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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    9

    Smile

    I am doing some research on geothermal A/C [preferable DX]units and quickly reached a dead end for information. It seems like nobody is willing to part with info on how much such a unit would cost me or any basic information. I know they are very efficient (250% to 350%) and wanted to explore the feasability of installing one for myself. Any ideas on how or where to get additional info out there?
    ( What companies I found on the net, didn't return calls or were very cryptic with information).
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    NE PA
    Posts
    698
    I have done a few now and have some basis for comment. I would personally caution you on DX units. They have a spotted history and the market has dropped to only a couple of suppliers. The biggest issue seems to be that the "loop" is not big enough. Let me explain. The thermal conductive of most dirt is very low. This means that the ability for heat to flow is poor, so you need a large area of dirt to get any sizeable amount of heat (or heat rejection). So if you try to put too much heat into the dirt, in a small area, the localized dirt will heat up and start to lower the overall efficiency and capacity of the system. So when you use a DX system, the problem becomes trying to spread the heat transfer over a large enough area, which the refrigerant in the buried copper line is not well suited to do. This is why the water loops in plastic are actually better. Many people thing that the relatively poor heat transfer of the plastic pipe is a problem, while in fact the heat transfer of the plastic is about 10 times better than the dirt. Due to the thermal mass of the water, it will naturally exchange the heat over a longer distance, with a correctly sized pipe.

    As for pricing, we can not quote any prices on the forum, but plan on paying 2 to 3 times the price as compared to a comparible quality air-air unit.

    As for info check out:

    http://www.climatemaster.com

    http://www.waterfurnace.com

    http://www.hydronmodule.com

    http://www.econar.com

    And for some good technical info on the ground source technology and data:

    http://www.mcquay.com/eprise/main/Mc...l-Final-R2.pdf

    I hope this helps a bit.

    paul

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    15
    I'm a homeowner. I've had two Waterfurance units in 15 years. I NEVER would have another one again as well as other people in my town. As far as being efficient goes, mine never were.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    NE PA
    Posts
    698
    No idea:

    Sorry to hear that. A lot of the sucess is a function of the proper design and selection of the ground loop, and how it was installed. Ther recent ones I did were ClimateMaster (very similar to Water Furnace) and very, very efficient. A 2 ton in heating mode averages about 1.5 KW power draw.

    paul

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Central Kentucky
    Posts
    6,248
    Originally posted by no idea
    I'm a homeowner. I've had two Waterfurance units in 15 years. I NEVER would have another one again as well as other people in my town. As far as being efficient goes, mine never were.

    I would bet you have ductwork related issues in these installs.

    The equipment is only as good as the duct system it is attached to.

    Let me guess the same contractor installed all these problem units?
    Have you set up a Google alert for Carbon Monoxide yet?
    Click here to find out how.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    52
    I would be interested to know what kind of systems you had no idea. I did a ton of research on geo & came very close to putting one in. Unfortunetly, my house is not suited for it. I've also spoke with several people that have geo & love it. There's really no other way you can heat a 3700 sqft home in Ohio, that's all electric, for less than $200 a month. That's a neighbor up the street from me. The only complaints that I did hear was from 2 people that have open loop systems & their heat exchangers went bad from the water after 6-7 years. A closed loop system won't have that problem.

    Definetly keep looking for more info galileo. It's out there. Don't be afraid to call a few contractors either. Some around here were very helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    9
    Thank you all for replying. I did get in touch with three contractors but they sound like they are lost. It seems like they are just go-betweens and don't want anyone to ask questions, just let them do the work and pay, blindly. I will not do that. As far as manufacturers go, I finally had a response from one that I may decide to become their rep and buy myself a unit too. Again, thank you all for the replies and interest. Certainly, with the energy crisis we are facing (natural gas prices at least) it has become a priority [to me] to find ways to save as much of it as possible. I don't discount anything.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
    Posts
    996
    I use mostly Climate Master open loop systems. Have not had any problems and they are very efficient. Excellent unit if installed correctly, very quiet.
    "Go big or Go Home"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    15
    Let me say that I'm not necessarily against all brands of geothermal systems. I'm saying I'm against Waterfurnace based on my 15 years' experience of two units, comments from neighbors and other people in my town.

