View Full Version : Geothermal in Dayton, OH
08-27-2006, 09:48 PM
Hello all, Iím new here. Iíve searched the forums for answers on geothermal and only come up with more questions. Iíve also researched the various systems and I am now more confused then when I started.
I know there are open loop or pump and dump systems, closed loop systems using water/glycol and direct exchange systems. Iím located in SW Ohio just south of Dayton in Miami Township on a 1 acre lot with a septic system and city water. I also have a working well that is only used to water the grass.
Iím looking to build a 2,300 S.F. 2 Story with a basement. Iím going to install PEX tubing in the basement slab for the radiant heat and finished the basement in the future.
Iíve read there have been problems with the DX systems and oil getting back to the compressor and Iíve also read the DX systems are more efficient than the water based systems. But I also see that Water Furnace is about to come out with a very efficient Envision system. Iím looking to you guys, the professionals for recommendations on which type and brand of system is more reliable. Iím not so much concerned about payback. I know Iím looking at a sizeable investment but I want something that works and works well.
Iíve been told the horizontal closed loop system will lose efficiency when the ground is very cold and I may need to rely on a back up, is that true? Also, which is the better vent location, the floor or the ceiling or high on the walls?
08-28-2006, 12:22 AM
I am a home owner and an engineer. I have been researching geothermal HP for nearly one year now. During that time I also compared them to air source HP as well. I am about to pull the trigger on a new Waterfurnace Envision system (it has been released). My descision to go with a closed ground loop system was based on what I was able to find out about various heatpumps.
Direct expansion: costiler than open or closed waterloop. usuall need a drill rig for installation. really a PIA if there is a refirg leak. The copper lines will not last as long as the plastic used in the water loops. Also couldn't find an installer.
Air source (16-17 SEER):
Trane: two quotes came in above my GSHP quote. they also don't publish their tech data in the public domain. Teh contractors failed to provide me the tech specs also. I am of the impression Trane has grown arrogant over thier name.
York: claim to be the quietest. Wasn't too bad on price.
Carrier: slightly more than york. But much better controls package. but don't poublish tech data in public domain. The carrier contractor provided this information with his quote liked I had asked for. Would have gone with them but for 50% more cash I get a GSHP 200% more efficient.
Amana (aka Goodman): best warranty I found. Not bad on price good efficiencies.
Flordia Heat pump: Many options like hot gas reheat of comfort air for dehumidification. and they used scroll compressors. No local contractor. Seen a few bad comments on fourms about not being able to get parts for them.
Climate master: Uses scroll compressors on high end units. Very efficient. Almost went this route but they came in a few k higher than waterfurnace Envision. Their contractor also did not exhude any confidence in me.
WaterFurnace: I actually called their 1800 number to ask a question and find the nearest contractorS. There was only one. The regional distibuter called me and gave me all the information I needed. Then the nest day WaterFrunace corporate called me just to make sure someone had called me. DAMN! I just looked at a GSHP install today by the contracter who will probably do mine. Looked wonderfull. I also got lucky and that I did or actually barely heard it run. Quieter than a tower PC. It was a split system with four zones and a propane furnace.
I am going to GSHP because I can't bring my self to pay nearly 10k for a Carrier system when for 50% more I get 200% more efficiency. I am also in a prime location for a ground loop. My back yard has a four to five foot wide creek and a feeder spring. There are also two other springs within throwing diatance. My loop will thus be most efficient on account of the soil being saturated with water. It won't be a the first time my potential contracter will have to place pipe in a water filled trench.
I charted all the GSHP models I was interested in on a spread sheet chart. If you would like it my email address is in my profile.
PS If you are an engineer Waterfurnace will give you a 3-5% discount on the equipment.
You asked for it ;).
08-28-2006, 06:21 AM
Hello Jumper and Drsmith:
I've been looking at geo for a new 3000 SF home with 4 zones in North Florida and here's my take on it:
No DX for me, either, for same reasons Drs quotes.
Mine will be open loop. I have a crude one now with no problems with scaling or water supply. 72 Deg F year round artesian well water at a natural pressure sufficient to not require pumping. There's a waterway convenient for dumping and the water czars don't have a problem with it.
I haven't looked at Trane owing to minimal information on web as well. I don't know what Trane's issue is with posting tech info on the web but it's a great strategy for causing engineers to shop elsewhere. (Maybe that's intentional - as contractors here will happily tell you we can be difficult...)
I live in FHP's home state and their web tech info is good, but they don't get much press here. Their efficiencies weren't all that great either. They have a unit for domestic hot water that I like - no one else seems to have that - domestic requires a double wall heat exchanger to ensure refrigerent can't leak into water.
I really really like Carrier's Infinity zoning system for its sophisticated zoning and humidity control so I'm restricted somewhat in my choices unless / until I let go of that. Carrier private labels ClimateMaster products so tech data at CM's site applies to Carrier equipment. did find more Carrier tech info by surfing through their commercial line - commercial has a path into their geo products.
None of Carrier's / CM geo gear communicates directly with Infinity controls, so what one has to do is couple a Carrier FE4 airhandler to the GT-PX (Climatemaster Tranquility 27) heatpump. This is a bit of a kludge but I'm so far willing to live with it to get Infinity. Infinity can connect to any 2 stage split heat pump so I'm not limited to the CM. Another disadvantage of a split system is field brazing and factory refrigerent charge adjustment.
