$42,000 quote for 3,000 sq ft northeast home - inflated?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by ciws14, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. ciws14

    ciws14 Member


    A friend of mine lives in the Chicago area and is having a ground loop system installed. They are running the loops around 15' from her water well head. All the loops appeared to be 5-6' deep and 500' loops. 3 of them. The 1-1/4" lines going out to the manifolds are insulated with armaflex until about 15' from the well-head. She is told it will be fine, but I am worried. I've heard of these systems freezing up a great deal of ground. Any thoughts?
  2. TechGromit

    TechGromit Member

    So long as the loops are large enough for the heating load, the system will be fine. Without knowing the heating load, it's impossible to determine weather 500 or 5000 feet of pipe in the ground it enough for the system load. If the house's heating load is too big for the ground loop, it will extract too much heat from the ground and cause ground freeze.
  3. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    15' is enough distance to not be an issue on a residential system - whether or not the ground loop is sufficient.
  4. winspiff

    winspiff New Member

    If anyone could give me advice on the fairness of this quote or the necessity of the proposed equipment, I'd greatly appreciate it.

    We live in the northeast. We have a .868 efficiency Buderus boiler with hydro air. Between 8/08 and 4/09, it used 906 gallons for both heat and domestic hot water (30 gallon tank, 5 people on average). The upstairs was not balanced and air filters not changed. Temperatures were set high (72 setting, probably colder in rooms upstairs; 68 downstairs) and not set back. (We experience 10 degree differences between rooms). We have now installed programmable thermostats, made small energy-efficiency improvements, and had our air handlers serviced. (One thing I just realized is that the Waterfurnace quote I will mention supplies 3 thermostats for some reason.)

    The house has blown-in insulation and 20 inches of fiberglass-wool insulation. There is insulation under the floor as well, and all new energy efficient windows. It is 2 floors, 3,000 sq ft with high (9.3') ceilings. I used a heat loss estimator, which claimed a design loss of 2405, but that is probably wrong. That calculator estimated our oil gallon usage at 1265 gallons (a difference of 359 gallons) without hot water, so does not seem accurate.

    In 2008, our initial geothermal quote was for a system at 31,842. It included 2 split Hydro Heat 026 condensing units C/4; two line sets; electrical wiring; two 340' wells; 4-ton heat exchanger; excavation, flow center; two 2-stage thermostats; two copper line sets. He estimated that we would use 940 gallons of oil for heat that year, not far off (although there was no desuperheater and I do not think he was considering hot water, so this quote may be higher than it appears as our actual oil usage included hot water). He estimated that the cost to run the geothermal system would be $1,454 or about $970 for heat. He mentioned, off-hand, that the existing system would be maintained for back-up.

    When I called the company again more recently, he had left. They'd made the move from Hydro Heat to Waterfurnace. He informed us of a state-wide $2,000 per ton rebate and also came to quote us. When the proposal came through, the estimated cost to run geothermal was $2,200 per year, or $1,497 for heat ($527 more than the previous quote).

    Along with the following quote, he stated, "I am still waiting for the manufacturer of the air handling units to see what savings we can get by replacing your existing ‘A’ coils with a dual purpose heating/cooling hydronic coils and keeping your existing oil system for back up, third stage heating. I have also attached the estimated annual cost of operation... We need to discuss some domestic hot water options, but in the interim I have included an 80 gallon electric hot water heater storage tank in this proposal."

    As quoted:

    Ground Source Heat Pump Equipment
    Supply / Install - One (1) WaterFurnace Envision NSW060R Water to Water split system ground source heat pump with IntelliStart and a de-superheater for supplemental domestic hot water production.

    Supply / Install - Two (2) First Company NAH026 Hydronic Air Handling Units with electric back up heaters.

    WaterFurnace 10-year parts and labor warranty included on WaterFurnace equipment.

    Supply / Install – One (1) B & D Manufacturing dual circuit flow center.

    Supply / Install – One (1) 120 gallon buffer tank for Hydronic system.

