Geothermal Installations During Hard Economic Times

Hello All, I have been reading a lot of posts regarding Geothermal on forums and receiving hundreds of calls from consumers and contractors so here it goes
During these hard economic times. HVAC contractors are forced to look for other revenue avenues. Unfortunately the geothermal field is taking a hard hit.Not Good in most cases Under trained contractors are jumping into this field without the knowledge or experience needed to install these systems properly. The homeowner will be the one disappointed when they do not get the savings promised. We just finished reinstalling a geothermal that was installed incorrectly. The loop field was put in by a hvac contractor and a local well driller whom has no knowledge about geothermal loops and never ever had put a system it before. The home owner was very upset when everything needed to be redone. These contractors are giving geothermal a bad name.
I am a Geothermal Contractor Northwest Geothermal Inc. In Northwest Indiana I used to sell and service furnaces about 12 years ago. We serviced geothermal systems during those years also. Well I decided to install a complete geothermal system into my new home. WOW! The saving was great and the Comfort was awesome. I was warm at a low cost. So after a full year of quality geothermal training, yes I said a full year it takes for quality training. We started installing geothermal systems only. We changed our company name to Northwest Geothermal Inc. and history was changed for the best for us it has now been over 12 years as just a geothermal sales and service company. We complete all of our own loop installations. NO sub-contractors. We have our own Drilling rigs and backhoes. I am a licensed well driller also. My caution to all of you who are thinking of getting into geothermal is do your home work and lots of training. You will here about the typical 150' to 200' ground loops per ton to put into the ground. FORGET IT THERE I S NO SUCH THING AS TYPICAL. If you use this typical thinking you will fail and your loops and they will fail. no question The proper and only way to size a geothermal system for a home and ground loop is to do a manual J load no questions asked. Then put your numbers into your purchased Climate Master geothermal or other software program not some free thing you downloaded off the internet then you are on your way to success and profits. Also the other myth in my opinion is an OPEN LOOP, pump and dump; discharge system what ever you want to call it that it is more efficient to operate and saves the customer more money. Well FORGET IT 95% percent of our service work is on open loop systems. Sure lets put an open loop on the bench and operate the system and have a constant water temp run thru it. Test it, Take a reading. OK now back to reality put it in the field under size piping, very hard water conditions ,lots of iron build up, now the system has iron and other minerals build-up in the walls of the coax coil and is lined. with these issues, now you just lost efficiency! Now the home owner is calling you back 6 months later. Its coming out cold and or my electric bill is sky high because the electric emergency back-up heat strips kicked in. OH NO! Now what ! Time for a service call to clean the heat exchanger with what? No, ice maker cleaner will not work! Well lets use harsh chemicals like muriatic acid, lime away, etc unsafe chemicals and also to mention when putting these chemicals into the unit it void's most manf. Warrantys because when you add these chemicals the copper and cuper nickel coil. Now you just pitted the walls, Okay now your clean and the systems running and its time for you to give the home owner there bill for cleaning, What do you think there are going to say? Well Im not trying to scare any one away from Geothermal but there is a lot of training to become a geothermal installer. My company has produced a Biodegradable Geothermal open loop cleaner called Geothermal Green Clean and it is safe for the equipment and the user with no harsh acids and it can be found at www.GeothermalGreenClean.com . We also have on site training classes. The moral to the stor y is, Im making lots of money servicing other contractor geothermal mistakes. When I get there the consumer is not happy and also to mention the neighbors they told the system does not work! I did not even mention the duct sizing issues. Thats an entire issue that needs to be done correctly, so please do your home work and training .Yes the cost is higher to install geothermal upfront but in most cases I can show the consumer the payback period in writing is around 5 to 6 years and all the tax benefits local, state, federal and up to 75% saving every month using ClimateMaster Geothermal Units as to date we never had a geothermal unit failure or a geothermal loop leak or failure. We are proud and stand behind all our installs. You can be successful with geothermal as long as you dont cut corners. God Bless. Sincerely,
George Kontol Jr. Northwest Geothermal Inc. Wind Power- Solar Energy-Geothermal Drilling DeMotte, In. 46310 219-987-2822 www.NorthwestGeothermal.com www.GeothermalGreenClean.com -------------------------------------
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On 07 Feb 2009 01:35:33 GMT, info_at_NorthwestGeothermal_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (NorthwestGeothermal) left spaces for comments ):

