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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    3
    We are very close to a commitment to install 12 WaterFurnace geothermal units throughout our large old house. In a current thread here I read some pretty strong criticisms of geo. Other places I have read some very positive reviews. If we leave money out of the equation, would you experts consider this system for your house, assuming it was installed by you? Why or why not?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    9,548
    I personally have never seen one, but knowing how they operate I would have no problem installing one in my own house. They are more efficient than an air-air heatpump, dut to the fact that they use ground water for their heat source,and it stays around 55 degrees year round. That said, I would hire someone with proven geothermal installs to install it for me, because like anything else,a poor install can make a good piece of equipment bad.
    If everything was always done "by the book"....the book would never change.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    NE PA
    Posts
    698
    I did consider, and then install in my own home last fall. I had 2 (and then 3) zones of air-air heat pumps for 18+ years in the house. Being in the trade and having installed quite a few heat pumps over the years, I can still say that my personal experience with air-air heat pumps was very good, with low cost and good comfort.

    My choice to go geo was prompted by the fact that my air units were old 7.8 SEER and still going, but I knew that they were at the end of their lives. Geo was chosen due to my experience with them, better efficiency, long low maintainance life, and I believed more comfort (no defrost for example). The long life and better efficiency was also a factor since this was a pre-retirement update to the house (even though I have a decade to go). At the time I made the decision and had purchased the equipment, the energy crunch had not hit, so that was not a consideration, but in hindsite a great decision.

    All that said, if you can afford the cost and long payback period, I find that the geo is a great system. Much more comfort. Higher discharge temps all winter long, greater capacity so run times are in the tens of minutes, rather than all night long, even on the coldest single digit nights. The units (ClimateMaster) in the basement are very quiet. You would not know that a compressor is down there (when the unit is closed up - no panels opened). My operating costs are low as expected. The bonus of the desuperheater to generate domestic hot water has helped lower costs, but also increased the hot water capacity in the house (I am using a second unenergized 50 gal HW heater as the preheat tank to my main HW heater). I have not had 1 minute of auxiliary heat operation since I tested the system.

    Overall they are a great system to have. No complaints in any area and I would highly recommend them to anyone.

    I hope more firms start to offer geo systems, and they become more popular. More units will mean more experience and eventually lower costs to install and service, so more people can enjoy the comfort and benefit of these systems.

    Most important is to have a good installer with geo experience and someone who takes pride in his work and stands behind it.

    paul

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Posts
    50
    Originally posted by snblaes
    We are very close to a commitment to install 12 WaterFurnace geothermal units throughout our large old house.
    12 units??? What is this, the Biltmore Estate?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    3
    Tecman...thank you for your very thoughtful answer. You validate what all my research had told me until I read a recent thread on this site. As I said, pgmr, it is a big house...almost 15,000 square feet. Installation is the key, of course, and I am only getting quotes from what I hope are very qualified contractors.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    7,744
    Tecman is right. I service/replace my share of heat pumps, both air to air and geo and the geo's are far superior in performance since they are not subject to colder loop temps as the air to air is.

    Both Climatemaster and Water Furnace are good units but both are not built as well as they previously were. My last Water Furnace replacemtent was switched out to a Climatemaster for better price, better factory support, better built and I am not limited to one of their "dealer" status.

    Climatemaster also has a (gulp, can't believe I going to recommend this) R410 unit with variable speed supply fan. I've seen them and I like them.

    Either way the newer ones are not built as well as the old ones.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
    - Alexis de Toqueville, 1835

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    NE PA
    Posts
    698
    You should take a look at ClimateMaster. It is the brand that WaterFurnace is a copy of (if the story I heard is true, that ClimateMaster employees/engineers left the company and started their owm business - Waterfurnace). I looked at both for which brand I should sell and support. Very similar indeed. ClimateMaster is a bigger operation and surprisingly a bit lower in price.

    paul

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    7,744
    AND, since you seem to have the money to do this right, I would use a Climatemaster associated with radiant floor heat for your home.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
    - Alexis de Toqueville, 1835

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Derby City
    Posts
    3,958
    You may want to review the post lower in this section where someone just 'ripped' out their geothermal system. Might get a perspective you won't get anywhere else. just a suggestion.
    Everyone has a purpose in life..........even if it's to be a bad example.

    Seek first to understand, before seeking to be understood.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    6,238

    Hmm Design Capacity versus Load required

    Originally posted by snblaes
    ... a commitment to install 12 WaterFurnace geothermal units throughout our large old house.
    Maintenance ?
    Warranty ?

    12 units ought to handle your 15,000 S.F. house.

    ClimateMaster has been the King.

    Your location __ ?
    MD

    Will you be using a cooling tower?



    [Edited by dan sw fl on 01-30-2006 at 08:26 PM]
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    3
    It was those ripped out geothermal units on that thread that gave me pause and hence this post. Delta T...2500 sq ft of this install will have geo radiant with geo forced air as second stage heat and ac. Tecman, I heard the story in reverse...WaterFurnace guys left to form Climatemaster. Not many Climatemaster units are sold around here (Baltimore Md area) and the local distributor only could recommend one contractor to install them. He came out, looked, took prints, said he'd quote, and never followed up. Thanks for all the thoughts, guys.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    NE PA
    Posts
    698
    Originally posted by snblaes
    I Tecman, I heard the story in reverse...WaterFurnace guys left to form Climatemaster.
    The checking I could dig up has ClimateMaster in the geothermal HP equipment business for nearly 50 years. Waterfurnace started in 1983. The current Prez of Climatemaster is the guy who started Waterfurnace.


    paul

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