WaterFurnace is a long time player in geo and Envision's numbers look good. Drs, you are courageous indeed to be willing to install serial number one! You'll probably get excellent supprt since WF will be very interested in ensuring an early install goes well. Fortunately I'm probably 6-9 months out of trigger pull so I'll wait and see. I'll have to go to WF's site and see if anything more is up about Envision. The tech info I look for is efficiency at my water conditions rather than just the ARI values.
EDIT: I spent some time this AM reviewing latest WF Envision docs as well as Intellizone zoning. A search here on Intellizone came up pretty sparse, with two homeowners reporting major problems. Neither are good signs. The Intellizone literature describes a dehumidification mode wherein the blower drops down a speed but it appears only DIP switch selectable rather than humidistat-controllable. That seems a bit crude. I've emailed WF about that and a few other questions.
Geo lives or dies on the outdoor loop. A good install into the right heat source / sink will allow the advertised super efficiency and longevity over air source equipment. A poor outdoor install will haunt forever or until 1000s are spent to fix it. Horizontal may be cheaper and easier but that portion of the yard is forever unavailable for any project involving any digging. Vertical is more compact but requires specialized well drills. There's a thread going on now about a WF unit with 92 degree entering water temp, likely owing to a well problem. 92 deg water more than kills the efficiency advantage of geo over air and shortens compressor life to boot.
I agree that Drs' situation seems especially suitable for horizontal - the always-saturated soil will be key to excellent heat exchange.
If the geo ground source can't be designed so as not to require a back up source, I wouldn't go geo - the whole idea is to be able to be independent of outdoor air temperature.
Jumper, you asked about ductwork - Floor outlets are favored in heating climates but restrict furniture placement, etc. The thing to do is to rely on the installer to do a proper ACCA Manual D design. If the contractor can't / won't, find another.
[Edited by watercop on 08-28-2006 at 10:24 AM]
08-28-2006, 08:03 PM
Jumper I don't know much about them but if you call this company in lebanon ohio they do alot of them they should be able to help you out
COMFORT SOLUTIONS-(513) 396-7200
08-28-2006, 09:11 PM
No way to DX,sold a bunch they are all out,JUNK!!!open loop has water quality issues and flow problems, I have Pump and dump one also dump well gives me a small water fall down my side yard now.Well pumps and valves,I lost all the EER gains in problems. Not equipment all water related. Go closed or don't go!!!!
08-28-2006, 09:50 PM
We have a few of the ClimateMaster units installed just south of you in West Middletown, Lebanon and one in Carlisle. The only problem we have had with any of them is a clogged drain line on one unit.
08-28-2006, 10:17 PM
Thanks for the replies drsmith, watercop and GTO boy. Nickellhead, does comfort solutions have a website? I did a google search and only came up yellow page listings. Voleye, I checked the CM website and the closet dealer is in KY, are you closer, if so send an e-mail.
The DX systems look good on paper and sounds good with the minimal space requirements for the ground loop. Iíve only found one local company that does the DX systems and they do not have a website and the brand of equipment they carry did not mention any website on the brochure. I like to read and study all I can about a product before I pull the trigger. Has anyone heard of Advanced Geothermal? They donít sell a packaged system. It looks like a split system, as you are required to have a separate unit to move air around. I have a local HVAC contractor working up an estimate for a Bryant geo system but I think they want to sell me the open loop system. Iím almost positive my well wonít handle the flow requirements and the water quality is not very good.
There is a local company that carries WaterFurnace and I need to mail my plans to them for an estimate. They also carry the cellulose insulation Iím looking into. I was holding off on the closed system until I read on these forums about the issues with the open loop system and the DX systems. Iíve also read there appears to be some issues with the WaterFurnace Intellizone system. Is there a better way to zone a geo unit besides closing the vents?
The ground loop under the creek gave me a great idea. I have a swamp / pond at the back of my lot that only holds about 12Ē of water at any given time. If I install a closed loop system and put the loop under the swamp that should improve the efficiency because the ground will always be saturated. The swamp was never lined with clay and that is why it only holds about 10 Ė 12í of water. I know the swamp is not deep enough to put the loop in it, but it could go underneath it.
Another thing I have to worry about is my septic system. How close can the ground loop be to a septic drain field?
08-29-2006, 10:16 AM
Originally posted by jumper
Another thing I have to worry about is my septic system. How close can the ground loop be to a septic drain field?
This will be determined by local code. For example my installer told me that by law he has to stay a minimum of three feet away from the drain field. Since it is sometimes hard to determine the exact location of the field the installer will most likly double that number. Your local health or sewer department should have a rough map of the septic tank and drain field locations. Be carefull with wetlands. Don't run afoul of any local, state and federal regs.
The first step to a successful geo-exchange system is to design the building properly- get the heating and cooling loads down as low as possible to reduce the need to run the geo-exchange loops at extreme temperatures. Do a proper energy balance on the system to insure you aren't over heating or over cooling the ground based on the yearly load profiles. The more money you spend on really good glass, proper exterior shading, wall and roof details, etc., the more you save on the first cost of the geo system, and as well the lower energy bills for the life of the house.
09-01-2006, 05:49 PM
Actually the CM website only shows the supply house that deals in CM equipment. There are several dealers around you. If your intrested give the supply house a call and they can give you a good dealer for your area. We are a small company (2men). We dont get up into Miami Township. But I know they have at least one or two dealers there.
09-06-2006, 06:29 PM
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.