If you expect us to read or comment on your drivel try using a paragraph or two.
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Baloney. Talk to the head of our education department, Mr Stormin-mormon. I don't have a clue as to what hard times you are talking about. Any decently competamt HVAC company is working around the clock. Collections are the only problem to keep cash flow at an even keel. Anyone with any knowledge of finances knows that Groceries, Cosmetics, funerals and HVAC are Depression resistant. Bankers are very happy to finance Geothermal systems or conventional systems when they are crabby about other things.
NorthwestGeothermal wrote:

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I have to agree, except for some of it...
geothermaljones
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wrote:

I realize you do not post here for my benefit, but I would really appreciate your comments on what you disagree with. I am trying to decide how to reduce my heating costs. First is insulating and sealing where the builder did not. But I am trying to lurk here and learn enough that I can make some intelligent decisions and not contract with someone who is incompetent.
Dan
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First, let it be known, his post is a sales pitch for a product that's really not needed by anyone that takes into consideration (and action), proper precautions with install & maintenance up front...
Pump & Dump is a very efficient & practical system, and with a variable speed pump, it's a dream. Using the aforementioned precautions, proper installation, & maintenance & it'll serve as well as any closed system, even w/out his miracle cure...
I also disagree with his comment about a proper Man J calc giving the info you insert into a loopfield software, blah, blah, blah... Man. J is vital for any system.
Using loop sizing software is always helpful, but can never be the sole source for sizing. The software input, & output has to be verified. Many County offices & most well drillers in a given area can confirm the actual makeup of the ground your working on. If a local driller with a history tells me I'm going through 6 water tables in the first 150', I can be assured a shallower well will produce quite nicely. If it's dry sand, I'm going deeper. If it's through an Iron Vein or Granite, I'm reconsidering vertical altogether.
Horizontal works well, but again you have to know your ground. Will drip lines help? Should I trench or bore? Is the frost line 36", 48" 60" more???
How about those pond loops?
Climate Master is a fine midrange piece of equipment, there are better, & there are worse... All Mfgrs will extol their virtues, it's up to the buyer & the installer to get the most out of any of them.
goodluck geothermaljones

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I can see how a controlled freeze could "descale" some of the mineral build up... You & I might give it a try (on our own systems?) but I'd be nervous to suggest it to others. What kind of prefiltration do you have in the feeder line?
I mentioned the variable speed pump simply because it can save a good 25% (or more) in electric consumption. I'm wanting to swap one in soon on my own place, as I've got a 2'rnd +3' tall pressure tank in my mech room, with a variable speed pump, I'll have a "shoe box" sized unit wall mounted, leaving more room for my buffer tank...
I've seen the lawn sprinkler valves used allot. I've got a buddy that threw a chilled water coil on his uncles "summer cabin" furnace. He runs the well water through it when it gets hot, has a sprinkler system in the yard... Cabin cool, grass watered, kids soaked & happy. Of course here in MN (especially the northern regions) our summer cooling hours can be around 250 or so.
geothermaljones
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wrote:

I have been thinking of putting a chilled water coil in my house. There is a spring fairly close to house, but I need to measure the flow and temperature before doing anything rash. A variable speed motor for the furnace blower seems like a better idea than a on/off thermostat.
Thanks to both you and Bipolar Bear for the information.
Dan
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If you've got decent flow & a temp lower than 50dF you should get some decent cooling. Warmer temps & slower flow, well... you'll figure it out. Above 50dF you won't get much & no real dehumidification...
geothermaljones

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wrote:

that. My estimate of the flow is a couple of gallons a minute, but I really need to make a small weir to get a number I really believe in. The weather has not encouraged playing in the water.
I also need to find where to get a heat exchanger designed for chilled water.
Dan
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2 gpm of 55 dF water isn't much, Most mfgrs will give about 1/2-3/4 tons w/that flow. If it's "artesian" & bubbling up on it's own, I wouldn't trust it anyhow, Odds are (& w/my luck) as soon as I connected to it, It'd run dry... You really need a pump to induce flow.
geothermaljones

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Bingo.
None except I sometimes use rope if theres a lot of reddish iron in the domestic end of things.

