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Author Topic: My Geothermal System is complete!  (Read 1596 times)
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Arkon
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« on: August 25, 2008, 02:23:33 PM »

So a few months back I was asking for thoughts/opinions on geothermal heating, and didn't get a ton of response in any of the forums I posted on.  It seems like it is stilla bit of an unknown despite the tech being around for a long time.  So after much thought and deliberation I took the plunge and am now the proud owner of a geothermal system.

The project took a total of 5 days from start to finish.  Total cost of the procet was just a shade onder $20,000. Days 1 and 2 the well driller came in and drilled 3 wells 200 feet deep, 10 feet from the house, each 10 feet apart.  In each hole a "ground loop" of piping was run and then the hole was backfilled with a type of grout that helps conduct heat.  Also on day 2, the furnace installers came in and removed the old oil furnace and air conditioner and set the new system in place.  Day 3 was spent running the hot water assist system.  This system ties in to my existing electric water heater and circulates my hot water over the superheater in the furnace to assist in heating the water.  The estimated savings for heating water is roughly 50%.  Also on day 3 some duct work was run.  Day 4 was finishing off the ductwork and running all the required electrical lines for the furnace.  Day 5 the well drillers returned to put in the manifold, which is buried between the house and wells and it controls the flow of the refrigerant to ensure even flow between all 3 ground loops.  This is buried roughly 6 feet deep.  For this manifold 2 lines run into the house through the foundation.  These lines run to the pump control mechanism that is mounted on the wall near the furnace.  Lastly from the pump control it runs into the furnace.  The lines were then hooked up, filled with the refrigerant and the system was primed and tested, everything tested out just fine.  Lastly on day 5 the furnace installers hooked up the Dynamic Air Cleaner and the whole house humidifier and installed the new thermostat.  In addition I also had my duct work cleaned which was long overdue.

Here is the geothermal unit I had installed:

http://www.waterfurnace.com/products.aspx?prd=Envision

It is the top of the line unit from Waterfurnace.  It has a multistage blower that is as quiet as could be.  When the system turns on the only way I know it is running is I can hear the thermostat click, or will feel the air blowing from a register.  So far we have had some mild days and some hot days, getting in to the 90s.  My system has had no issue keeping the house at 70 degrees.  All in all I am very pleased with my decision.  One nice bonus is my power company is giving me a reduced electric rate from september through april every year now because I have geothermal heat.

Attached are two shots of the new system.

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CeeKay
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2008, 02:39:12 PM »

nice unit!   slywink
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2008, 02:41:42 PM »

That's rather impressive. Completely unrealistic to most of us as we live in places where our houses are 15 feet apart, but for those who aren't, that sounds like a great idea.

Just hope you never move anytime soon.  Tongue
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Arkon
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2008, 02:47:53 PM »

Quote from: Destructor on August 25, 2008, 02:41:42 PM

That's rather impressive. Completely unrealistic to most of us as we live in places where our houses are 15 feet apart, but for those who aren't, that sounds like a great idea.

Just hope you never move anytime soon.  Tongue

You would be amazed how little space it really takes between houses.  Where the drilling was done I only have about 15-20 feet from my house to my neighbors house.  And yeah I don't plan on moving anytime soon, although if I do I am pretty sure it will pay for itself.  I was reading some national surveys when researching this and they said on average the addition of a geothermal unit increases the value of the home by 15-30%.  With a home value of $160,000 I think I should be ok if I did have to move.  I know this much if I ever do move, I will put one of these in at my new home.
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kratz
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2008, 02:55:41 PM »

That is pretty cool!
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Scraper
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2008, 03:18:28 PM »

So how is the cooling compared a traditional AC unit?
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DamageInc
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2008, 03:24:11 PM »

Pretty slick. I am not sure those would work to well in AZ, but I could see the value in other areas.
You will definitely make your money back with the rising cost of fuel over the next 20 to 30 years
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Arkon
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2008, 04:10:52 PM »

Quote from: Scraper on August 25, 2008, 03:18:28 PM

So how is the cooling compared a traditional AC unit?

In my opinion the cooling is much better than a traditional AC unit.  The ground at 200 feet in my area is between 55 and 60 degrees year round.  That means the refrigerant coming up from the ground is that temperature.  The system just has to pull the cool from the refrigerant.  With my old AC unit, which was only about 7 years old, we struggled to maintain 76 degrees in the summer.  With this system, 70 degress is a breeze.  This system also runs much less than my old AC unit.  Also I have no components above ground outdoors anymore.  The entire unit is in my basement aside from the buried parts, so I have nothing exposed to the elements.

And Damage, even in Az, the ground at 200 feet would be no warmer than 70 degrees, it would work just fine.
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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2008, 06:45:00 PM »

Quote from: Arkon on August 25, 2008, 04:10:52 PM

Quote from: Scraper on August 25, 2008, 03:18:28 PM

So how is the cooling compared a traditional AC unit?

In my opinion the cooling is much better than a traditional AC unit.  The ground at 200 feet in my area is between 55 and 60 degrees year round.  That means the refrigerant coming up from the ground is that temperature.  The system just has to pull the cool from the refrigerant.  With my old AC unit, which was only about 7 years old, we struggled to maintain 76 degrees in the summer.  With this system, 70 degress is a breeze.  This system also runs much less than my old AC unit.  Also I have no components above ground outdoors anymore.  The entire unit is in my basement aside from the buried parts, so I have nothing exposed to the elements.

And Damage, even in Az, the ground at 200 feet would be no warmer than 70 degrees, it would work just fine.

