Iowa 25+Yr old WaterFurnace fix or buy new?

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Delta6326, Mar 17, 2018.


Should I keep fixing the old unit or upgrade to WF 7 Series?

  1. Keep fixing her

    0 vote(s)
  2. Upgrade to 7 Series

    2 vote(s)
  3. Other, please comment why

    0 vote(s)
  1. Delta6326

    Delta6326 New Member

    Hello we have a old 25+ Yr unit that we've been trying to keep running for the last few years and it's now giving us "Low Pressure Warning". Spent several thousands of dollars to fix it every couple years. Had to replace blower motor and fix R-22 leaks etc.

    We are trying to decide if it would be cheaper in the long run 5-15 years to just upgrade the unit to a 7 Series 5ton? Around 3,500 Sq/ft
    1. What is the cost of a new unit? Annual Utilities $4,500 ish. Winter $430-700 month, Summer $300-450, when it's nice the Geo is off so Spring/Fall Can have price around $220-300 depending on how many days it's actually on.

    Our current unit is a WaterFurnace Model: ATV070A110CRT Serial: JM7796. HTG: 77.0 CLG: 75.0 MBTUH
    Sadly we don't know the size or type of ground loop, we are not the original home owners and the installation company does not have records of it. With the way the land is we are guessing Vertical Loop.

    2. Will we need to drain the current loop and refill it we get a new unit?
    3. Would we be able to figure out the length of the loop by measuring the gallons extracted from the loop?

    It has Aux Heat, DHW and connected to Zone Perfect Control Center 3 Zones. DHW is currently off as service tech said it was causing to much stress.

    Thank You for any input!
    Possible 30% Tax credit
    and $3,000 Rebate from MidAmerican Energy. Central Iowa


    Added some pic's hope it helps. In Spoiler

    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  2. fishinfool145

    fishinfool145 New Member

    I'm interested in following your post. We just purchased a 3800sqf house in northeast Tenn. We currently have gas heat in our old house and we were a little surprised to see that our winter electric bills have been around $200 and we weren't even there, and the thermostat was set at 60 degrees. I'm afraid to see what it will be when we move in.

    Ours in the new house is a Waterfurnace series 2, and based on all reviews I see on Geo systems, I'm supposed to be saving buckets of money compared to a standard heat pump.

    So, I was wondering if a newer (series 7) would be significantly more efficient given the twenty years of technology advances. Maybe I need to get used to winter electric bills that look like our current electric summer cooling prices with average daily temps @ 100 degrees
  3. Kone

    Kone New Member

    I had similar decision with my 21 yo WF last year and decided to replace, rolling dice the Fed tax credit would be re-enacted and retroactive. Came up 7.

    Went with Carrier for better overall price and features but had I known the tax credit was a sure thing I would have gone WF as my previous WF was nearly flawless. Quick off top of my head bills are higher this first heating season w the Carrier (Very dependent on many factors so more analysis is needed).

    When we built house Geo was kinda new so only had a rough drawing of our trenches and line measurements which contractor used to size, etc.

    End of lifespan and all those rebates and credits? No brainer to me. Good luck.
  4. Emily

    Emily New Member

    What I've gathered is that the big cost savings you read about with geo come when people are switching from oil or propane, which are very expensive fuels. Natural gas is dirt cheap at the moment so the savings are a lot more marginal.

    If the system is running optimally, it will probably still run almost all day, but the vast majority of that should be at something minimal like 1.1 kW per hour. Only a short proportion of the time should it be drawing its full input which could be in the neighborhood of 4.3 kW per hour.

    Where I live, on a cold day I pay about $9-10/day for gas and $2/day for electricity to heat my home. After I switch to geo I anticipate I'll be spending $4-5/day on electricity for heat alone, but $0 on gas heating. I'll still come out ahead but my electric bills will probably increase by about 50% overall (heating is about half my winter electric bill).