    Supply / Install – One (1) 80 gallon electric hot water heater storage tank for domestic hot water, supplemented by de-superheater from geothermal heat pump.

    Supply / Install - Interior piping to connect flow center to GSHP and underground loops.

    Tie into existing sheet metal duct work with modifications as necessary.

    Supply / Install - Wiring as required for connection to existing panel.

    Supply / Install – Three (3) digital programmable thermostats.

    Internal GSHP Work 27,235.00

    Supply / Install - Ground source heat exchanger consisting of Four (4) bore holes, heat exchanger piping, grouting, bore capping and site excavation; including backfilling and rough grading.

    External GSHP Work 14,374.00

    Permits and inspections as required.

    Post job cleanup and removals, including disposal of existing condenser(s) and air handling unit(s) as appropriate.

    Total - Heating and Air Conditioning 41,609.00

    Optional - Equipment
    Supply / Install – One (1) Honeywell Truesteam 12 GPD steam humidifier with Visionpro IAQ. 1,035.00
    Supply / Install – One (1) Trane CleanEffects air cleaner. 1,134.00
  5. Bergy

    Bergy Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Whether or not the cost difference is fair is a moot point. If you do not like it, get other bids. You should always seek several bids for comparison.

  6. geodriller339

    geodriller339 New Member

    We are located in the southern tier of NY. I would be interested in bidding the job depending on the distance from us. 607-467-2110.
  7. geome

    geome Member Forum Leader

    Agreed. I would get lots of quotes, even from installers of the same equipment. Prices can vary, significantly sometimes. Need to find a good installer, but I start the process with price.
  8. sunnyflies

    sunnyflies Member Forum Leader

    Mine cost about the same, except that your electrical costs are included and mine weren't. Definitely get a few more estimates and compare them.

    Be sure to find out how long each company has been installing geothermal systems, then call their references with those systems.
  9. CincyDave

    CincyDave New Member

    I agree, get more quotes.

    In my town, I follow the building permits. On the surface, it seems like the price went up as the tax credits became available.

    Be sure to check on experience. There are a lot of newcomers.

    My installer does a lot of remedial work.
  10. sunnyflies

    sunnyflies Member Forum Leader

    My town does not require a building permit for a geothermal system, although it probably should, so there is no way to see who is putting the most in, or their cost.

    My installer also gets a lot of calls to do remedial work, just like GoingOnSecondYear's.

    Do your homework. Use the list of questions to ask installers - "The Geothermal Shoppers Checklist" at the top of the forum, don't fail to call the installers references and you shouldn't have any problems.

    Good Luck!
  11. winspiff

    winspiff New Member

    Hello there! It definitely seems that the consensus is getting more than one quote.

    Here is what I heard back from the last quote. This seems oversized to me (5 ton, 89%). Please keep in mind that I do not currently have A/C, it would not necessarily be something I would use unless it was 80 degrees. In addition, I definitely don't keep it at 72 in the winter for what it's worth:

    - Is there a budget that you have that you simply cannot exceed? If so we could look at changing the operational parameters and simply use the oil boiler to cover any heating requirements outside of those parameters, and see if we can get into a smaller less costly system.

    - Your load calculations yield 53,916 btu’s/hr heat loss in the winter and 46,061 btu’s/hr heat gain during the summer. Keep in mind this is to maintain 72oF during the winter and 74oF in the summer with extreme temperatures at 0oF and 98oF respectively outside.

    - This system will cover 89% of your worst case heating scenario, at 0oF and all of your cooling requirement. I would suggest leaving the oil fired hydronic coil in the air handlers and use that for supplemental heat when necessary or to the point that oil is no longer more cost effective than the electric back up heaters in the air handling units.

    - For the majority of the year you will not be running at these recovery rates and a smaller system would be sufficient within a different set of operational parameters.

