My wife and I are putting together an offer on a 2000 sq ft home on 17
It has an unused underground oil tank (probably required to be slurry
filled and abandoned), and a coal stove for heat. No A/C, although
it's on the north side of a small 'mountain' and very well shaded.
We're thinking of immediately ditching the coal and installing a GSHP
system for both heating and cooling. I'm just starting to learn about
GSHP's and I have a few immediate questions:
1) Since the septic tank is leaking, would there be potential cost
savings in doing one extended excavation and laying the new sand mound
alongside the horizontal closed-loop?
2) Any suggestions how to find a competent geothermal contractor in my
area who will give us good service?
3) How to estimate the difficulty of excavation? (We don't own the
property yet, so our access may be limited). There are very new
houses next door on the same soil type. Does it make sense to track
down the subs who did the excavation there to comment on how costly it
4) With deregulation looming in 2-3 years, it seems we could recoup
the costs in several years. Does anyone have real-world savings
they'd like to share? Is it realistic to expect to recoup the initial
I don't know if costs can be recovered or not. That's why I asked the
question. I'm surprised how negative the tone is here.
Maybe a more informative question would be:
in what situations would geothermal heat pumps be at their best? (As
useful as that website is, they're in the GSHP business so I can't
rely on them to provide realistic comparisons to other systems).
The concept of geo is great. The underground heat source is way
better than air during a lot of the winter particularly in the
northern part of the continent. But geo has a much higher startup
costs and the lack of any volume of them makes services for them rare
and expensive. A decent geo system is probably going to be at least
10 times the cost of a basic hp. You're not going to be installing a
ground loop in the area you replace the septic tank. You're looking
at a couple hundred feet of trench per ton. Without having a clue as
to where you are are or what you're trying to heat I'm guessing you'll
need a more than 1 ton. If you're going to be there the next 25 years
and the thing doesn't break much during that time then you might
eventually hit the break even. Be better if you have a big pond on
your lot that you can use.
Nah...total install...from a horizontal closed loop system...say 5 ton...in
my area are about $10K to $12,500.
Take a conventional system....say high efficiency LP/NG furnace and 13 seer
central air install of about $6 to $7,000 and the difference of about $3 to
$5,000 is what you really need to look at as far as payback on a GT system.
And in most cases and electric rates that payback is anywhere from 5 to 7
Does that include the excavation below the frost line, a mile of tubing,
covering the mess back up after its been pressure tested, the circ pump,
water make-up, water treatment and/or glycol??
For those prices you must be talking about a 2 ton base line system.
By comparison, a 5 ton, high efficiency system(90+ furnace, 16SEER, coil,
etc) in rural South Mississippi will run you around $11,200, for dual fuel
A 5 ton base line system (80+ furnace, 13SEER, coil etc) will run you
He's obviously somewhere with limited fuel choices. He had oil and coil so
that means that no natural gas. Propane is outragous so it would be wrong
to go that route. He's got electricity. Unless he's in the far northern
states a heat pump is probably his best choice. And it's only a 2k sq foot
house so the system should not be all that big unless he has insulation
issues. And if he has insulation issues then that needs to be fixed before
he does anything at all. Insulation is always the best improvement, it
doesn't need maintenance or wear out.
Nope...the geothermals still have a great payback when comparing the
difference in insall costs of the 2 different systems even when the
conventional systems are using natural gas. I'd say its probably a 5 year
payback against propane and a 7 or 8 year against NG.
Either way, a geothermal beats them both.
I have a clue jamesga!!! What he said is right on target. Mr jamesga how
many of these have you installed? How many have you researched on costs?
Mr Homeowner call Water Furnace directly and ask for the Territory Manager
for your area. I am in Eastern PA or I could help you. Don't listen to
these assholes on here that are putting it down. They are uneducated in
this area of expertise. Actually alot of them have no expertise other than
running their big fat mouths!
Sorry sport.... in this neck of the woods, it will cost $10K -$12.5K *JUST*
for the ground loop system, not including the actual heat pump or its
installation. I would really like to find either a track hoe or drilling rig
and crews to do the loops for free. Last time I put together a quote for a
customer that wanted a GSHP, it was gonna be $16K *just* for the ground loop
system.... boring a dozen or so holes for wells was going to cost about the
same. Total price for the entire GSHP system *installed* was going to run
right at $22,000 plus tax.....and that was 6 or 7 years ago. Its gonna be a
lot higher now.
If you can get it done for half of what I can, then knock yourself out....
but.... consider that the ROI on that GSHP just isn't going to be there.
get use to it...thats the way they are here....I wouldn't want many guys
here working on my HVAC thats for sure...there are only probably a couple of
helpful guys here...the rest of them are just bitter HVAC techs that don't
like the fact that most people can do what they can do and probably know
more than they do.
don't believe me?...just wait til you see the responses to this.
It is very realistic to recoup initial costs. But remember, you are not
recouping the ENTIRE cost of the geothermal system...just the difference
between what a GT costs to install and what a conventional AC and gas
furnace would cost to install...because you need to install one or the other
As far as deregulation.....I live in a state that deregulated, and I can
tell you...it isn't anything you want. your costs WILL go up under
deregulation. There hasn't been a state that has seen any savings after
But even if the costs go up...its still cheaper to heat and cool with a GT
system....just won't be as much savings as at first.
Currently it is more than likely that a utility in a regulated state has
incentives to provide a lower rate to electrically heated homes due to the
surplus of load available in the winter. After deregulation that incentive
will go away and your costs will go up.
Keep the projects seperate...
If your installing horizontal loops anywhere near the drain field you'll run
the risk of freezing it up.
I can show you a cabinaet makers shop just north of me that froze it's main
city water line, serving it's sprinkler system,
by running the lops too close to the service.
Besides the dirtdiver doesn't care if he's scooping one 500 ' trench or 5
100' trenches, as long as there not 5 miles apart.
Consult the IGSPHA certified installers page.
Ask the neighbors, ask the county, ask the local well drillers.
They tend to know what the area ground is like down a couple hundred feet.
You'll spend money, & You will save money...
If your design temps for the winter stay above 0dF & the bin data shows less
that 5-10% below, say 25dF an air source HP might be more affordable.
It will still cost more to operate, but you can buy alot of electricity for
the price difference.
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