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Geo thermal

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Midalake, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I think you're getting some really bad advice. It really sounds like the guys is talking about an air-source heat pump. These basically stop working when temps get much below freezing.

    If a geo system is properly sized and you have a decent heat source/sink you should never need backup unless something is broken. Our system has electrical resistance backup which is disconnected because we never need it.

    Though we try to heat with wood when we're home we have run out of wood before and our geo system has never failed to keep our house warm even when night time lows drop into the single digits.

    I think you should seek other advice before you make a decision.

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  2. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Its interesting that your main heat source is Geo_thermal and you still heat with wood. With a sizable investment on what is touted by some as the cheapest heat on the planet (Geo) Why would one try to substitute with wood? Something other than cost? Green reasons(renewable) ect?
  3. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Yep, for reasons of sustainability mainly, cost secondarily. We get all our wood for free by scrounging and its renewable unlike the coal that's burned to make my electricity. I like how quiet wood stoves are also. Even a geothermal heat pump makes some noise with the compressors and air handler.

    Our use of wood for heat reaches beyond function as it addresses some deeper primal need that only the glow of a flame can satisfy.

    We didn't install the heat pump in our house, it came with it when we bought it 10 years ago. If I were building a house we'd go with solar as primary heat (whether passive or active) with wood as 1st backup and electrical resistance or propane as 2nd backup. Our need for AC in summer is pretty minimal and if it was a bigger consideration it would move Geothermal to top of that list.
  4. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Its interesting that your main heat source is Geo_thermal and you still heat with wood. With a sizable investment on what is touted by some as the cheapest heat on the planet (Geo) Why would one try to substitute with wood? Something other than cost? Green reasons(renewable) ect?
    =====================
    Yep, for reasons of sustainability mainly, cost secondarily. We get all our wood for free by scrounging and its renewable unlike the coal that’s burned to make my electricity. I like how quiet wood stoves are also. Even a geothermal heat pump makes some noise with the compressors and air handler.

    Our use of wood for heat reaches beyond function as it addresses some deeper primal need that only the glow of a flame can satisfy.

    We didn’t install the heat pump in our house, it came with it when we bought it 10 years ago. If I were building a house we’d go with solar as primary heat (whether passive or active) with wood as 1st backup and electrical resistance or propane as 2nd backup. Our need for AC in summer is pretty minimal and if it was a bigger consideration it would move Geothermal to top of that list. (Quote)

    I know just what you saying,my primary home has no wood fire just whatever project home im rehabbing and i miss the fire when im at home and not at work. Im big on solar as well, its my florida in winter room.(Passive solar room)
  5. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I went to wood for the simple reason I had wood to burn. Really, I had to get rid of it somehow so I mine as well heat my house with it.

    I think wood with geothermal (radiant prefered) is the perfect setup, because its hard to "crank it up" with in-floor radiant from geothermal. Sometimes when you get a chill, its great to light a fire. Why not? Plus, a wood stove + chimney isn't going to set you back more than 5k. Most people nowadays spend that on countertops for crying out loud.
  6. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I think the savings with Geo-THermal are sometimes skewed ,cuz some installers want you to super insulate the house first. SO how much of your saving are coming from the insulation and how much is coming from the Geo? IF a house has enough insulation you can sometimes get your heat load down to 20000 BTUs ,practically heat it with a hair dryer anyway. At that point ALL heating methods become Lo-Cost. So the idea of sinking BIG bucks into Geo at that point has to be RE-calculated for payback time and cost effectiveness. IMO.
  7. CALJREICH

    CALJREICH New Member

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    I'm getting a hair dryer!! LOL One for every room!!!
  8. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Cal Im not criticizing Geo, im a fan of it. I love the concept, and am intrigued by the tech.If you are replacing oil fired thats another +. I have friends that have it. In the right situation i would give it a shot for myself. I kind of look at it like a luxury car. Sure an economy car can get you from point A to point B same as a Rolls Royce can but its just not the same. Geo is the Rolls Royce.
    Im also a fan of electric cars ,and would love to have one as well,but you can not always make a cost effective case for those as well. IF your Geo will pay for itself through coat savings (before it needs to be replaced) then you have the best of both worlds. But it is a fact that a well insulated house has a very small heat(and cooling) load 20-30TH BTUS I have a small house that i rent out with standard insulation and a 50,000BTU boiler thats probably twice what i really need, based on how often it runs on very cold days. THe bottom line is if you have the money,get the Rolls Royce and dont look back.
    Have a Merry Xmas
  9. CALJREICH

    CALJREICH New Member

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    I'm liking the hair dryer , but I hear you. I'm not getting rid of my woodstove for a few years.
  10. gtjp

    gtjp New Member

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    Veg OIL 1000 gal ~ 1800 dollars and a mechanic to maintain
    #2 OIL
    4000 dollars

    Regular GeoThermal, like today's nGas @ ~ 1600 but that includes Hot Water On-Demand 100% Instant

    NE Ohio Gas total billing number ~ $ 11/mcf (not the supplier posting 4-to$5/mcf in the bill
    and the 6 cent electricity is totally billed like 12-13 cents

    Geo T uses 9000 to 9700 KWH in typical 3400 sq ft avg insulated home that required 1000 gal oil # 2.

    SINCE 1982 and still running today.
  11. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    I have a system designed and purchased but not yet installed that is closed pond loop. Here are some observations:

    - Everyone has a different idea of what's expensive. As a 3/4 do it yourselfer, I bought my system and will install it my self. the package cost about $10,000.00 and includes; Tubing for pond loop (precharged with ethanol). Tubing for floor loops. Water Furnace water to water unit. Tetco water to air unit. Prefab manifold with pumps for floor side. Prefab manifold with pumps for pond side. Thermostats. Its been on pallets for a while so total price will be somewhat higher now. Every thing is plug and play. Tubing hooks up like milking a cow (modern version). Electric is plug in to standard outlet. minimal plumbing ( expansion tank, possible tie in to supplemental heat, mixing valves and air purge included in manifolds).

    -Pond is about 1/4 acre and 12' deep in the middle with good flow.

    - Design floor temp. is 81* in 4" slab floors.

    - The water to water unit is sized at about 3/4 of the design heating load to operate efficiently, and the water to air unit will kick in if needed for extra heat and to provide air conditioning.

    Ehouse
  12. Armoured

    Armoured New Member

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    Since you asked for a comparison - a friend installed geotherm in a very nice 4-unit building in SW Ontario. Ground loop. Heat and hot water is 90% from geotherm, with a small natural gas furnace to deal with e.g. hot water loads and in theory back-up (hot water comes first from geotherm but final temperature boost from natural gas, especially during high demand parts of day). House was very well insulated, so a big part of savings is from this. Electric bills have been low, and natural gas usage trivial (note kitchen stoves are all gas).

    His summary was that it would have been a very marginal installation if not used for A/C also - and in that area, A/C is usually needed for a good part of summer. Spreading the capital cost over four (good-sized) units was also key - but for him the digging/sinking of the loops was, as I recall, the largest part of the expense.

    As noted above, lake water at depth should be consistent and stable temperature year round and one geotherm unit won't be large enough to change the temperature in any way that matters, so efficiency won't be hurt as much in cold weather as with an air heat pump.

    Based on this (entirely different) experience, the fact that you probably don't need A/C hurts the economics, so it will come down to how much a lake installation costs. Geotherm might be a nice way to keep base temperature once the other low-hanging fruit has been picked, but a stove or other to supplement might come in very handy. Probably wouldn't be the cheapest way to do things, but that's not the only consideration.

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