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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Thief River Falls, MN
    Posts
    5

    Back and forth on geothermal-HELP!

    Hello all, this is my first post, so bear with me. We are finally building our dream home (they started digging yesterday), and I was all set to go geothermal but now am unsure. The up front costs are quite a bit, so I had opted to go with the open loop. Now I am thinking Air to Air Heat Pump, but I have been researching a little and it sounds like they are not real efficient up here in Northern Minnesota when it gets cold.
    I know some don't like the open system, but the terrain is actually ideal for it I think. Reason for not going closed loop is the property is totally covered with oaks, and I am removing as few as possible.
    I also have a very large ditch (over a mile long) on the back of the property that holds water year around, so I could dump the water into that. The ground is very sandy/gravel as well.
    Any thoughts on these topics is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    21

    Wink

    Go with the geo!!! Do not hesitate. When we built two years ago I was already set on geo. With propane or air source heat pumps the only options for me, I decided early and boy is it paying off.At that time they estimated a 7 year return. Propane was 1.50 then. Now at 2.50/gallon I've got neighbors asking me about retros since they wanted to save a few bucks when they built 3 years ago. I recently hooked up the desuperheater and with the ac running I am storing hot water at 93 degrees to supply my primary water heater. Look at it this way...Even if you financed the extra in your loan, your utility savings will more than pay for the increase in your payments. I live in SW Ohio and have a horiz. closed loop. I can't understand why anyone would install air to air or propane these days unless a short term residence. I would find a local geo dealer, ask for references and talk to people who live with them. That will give you a real life opinion and monthly utility cost ballpark. Far more beneficial than some installer's or salesperson's opinion. . Do your homework for yourself. Good Luck..

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    south carolina
    Posts
    176
    i think you should go geo

  4. #4
    Geo is the way to go. Just had my old system AC and propane system changed out a couple of months ago. First bill in June was 250 less kW used than last year same time. Had A Waterfurnace dual stage unit installed. I would also recommend doing a closed loop system. We did the closed loop vertical installation, very little distubance to existing yard and about the only way here in Missouri. Excited about not having to buy propane this year.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    21
    Highmark18..I also have the Water Furnace 2 stage. I would caution you with the open loop idea. Water supply(well or city) and electricity cost can become issues depending on your situation. Based on the trees, the extra bucks for vertical closed may be worth it since it sounds like horizontal is out. I mentioned in my other post, but go with the desuperheater if you opt for geo. You will save even more with free heat that would normally dump to the ground. If you use the desuperheater, you need a buffer tank wether you go tank or tankless for your primary heater. That is something else to think through. It's a little complicated but after a short payback you'll be glad you stayed away from a traditional system.

  6. #6

    Water Furnace or Climate Master/American Standard combo?

    Going with Geo just makes sense now with the price of oil, propane and electric rising rapidly. Picking a system is not so easy. If you go with the Geo, which system are you choosing?

    This is my first post so sorry if I didn't do it right.

    I have two quotes as follows:
    1. The first one is:

    - A Water Furnace Envision 4-ton, model NDV049 unit
    - Disconnect existing oil furnace and cooling system and new unit installed in its place
    - All existing duct work will be reused except where the new unit connects to the existing duct works
    - A new WaterFurnace thermostat will replace the existing heating/colling thermostat
    - All wiring for proper operation
    - Desuperheater is optional and would connect to the existing 8-yr old electric water heater
    - Well drilling and piping from the yard to the pump center (3 x 200')
    - Flushing and filling the wells with water/anti-freeze solution
    - Warranty of Water Furnace system 10 years parts and labor

    The second quote includes:

    - A 4-ton Climate Master geothermal split heat pump, Model TTS049GCO1CNNS with hot water generator in the basement
    - An American Standard 5-ton variable speed air handler, Model 2TEE3F60 with 15 KW of backup heat in the basement
    - A 2-zone pump center installed on the wall of the basement
    - An Aprilaire 2200 media air cleaner
    - A Honeywell Vision Pro 8000 digital programmable thermostat
    - An 80-gallon domestic hot water storage tank
    - Well drilling and piping from the yard to the pump center (3 x 200')
    - Flushing and filling the wells with water/anti-freeze solution
    - All high voltage and control wiring
    - Removal of the old heat pump ( I have an oil burner/oil tank /electric hot water with external Trane XE1000 AC, so this has to be clarified)
    - First year maintenance
    - System startup
    - Warranty 10 year parts and labor
    - 50% down and balance 12 months same as cash financing


    So, the question for the experts is whether the difference between the Water Furnace Envision unit and the Climate Master/American Standard combo and package is worth the price difference. the Water Furnace is running about $2500 more and does not have all the extras. Does any body have any concerns about the combo system?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    East Grand Forks, MN
    Posts
    1,375
    highmark18,

    To me it depends on the structure (your house)!
    Each house is different.
    Are you looking for a decent payback period? less than 10, 6, or 4 years?

    Air Source Heat Pumps are great and they do work real well up here in the North! But they may not last longer than a Geothermal system, 20+ years.

    Cost is also a consideration.

    Al

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Thief River Falls, MN
    Posts
    5
    House will be approx 1400 sq. feet on the main level, with a full walkout basement so about 2800 sq. ft total. Poured walls with styrofoam forms. Floor heat in the basement and garage. Payback period is not that big of an issue only because we will more than likely be there beyond retirement (a long ways away).
    So does the desuperheater heat my hot water if I am understanding correctly?
    I was considering a air to air heat pump until a friend of mine had said that his bill was about 250.00 a month (he built his house about 4 years ago). I think I am going to try and do all the heat floor install to save some money, as I really would like to go with the geothermal if I can pull it off.
    I have talked to a couple open loop guys, and they swear by them. I am sure water quality has something to do with it, but it sounds like the ideal situation for where I am at...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Altmar, New York, United States
    Posts
    5,174
    i would research as many options as you can before going ahead with it. we do a dx geo. very eficiant. it uses 410a rather than water so you don't need to run another pump. it cost about the same to run as your hair drier. check out this link http://earthtoair.com/. (hope it works)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    21

    Wink

    Highmark,
    The desuperheater will assist your water heater. It is basically a line with a pump that circulates around your compressor and lines in the unit. The excess heat generated when your unit is running transfers the heat into the desuperheater line which heats your tank. It is important to have a second water heater(not wired just storage) and run hot out to cold in your main hot water heater. It won't regenerate fast enough for "normal" daily usage. The concept is that it reduces the btu's being generated by your main heater thus saving dollars. A single tank is not recommended because the system is fighting itself and can actually drop the effiency of your geo by the hot water not getting away from the compressor. Keep in mind it only runs when your system is running and not even all the time. There are certain temp. differentials that the computer senses to turn it on or off. During the shoulder season you won't generate as much. I am cooling at 72 right now in Ohio. Currently in the upper 80s outside. I have a rheem marathon 50 gallon ( highly efficient) not wired, just storage. 1 inch pex runs out from that to my gas Rinnai tankless. By the afternoon I am storing 98-100 degrees. I just shut off the Rinnai and get free night baths and a shower. The system then sits idle with the night cooling and repeats the next day. In the spring when we had cool nights in heat mode I was seeing 112-114 and left my Rinnai off most of the day as well.

    I have a 2400ft. ranch and cool at 72 24/7. With two adults/2 kids, my electric last month was 94.00. I don't run over 100/month until maybe Dec./January in heat mode. Also I know Water Furnace has a split unit for radiant and forced air, might be worth checking out...

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