missinformed. A geothermal heat pump typically comes with eer rating of at least 21. This means that in seer rating such as a gas furnace of 90 plus. That the geothermal is 2100 percent efficient, gas fired equipment cannot even come close to this efficiency rating. Most other appliances used for heating or cooling use an seer rating, meaning seasonal efficency rating. Geothermal is eer or energy efficiency rating, it is rated on a year round performance not a 4 month performance rating. Hope this helps with your quest.

Good luck
Rusty


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