I tried to post this in USA, but I could not find any intelligent
response to the issues I brought up. It looks like most of Americans
operate on the "if it ain't broken do not fix it" principle, comes
from proper upbringing and excellent educational system. Please try to
bear with me and my lack of knowledge on the subject as I am not a
specialist in this particular field.
Here is what I have:
1. I have 4000 sq. ft residence in Chicago land with many glass
windows facing west (this helps a lot in the winter and is absolutely
miserable during summer)
2. Two older (10 years) Carrier or Bryant (who cares) A/C units 3 ton
each per floor
3. Two considerably oversized 110000 Input BTU Carrier 80 plus 2
forced air gas heaters
4. Two 50 Gal gas water heaters
5. Well water (private well) bringing very hard water at 53F all year
6. A retention pond outside the residence where I can hopefully
discharge processed water.
Here is the list of known issues which I have to resolve before I
embark on this project:
1. Ensure consistent supply of well water inside the house @ 30-40
2. Provide adequate well water conditioning (can't use chemical water
softener due to prohibitive cost and maintenance) in order to avoid
any scaling and possible damage to extensive future plumbing set up,
heat exchangers, etc.. I heard that there was a new development in
water treatment by Honeywell available only in Europe.
3. Find very efficient water/air and air/air heat exchangers which of
course would be a function of size, material, GPM input and output T.
4. Find very efficient all electrical on-demand hot water boiler, I am
open to all suggestions from your guys because this technology is
light years ahead in Europe.
5. Install proper attic ventilation (Attic Fans)
Here is my plan of revamping the whole set-up: First of all, I am
planning to use water as a main cooling and heating media. Secondly, I
would like to use extensively smart ventilation in order to reduce
heat/cooling load and conserve well water as much as I can (I know
that I have a pretty strong well but still pulling 15-30 GPM to cool a
house is a scary prospect).
While most builders concern is focused on home air tightness and size
of the mechanical systems, proper ventilation of the home is often
overlooked. Also, in terms of indoor air quality and pollution
control, ventilation may be even more important. For instance, in my
house, the only mechanical ventilation systems installed are 3 poorly
made and noisy bathroom fans (two upstairs and one downstairs). These
fans are seldom used for extended periods due to their high noise
level, and are completely inadequate for ensuring proper ventilation
to an entire house.
I am also planning to take the air from solar heated areas of the
house (including the attic) and distribute it all around the house
during the winter time. Obviously, during summer I would like to use
strategically installed exhaust fans to pull very hot and humid air
from those areas of the house were I have high vaulted ceilings.
However in this particular case I am not sure what size heat exhaust
fans I need as well as how to deal with the problem of creating
negative air pressure when system is not running.
I also decided to implement forced air ventilation where I can bring
an ample quantity of fresh outside air to keep my house under
comfortable temperature condition when keeping the windows open is not
really an option due to heavy rain or those situations when open
windows pose some serious security concerns. In addition to forced air
ventilation, I would like to use the same delivery mechanism for
air/air heat exchange instead of water/air as another alternative to
well water when the outside temperature is good enough to completely
shut off the well water supply. I would also like to conserve the
water table whenever it is possible; therefore, if the outside
temperature is close to 50F I would want to use an air/air heat
exchange rather than a water/air one. Obviously, if the temperature
drops below a certain point, such as 40F (I leave the decision of that
optimal temperature to those professionals who are more knowledgeable
than myself), I would have to cut off the air supply and turn on the
water loop to increase energy efficiency of the future unit.
I am also planning to use heat pipe technology, if you are not
familiar with them you can visit their site at
http://www.heatpipe.com/ and learn about their products and technology
behind it. So in very simplified view my future system 1st stage will
consist of a heat pipe and two heat exchanges (water/air and air/air
between them). During the summer months, not even properly designed
water to air heat exchange (I am not talking about various car
evaporators) will be able to produce comfortable dry air in the hot
and humid Chicago climate; therefore, I am sure that I have to add a
dehumidification stage. It looks like I have to design the future
system (2nd stage) with a refrigeration circuit with Freon line being
cooled with the same water leaving water exchange. I want to stress
that I am not at all interested to buy a pre-packaged Water Furnace or
Florida Heat Pump geothermal heat pump because the only time I would
need them is in the winter and I never found a dual system capable of
working in both modes (water or air). Now you probably see all my
reasons why I have not even slightest interest in installing a
Geothermal Heat Pump operating with an Open Loop as it provides me
with no flexibility whatsoever.
So, the real question is, what do I do in winter time as I have a heat
sink coming to my house at 48-53F? Can I use a properly designed
dehumidification stage to reverse it and heat the air? I can leave the
current gas heaters but I hate to do that because local Gas Utility is
simply another monopoly which is charging whatever they want for gas
during the winter season (so, it is a matter of principal if you
will). I really want to get rid of gas utility all together and go
electric. Talking to numerous people, I realize that I have to build
the system without using pre-packaged solution unless somebody here
can direct me to the right people.
And the last wish, I would appreciate any input, constructive
criticism even flame regarding my proposed ideas and design, but
please spare me from any suggestions on other geothermal alternatives,
including closed loop systems as well as any single function
commercially available units.