That's a blanket statement--any domestic sys with std bladder tank can do the same thing...all that's needed here now is to modulate flow rate based on LWT and taking into consideration the initial extraction costs.

Place a klixon at the outlet let out water from the tank closed sys only where the outlet temp is very near freezing.

It works.

Water in my area is appx 51 deg

I think he was looking for actual manufacturer data and to be specific about water coils--though it's outside of my field of experience this MFG seems to come up pretty often :
http://www.firstco.com /
Suggest he root around on that site awhile use keywords search some more if needed usually a few new or used units on ebay if he feels like compiling empirical data.
--


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When I had the well drilled it was sized for the geo as well as domestic, w/larger casing & pump. Variable speed pumps were just hitting the street & my installer wasn't anxious to experiment.
The start & stop of a larger single speed pump via a pressure tank uses a lot more electricity compared to a variable speed pump that ramps up & down maintaining proper flow for either geo, domestic, or both.
When targeting flow rates, I try to get 4 gpm or a delta T across the HP of 15dF... Newer units will rate themselves w/3gpm or even less. I find these rated too low to trust. P&D systems often need higher flow rates to avoid LWT dropping below the (40dF) "freezestat" that locks out the unit.
geothermaljones
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Here there is a 300 gal existing tank with the old school float type air volume control, a 3hp pump the pressure switch setpoints were changed to cut-in at 40 psi and out at 80
Even at a 15 gpm flow rat the pump doesnt cycle off but but perhaps once per hour, not a huge drain the sratup inrush IMO
In order to maintain a more constant pressure at the residence, an additional bladder tank was added having whatever its a flotec about 3 ft x 5 I magine its gives 35 gals reserve for showers toilets etc and is isolated via check valve from the mains supply--this tends to re-fill at the end of the main pressure cycle and thus a pressure of ~ 80 psi is maintained on the domestic side unless someone is wshing a car or some shit.
Hey it works, what can I say.

See above.
Would be nice I agree but lots can be done on the fly depending on what you already have--increasing cutin/out differential and adding a second bladder and check vlve for instance.

Not sure you may be typing too fast, delta of 10 to 15 is a good ballpark, but to rate in gpm then your actual tonnage comes to the forefront.

Let me know HERE and Ill send you a private--this is all fairly simple math--impossible to more heat than exists in the mass flow a basic review is always good.

I think the clixon is usually at 38 /40 so yes--AND if the controls need breaker or stat Y disco then it can indeed be troublesome.
Closed loop is a different aminal, you have a mix that doesnt suddenly turn hard, a slush that undergoes "glass transition" instead --with glycols generally at ~ 40~60 % IIRC theres charts and those temps are like -50 deg dunno ask an ice road trucker.
--


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First off, everybody has to deal with hacks. Fortunately, most of those around here have gone broke and are no longer around.... as far as economic hard times, yeah its been kind of rough for the last 6 months, but I don't know... for my company, Business has made a sharp turnaround. I have targeted the replacement market with different advertising. I have sold 6 new heat pump systems in the last week and a half. and am picking up a deposit check for another one this afternoon. You can sit on your ass and watch the world go by, or you can do something about it. All things come to those who work like hell while they wait.
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Sold 2 more replacement systems.... I like this bidness :-)
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On 07 Feb 2009 01:35:33 GMT, info_at_NorthwestGeothermal_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (NorthwestGeothermal) wrote:

All that drivel to peddle your $240.00 5 gal bucket of snake oil. What some of you kids wont do to advertise. Bubba
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LOL! And I love how he gives a 'god bless' before he tries to fuck you.
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