Geothermal Heat Pump Horizontal Closed Loop
I am getting estimates on a new heating system and my state offers a generous $2,000 grant to install a 5 ton Geothermal heat pump so I am considering that option, I am in Indiana. Anyway, the one estimator stated that the system would not be very efficient the first year as the horizontal closed loop would be less efficient until the soil settled/compacted around it.
1. Is this true, or does he just do a poor job installing them?
2. If true does anyone have an experience as to how poorly it will operate? If I am going to have to run on emergency heat all winter I need to add that into the cost.
3. Climatemaster or Waterfurnace? Much difference?
4. Is there someplace I can go to check that they are putting in a big enough loop to make the heat pump work properly?
Thanks for your input.
1 Yes the ground will compact around the tubes after awhile. It should not make a huge difference though.
2 You should not need to run the electric heat all winter. You will probably not notice the difference.
3 Both are similar, go with the contractor you are more comfortable with.
4 Loop size should be determined by an experienced looper. If it doesn't work after the fact, make them fix it.
Make sure the size is determined by a load calculation.
If you were down in the three ton range I would say Waterfurnace Envision. It has the Climatemaster beat. But the 5 tons, from memory, are closer in efficiency. My contractor did say that between these two companies the one with the most efficient was the last to come out with a new model. But he also said that he has a much harder time getting parts for Climatemasters and the documentation is not as good. I really like the diagonistic features on the new Envisions and its serviceability built into it. I am an engineer and have disassembles one of their previous modela I will say it is easier to work on than their previous unit (E Series) and better built.
1st. I'd dump the contractor that said the system won't be very efficient (unless you misunderstood) That kind of opinions would scare me. We install our own loops and there is almost no difference in system performance.
As far as units. I prefer Waterfurnace. Made right here in IN, Great tech support, Great product line. Climatemaster is not a bad product,just prefer Watefurnace
P.S. If you live in southern IN. let me know
Actually there is some truth that the efficiency will improve over a season or two, due to settling. It is a function of the type of soil, what the installer uses to surround the pipes, amount of rain in the area and the depth of the trench. Expect the change in efficiency to be no more than 5% to 10%. Some installers call it "conditioning the loop". Nothing to worry about.
As far as the manufacturers, both are good. I prefer ClimateMaster. They are a bit lower cost, and there is no issue with parts or documentation. I get parts from the overnight from the factory if the distributor does not have them in stock. As for statements about efficiency, both are so close you would need a razer to slice the difference. Many manufacturers today actually tailor the unit to optimize the EER/SEER rating, trying to match the test conditions with the design. In actual real world use, as they say "results will vary". Don't make a decision based on the numbers, go with the installer you are most comfortable with.
As for the loop size, you need to have that done based on your site. There are many estimates and rules of thumb, but a pro will determine your loop size and configuration based on many factors. Soil types can be a significant factor, and any pro will need to do probe holes to make a final determination.