Geothermal Retrofit in Central Florida
Just looking for some input into replacing my existing heat pump unit with a geothermal system. My home was build in 1999, and the units are the original ones. I expect I will need to replace the two units (2.5 and 3.5 ton) in the next 18 to 24 months as the replace cost of parts, low efficency (SEER 10), and age 10+ years is going to start to really impact my heating/cooling costs.
My property is in a transitional land area of the Central florida (ie, it is not flood land, but it is not high and dry either) thus the water table is fairly shallow (2-4 feet below the surface, even with our drought). I have plenty of area (5 acres) to run a horizontial closed loop system or maybe a vertical down to the shallow aquafier.
My questions are pretty simple.
1. Does anybody know of a reliable and knowledgeable installer/retrofitter of geothermal heating/cooling systems in the Central Florida area?
2. What kind of performance should I expect out of a geothermal system, compared to traditional heat pump. Are cooling temps to say 74° degrees reasonable in summer with 100°+ temps and usually close to 100% humidity?
I know that within 2 or 3 years, electric rates will approach close to 17¢/kwh or higher (already at 14¢/kwh with fuel surcharges). So the impact to my heating and cooling will be pretty significant.
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A vertical closed loop system may be most appropriate for your situation. A water table 2 ~ 4 feet from the surface would be a huge advantage in terms of efficiency. This same situation makes the installation of a horizontal loop all but impossible.
With a properly designed & install ground heat exchanger you could achieve the comfort you desire at virtually the highest efficiency today’s technology can afford.
I recommend a couple of avenues to find an installer for a GSHP system:
Originally Posted by jims2321
a. Find out who the territory manager is for whatever GSHP manufacturer you're considering, contact that person, and ask for recommendations. The territory managers will probably recommend capable installers because the territory managers' business depends on successful installations and happy customers.
Each GSHP manufacturer should have territory manager info available online. For example, this information is readily available online for WaterFurnace. Contact me (via info in my profile here) if you want help contacting the WF Texas area territory manager, who I'm sure could then put you in touch with the equivalent person in Florida.
b. If you're considering a vertical water loop, contact the companies who do the drilling, and ask them who they recommend for installing your GSHP system. Over time, the drilling companies get to know who the really good installers are and conversely who to avoid.
With respect to performance:
Designed and installed well, you should expect to see the performance claims of the various GSHP manufacturers. For example, with my WF equipment, it's not difficult to measure and see COP values for heating approaching the 5.0 mark, and EER values for cooling in the mid- to upper-20s.
The hard part is getting a really good analysis of your heating and cooling capacity needs, getting the water cooling design/installation done right and specific for your area, getting the air distribution for your home done right, and stomaching the high up-front GSHP associated installation costs.
Texas/Florida Climates are not alike.
Would be some good choices with your new Geo-Thermal system, but you need to consider de-superheaters also. Heat your homes hot water with the Geo as well as doing the heating and air conditioning.
Vertical closed loops are what is used in this area of the country, since 1977.
Some ponds are used and wells , but most are drilled 275' vertical .
'Life begins with the journey each day'