I did see an ad for it here in AZ.  I was seriously thinking about doing it, until we found out that our house was built on top of rocks!  When they were putting in basements for some of the homes here, they had to use dynamite and and rocks were super solid.  So it was probably not a cost effective method for me.
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Arkon
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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2008, 08:30:18 PM »

Quote from: Zero on August 25, 2008, 06:45:00 PM

Quote from: Arkon on August 25, 2008, 04:10:52 PM

Quote from: Scraper on August 25, 2008, 03:18:28 PM

So how is the cooling compared a traditional AC unit?

In my opinion the cooling is much better than a traditional AC unit.  The ground at 200 feet in my area is between 55 and 60 degrees year round.  That means the refrigerant coming up from the ground is that temperature.  The system just has to pull the cool from the refrigerant.  With my old AC unit, which was only about 7 years old, we struggled to maintain 76 degrees in the summer.  With this system, 70 degress is a breeze.  This system also runs much less than my old AC unit.  Also I have no components above ground outdoors anymore.  The entire unit is in my basement aside from the buried parts, so I have nothing exposed to the elements.

And Damage, even in Az, the ground at 200 feet would be no warmer than 70 degrees, it would work just fine.

I did see an ad for it here in AZ.  I was seriously thinking about doing it, until we found out that our house was built on top of rocks!  When they were putting in basements for some of the homes here, they had to use dynamite and and rocks were super solid.  So it was probably not a cost effective method for me.

Yeah there are some soil types that just aren't conducive to dong geothermal.  It would depend on what type of rock it is I would think.
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Semaj
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2008, 09:07:30 PM »

Was the most expensive part digging the wells?
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2008, 11:32:47 PM »

Quote from: Semaj on August 25, 2008, 09:07:30 PM

Was the most expensive part digging the wells?

"The project took a total of 5 days from start to finish"

I would guess the labor was the most expensive smile
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Arkon
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2008, 12:51:37 AM »

Quote from: Semaj on August 25, 2008, 09:07:30 PM

Was the most expensive part digging the wells?

Each well was app. $2,000 for the drilling and running the lines, for a total of $6,000 out of the $20,000.  If you have a large plot they can do a horizontal loop instead which is much cheaper, but the company I worked with did vertical loops exclusively.  I will have to look at my itemized invoice to see how much the equipment cost and how much was labor.
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Biyobi
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2008, 05:02:03 AM »

How would doing the horizontal loop work when it came to cooling the house?  If the pipes aren't going 200 feet down, where is the cooling coming from?
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dobberhd
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« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2008, 11:50:30 AM »

My dad has the vertical loops.  Once you get down fifteen feet or so the temperature stays rather consistent.  The only reason the wells are drilled that deep is to increase surface area.
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Arkon
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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2008, 03:52:28 PM »

Quote from: Biyobi on August 26, 2008, 05:02:03 AM

How would doing the horizontal loop work when it came to cooling the house?  If the pipes aren't going 200 feet down, where is the cooling coming from?

From my understanding, the ground starts to maintain a constant temperature once you get 5 feet deep.  Normal horizontal loops are done in trenches between 100 and 400 feet long.  I don't believe the vertical system is any more efficient, it is just less space consuming in the yard.
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DamageInc
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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2008, 04:03:24 PM »

Quote from: Zero on August 25, 2008, 06:45:00 PM

Quote from: Arkon on August 25, 2008, 04:10:52 PM

Quote from: Scraper on August 25, 2008, 03:18:28 PM

So how is the cooling compared a traditional AC unit?

In my opinion the cooling is much better than a traditional AC unit.  The ground at 200 feet in my area is between 55 and 60 degrees year round.  That means the refrigerant coming up from the ground is that temperature.  The system just has to pull the cool from the refrigerant.  With my old AC unit, which was only about 7 years old, we struggled to maintain 76 degrees in the summer.  With this system, 70 degress is a breeze.  This system also runs much less than my old AC unit.  Also I have no components above ground outdoors anymore.  The entire unit is in my basement aside from the buried parts, so I have nothing exposed to the elements.

And Damage, even in Az, the ground at 200 feet would be no warmer than 70 degrees, it would work just fine.

I did see an ad for it here in AZ.  I was seriously thinking about doing it, until we found out that our house was built on top of rocks!  When they were putting in basements for some of the homes here, they had to use dynamite and and rocks were super solid.  So it was probably not a cost effective method for me.

Yeah, not to mention that we need post-tension slabs because of expansive soil
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Geezerone
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« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2008, 07:59:20 PM »

Quote from: Arkon on August 26, 2008, 03:52:28 PM

Quote from: Biyobi on August 26, 2008, 05:02:03 AM

How would doing the horizontal loop work when it came to cooling the house?  If the pipes aren't going 200 feet down, where is the cooling coming from?

From my understanding, the ground starts to maintain a constant temperature once you get 5 feet deep.  Normal horizontal loops are done in trenches between 100 and 400 feet long.  I don't believe the vertical system is any more efficient, it is just less space consuming in the yard.

A trick they use on the horizontal loops is to use coiled tubes rather than straight ones, this will cut down on the overall acreage needed.
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Arkon
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« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2008, 09:13:10 PM »

Quote from: Geezerone on August 28, 2008, 07:59:20 PM

Quote from: Arkon on August 26, 2008, 03:52:28 PM

Quote from: Biyobi on August 26, 2008, 05:02:03 AM

How would doing the horizontal loop work when it came to cooling the house?  If the pipes aren't going 200 feet down, where is the cooling coming from?

From my understanding, the ground starts to maintain a constant temperature once you get 5 feet deep.  Normal horizontal loops are done in trenches between 100 and 400 feet long.  I don't believe the vertical system is any more efficient, it is just less space consuming in the yard.

A trick they use on the horizontal loops is to use coiled tubes rather than straight ones, this will cut down on the overall acreage needed.

Yeah I saw that the other day when I was doing some reading.  That is becomming a pretty popular install type now.
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