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Old 12-08-2009, 08:26 PM   #1
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Geothermal ??'s


OK, so the heat exchanger on my furnace has finally s&*t the bed. The cost to get this "warranty" part replaced is just shy of getting a new furnace so you know which direction I'm headed. Does anyone have any experience/info with the geothermal systems? I'm having the HVAC Co. out tomorrow to do the load/loss calc on the house and they're going to give me quotes for a conventional LP furnace & AC system and also a geothermal system. My thinking was that with the 30% tax credit, and the reduced operating costs, my ROI will be a fairly short time frame. Has this technology progressed far enough to be dependable & reliable? Will we feel heat coming out of the vents or will it be luke warm like the old air to air heat pump systems? Appreciate any input.

Also, the one guy said the system could run anywhere from $20k-$30k. Is this in the realm of reality or should I run screaming out the door?


Last edited by Tinkerer; 12-08-2009 at 08:32 PM. Reason: Adding more info
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:49 PM   #2
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Where are you located ?
No plans to move anytime soon ...?

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Old 12-08-2009, 08:58 PM   #3
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The cost he quoted you is for REAL. $20,000 and up is not unusual. I am not a big fan of them. The initial investment is HUGE and they will require ongoing expensive repairs like any other machine. They have a very complicated refrigeration unit and series of pumps and controls and require a VERY skilled specialized tech to service them. Like buying a Ferari or Porsche. Only their mechanics know how to fix them. Surprisingly they don't save a huge amount of $$ in energy costs. I live in a cold climate and our utility co engineers did a cost comparison. For another $360 a year or less I can run a $5000 furnace and do the same job.

see this:http://www.hydro.mb.ca/your_home/hom...?WT.mc_id=2815

The first series of them have had problems with glycol leaks etc etc and some people have ripped them out or gone back to conventional heating. Depends on your area and utility costs. I would rather stay with a well know name brand of furnace where I could get a steady supply of parts and techs to work on it rather than being held hostage by the installer co and his techs and hoping he stays in business for the long run (20 yrs at least). Lots of variables to consider. The air from them is lukewarm and they need LARGE return air ducting.

Last edited by yuri; 12-08-2009 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:07 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info.

We're in southeastern PA. No plans to move in the "near" future. When my youngest is out of college, we will probably down size and move. That should be about 15 years. My initial thought was that a new furnace may be nearing the end of its' life around that time but would a geothermal system add to the value of the home?
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:46 PM   #5
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Not in 15 years . By that time it will be an old ready to break down liability instead of an asset. I work on hundreds of them in commercial property and a handfull for residential. Would never put one in my house but do like air to air heat pump.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:03 PM   #6
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I agree with Yuri and Marty. I work on them too, and would never put one on my house. I serviced some Climatemaster Tranquility 27 units today with 2 stage compressors and ECM motors.

Modern air to air heatpumps with variable speed blowers can provide a very good temperature rise. I like the Carrier Infinity line.
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:41 PM   #7
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Decided against Geothermal. What is the concensus on a hybrid system that uses a heat pump down to a certain temp threshold? the old heat pump I had in another house had supplemental electric heat but I'm assuming that the supplemental heat source can also be a furnace. Does such a system exist commercially? Would it be beneficial?
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Old 12-09-2009, 05:20 PM   #8
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Sure they make them. Mines a Lennox xp19 2 stage heat pump and a G61 2 stage furnace for back up. I also have the Lennox touch screen thermostat with outdoor sensor. Sweet system ! The G71 is a nicer furnace but too big for my house.
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Old 12-09-2009, 05:50 PM   #9
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Hybird/dual fuel systems are very common in PA.
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Old 12-16-2009, 10:58 PM   #10
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Hi,

I went back and forth for sometime on different heating options. Here in Vermont and/or the North East in general when the heat is on 9 months out of the year it is really a big desicion. Here are my reasons for choosing geothermal for my home.
I went into some local business that use geothermal for heating here in Bennington (i.e the Vets home and the Health Building and CCV, a local college) they have had geothermal for some time and are state run facilities. They are always warm, or cool. And I don't know about anywhere else but the summers here are starting to get hot enough to make a choice about air conditioning. Which is another added cost, even though it is only 2-3 months out of the year. So I chose geothermal for those reasons, plus it is a green form of energy. No stoneage burning wood, really we are an intelligent civilization, don't you think we can get past burning our natural resources, duh what part of that makes since.

So those are the top few reasons, my installer was awesome and really informative. He has some good resources and details on his website regarding Rebates & tax credits that are available nationwide. And then some basic details on how geothermal systems work. It really helped me understand the basics, as it was a completely foreign concept when I was first introduced to it. I was like what, you can do what and get basically free heating and cooling. Anyways I hope this helped.

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Old 12-17-2009, 04:19 AM   #11
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VT. Whats you involvement with the company you had a link posted to.

I removed it, since it looked like free advertising. Use the Contact Us to inquire about buying advertising for DIY consulting.
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:44 PM   #12
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NO such thing as FREE heating and cooling. The compressor and pumps in your geo unit use electrictiy which has to come from coal, nuclear or hydro and they all pollute.
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Old 01-30-2010, 12:42 PM   #13
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I had a two-stage ClimateMaster ground-source heat pump installed in the house which we were having constructed in early 1999. For the first couple of years I was delighted with the unit. I really liked the fact that we had the most environmentally friendly heating source which is available to us, as well as the low operating cost. But, in the last five years, my views have changed considerably! Since January 2005, I have had four compressors replaced, as well as the pump pack on the unit. The compressors have been covered by the warranty, but the pump pack as all labor has not been covered. The service bills which I have in front of me total $3171.42 and this is probably not all of them. That comes close to $300 per year for service and repairs while the unit was still covered by a warranty. What will it be now that the warranty has expired? Both compressors were last replaced in December 2008. With two new compressors, I had assumed that we should have at least a few years of dependable service. Wrong! About two weeks ago we had the repairman out because the compressors were going into lockout mode. He checked things out, added some liquid to the ground loop, changed the filter and left. Yesterday morning the compressors were in lockout mode again! I canít afford to pay these people $125 every two weeks to keep this system functioning as it should!

When we decided to install the ground-source heat pump, we were told that maintenance would be quite reasonable. It has not turned out that way. Yesterday I contacted the gas company to see what the cost would be to get gas to the house. I also contacted a dealer who sells high efficience gas furnaces. I donít yet know what we will be doing, but the status quo is not acceptable. On line I found the description of a ground-source heat pump system which was installed in an elementary school in Westborough, MA in 1996. They used twenty ten-ton units. After ten years of use a review of the operating costs of this system was published. In the ten-year period, they had replaced a total of two compressors! That represents 200 operating years for their system and they had to replace only two compressors. In my case I had four compressors replaced in less than ten operating years. Their system was also ClimateMaster, like mine. What is the difference
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Old 01-30-2010, 01:02 PM   #14
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Thats a LOT of compressors. Did they BURN out or seize up/locked rotor. Big difference. If they burnt out and the system is/was contaminated with acid then that is a huge problem. Need to know why they failed. 10 ton units will generally have larger industrial grade compressors and components and may last longer. Everything is built to a mass marketed price point. Geos are interesting and okay until they start to break down. Not totally Green as there is no totally green source of electricity unless you have lots of land and $$ for solar panels/wind turbine. If there is no wind and it is cloudy back to the grid.
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Old 01-30-2010, 01:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yuri View Post
Did they BURN out or seize up/locked rotor.
They locked up!

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