    When the house was built, we didn't have a choice in which brand. We always had trouble with the first one despite changing the filters monthly and getting it serviced every spring and fall. After 5 years, I got them to replace it. Problems again. This past September, our electric bill was $202. How is that efficient? Then, the evaporator coil started leaking. We were told WF no longer makes the model and couldn't get a replacement.

    To be fair, we got a guesstimate from the company who started doing the maintence and repair work on our second unit for a third WF replacement. He couldn't or wouldn't give us a definite quote. They didn't install the two WF units. In talking with the contractor, I could tell by his responses he wasn't sure on a lot of things. After he left, my husband and I talked it over and decided we didn't want to go through the headaches again. We also decided we wanted to stick to someone local instead of out of town.

    I called the local Carrier contractor. He said the second WF was over 1 ton for a 1400 sq ft house in the south where it can get below 0 in the winter and above 100 with high humidity in the summer. I know you all say to get a manual J done. So, I had one done, and it came back as 1.29 tons. So, you tell me if it was undersized. It ran 24/7 in the winter and summer. I know it's been said here the unit is only as good as the install and duct work. I was never told by the company who did the maintence and repair that it was undersized, installed improperly, or bad duct work.

    We decided to go with a 2 ton Carrier Infinity. Last night, it was 21. For the first time in 15 years, we were really warm. We don't even hear it running.

    If other people have had good luck with WF, I'm happy for them. Again, based on my experience and others in my town, never again a WF.

    galileo, please continue to do your research and find out as much as possible. Like has been suggested call contractors and ask for references. Then, call the references and ask for their experieces. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Buffalo, MN
    Posts
    20
    Keep in mind when installing an open loop type geo that water quality is a big issue. If water quality is poor closed loop is definitely the way to go. The units we have had the best luck with are hydronic units (heat and cool water) with a water coil above a furnace or air handler. Direct exchange can be a bit more efficient, but as previously stated they are much more dependent on ground temp. So if you live in a state that gets very cold and have a poor snowfall the frost line gets deeper and deeper and efficiency goes down.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1

    Geothermal Heating

    I installed three Trane geothermal units in a 6000+ sq ft house 5 years ago and have had no problems with them. We have horizontal closed loops and no electric backup. Our total average electric bill is 225-250 per month. That is for the entire house (appliances and tv's and lights). The temp is set on 72 year round. The unit are very quiet. Each unit has 2 zones done with EWC zoning equipment. All three units have the electronic blower motors.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    11

    Thumbs up Geo In Ky

    Built home in 02. Home 100% electric except for woodburner we may use on the weekends or when we have friends over. Used the wet blown in cellulose insulation in all exterior walls, sprayed deep in the attic areas. Used what seemed and seems to still be good windows (Survivor brand) and went with Waterfurnace for heat and ac. We heat and cool 6500 sq ft of the house with the geos, not including upstairs and downstairs garages. Use 1 80 gallon electric hot water heater as a storage tank for the 5 ton to superheat in the summer feeding into another 80 gallon electric that feeds a recirculation pump to all hot taps throughout the house that runs 24/7. The 3 ton upstairs does not connect to the water heaters. Had a problem this year with the 5 ton, house started warming up and saw a malfunction on the digital thermostat. Went to the basement garage to see a couple leds lit up instead of the normal one showing all is ok. Ended up being a plugged condensate line running from unit to little sub pump box, smacked it a couple times, water went everywhere around pump box but it stopped, I cleaned up mess, reset breaker to unit to clear error and at this point back to changing filters every 3-4 months again paying $215.00 on elec bill on budget. In 03 after we were in here one year and we set budget it was $204, so it has gone up some, but we also added a pool with a 1 1/2 hp pump that runs around the clock from middle of May until middle of September. So will I go back with Waterfurnace after this one needs replacing? A wall of fire around my hvac contractor's office couldn't keep me from signing up for another one!!! Also, each ton has a 150' vertical hole in front yard.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    369
    I don't go in for any brand promoting or bashing....But with three years experience in the field servicing on Geothermal almost exclusivly...I would go with a carrier,trane or "florida heat pump"FHP....and if your on ground water make sure to invest in quality water valves..will save you a well pump later on down the road.
    Havin'a good time is what life is all about.

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