    If something isn't working right and my pump is drawing 4.3 kW all day instead of 1.1 kW all day, those savings quickly get eaten up.

    Meanwhile people on propane and oil heat are likely paying closer to $20-25/day for enough fuel to heat their homes on a cold day. Doubling or even tripling or quadrupling the $2 electric cost barely registers for them when the huge fuel costs are cut out.

    That said, take a look at the World Bank's natural gas price forecast, they are predicting US domestic NG prices to double by 2030 - well within the lifetime of an HVAC system purchased today. It's around that time that electricity prices are expected to decouple from gas and oil prices as renewables hit a tipping point in the energy mix. The continuation of current trends towards lower solar and wind prices will continue and as they make up a larger share of electric generation their falling prices will offset skyrocketing fossil fuel costs and lead to a net stabilization of electric rates.

    Your savings may be modest for the first 10 years switching from gas to geo, but if things go as forecast, in the latter half of your equipment's life it will really be paying for itself over and over.
  5. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

  6. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I updated the above link with new data. Might help.

    Attached Files:

    Delta6326 likes this.
  7. Delta6326

    Delta6326 New Member

    Thanks for the info @docjenser . Sorry for late reply I never received a email notification that people had replied.

    Called local company only one in the area that does WF. The guy came out and gave us a quote. Funny thing is he came out here and said I remember this house from 25 years ago, this was his first unit he had ever put in and they installed during a blizzard! He was glad it was still going, but said they run things differently now to make them work easier. He was nice enough and helped locate our loops for us! He said the builder had them done before he arrived so he never knew exactly where they ran them(Also said the builder was terrible at their job). Turn's out it follows our driveway and it's way longer than we thought they would be, he found for sure 5 loops (thinks their is a 6th one though) about 2ft apart they go out about 600ish ft total around 6,000-7200ft. He did mention that now day's they like to add a soaker hose with the loops to add moisture into the soil if it gets dry out claims it helps efficiency especially when going into winter.

    We got the quote around $19,000 and thought it seemed high, but maybe someone can explain why a new unit would cost so much, I was expecting around 8-10k.
    I did talk to my cousin and he said he might be able to get one for me at a much lower price as he installs hvac for large project's (schools etc.), but I would still need someone to install it and didn't know if warranty would still be good? Has anyone ever done this?

    I attached a pic of what needs to be installed/done, old unit is a 7 ton, and Grundfos 26-99.


  8. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    You were quoted a 7 series, which is the variable speed equipment by Waterfurnce, and the most expensive unit out there. That unit alone has a $18K list price. Plus you have the flow center, the emergency heater, the desuperheater (hot water generator), the performance monitoring, the zone controllers, a touchscreen thermostat, and new ductwork around the heat pump. This is just material. How would you expect this to be around $8-10K, which is way below just the material at cost.

    Now someone has to put everything in, pay for the labor, pay for his overhead, and make a small profit. Not sure why this is perceived as high. I certainly would have not done it for $19K, I would have charged you more.

    "I did talk to my cousin and he said he might be able to get one for me at a much lower price as he installs hvac for large project's (schools etc.), but I would still need someone to install it and didn't know if warranty would still be good?"
    So you know someone, who says he can do it much cheaper (but certainly very different equipment), because he installs conventional HVAC in commercial applications, but really has no idea how to put it in, or to get you the rebates or qualify you for the tax credits, so you are on your own after you got the cheap equipment.....
    And this sounds like the beginning of a geo horror story......

    The only consideration you might want to discuss is the usage of the dual pump flow center. It depends on what pipe you have in the ground, but the combination of a dual stage flow center, which contains a 26-99 constant speed pump, and a variable speed pump has been shown to be very inefficient . Tell you installer to consider a single pump flow center, even if it reduces the max flow through the heat pump.
  9. moey

    moey Member

    Actually the quote seems fairly reasonable. The rebates are a tax credit so the qualifications are not like some state rebates where you need to have a licensed state approved installer.

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