    - The system I quoted is a five ton system. At $0.18/kWhr your annual cost of operation will be $1,723.00. The estimated oil consumption for the heating season is about 872 gallons, at 2.60/gallon is $2,267.00 plus the cost of running a central air conditioning system at approx $873.00 for a total of $3,140.00 for both the heating and cooling seasons.

    - The operating costs are not affected by the de-superheater demands. The de-super heater will be the second priority of the geo system and the extra heat is simply lost if not diverted to storage tank.

    - The cost of producing hot water however will vary on the water heater side... I estimate that you have a first hour requirement of over fifty gallons, or almost twice the volume of the indirect tank you have now. Keep in mind you may have a high first hour rating but have a lesser overall daily volume. The average water usage per person runs from about 50 to 80 gallons per day. The indirect hot water heater connected to your Buderus system is most likely the most cost effective way to continue making hot water but would require the addition of a larger tank. The on demand units although more cost effective in the short term, usually cost more in the long run with maintenance and life expectancy taken into account.

    - The electric water heater is included only because we have not made any firm decision on what to do about your domestic hot water overall.

    - We cannot hook directly into the indirect hot water heater because the relatively warm water from the desuperheater will cause the Buderus unit to signal the desuperheater to stop sending warm water. We need to use a small, approximately 40 gallon buffer tank to mix a some cold water with the desuperheater water before entering the indirect water heater. Using the 40 gallon buffer tank and removing the 80 gallon electric heater will reduce the price by $505.00.

    - The air handler manufacturer has said that we cannot replace the ‘A’ coil with a dual purpose coil, but I don’t buy it. I have requested the dimensions of a dual purpose coil from another manufacturer and I will check them against the ‘box’ size of the air handling unit and let you know if we can do the switch.
  12. winspiff

    winspiff New Member

    A resource I found:

    http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/publications/inf ... ction4.cfm

    Sizing Considerations
    Unlike the outside air, the temperature of the ground remains fairly constant. As a result, the potential output of an EES varies little throughout the winter. Since the EESs output is relatively constant, it can provide almost all the space heating requirement — with enough capacity left to provide hot water heating as an "extra."

    As with air-source heat pump systems, it is not generally a good idea to size an EES to provide all of the heat required by a house. For maximum cost-effectiveness, an EES should be sized to meet 60 to 70 percent of the total maximum "demand load" (the total space heating and water heating requirement). The occasional peak heating load during severe weather conditions can be met by a supplementary heating system. A system sized in this way will in fact supply about 95 percent of the total energy used for space heating and hot water heating.

    EESs with variable speed or capacity are available in two speed compressor configurations. This system can meet all cooling loads and most heating loads on low speed, with high speed required only during high heating loads.

    A variety of sizes of EESs are available to suit the Canadian climate. Units range in size from 0.7 kW to 35 kW (2 400 to 120 000 Btu/h), and include domestic hot water (DHW) options.
  13. Dan and Ada

    Dan and Ada New Member

    I am in Illinois about 20 miles from St Louis, and have 4 quotes in the $30k range from experienced installers. It is about $15k for a 6 ton climatemaster tranquility 27 split system (1 1st floor, 1 2nd floor), $7k for vertical drilling and $7k for labor. Labor seems inflated, but equipment costs are in line with list prices I got from a distributor, although I wonder how much they have climbed with the 30% tax cut.
  14. Dan and Ada

    Dan and Ada New Member

    Just an update. A small company with 20 yrs experience in Geo systems brought me a quote for $21k for a 5 ton system using GEO Comfort. They had right-priced labor and drilling costs, what a difference. Geo Comfort is mostly mid-west, but dependable, as they used to make Water Furnace and now have a group similar to the Amish which make a high quality product. I think we are going with them.
  15. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader


    Just curious what that means?
  16. sunnyflies

    sunnyflies Member Forum Leader

    Just be sure to ask them for a list references for geothermal systems they have installed, then call at least three of those before signing anything. Six would be better to be sure they have the experience you are looking for ... and, the happy customers to prove it.

    Calling references was the most enlightening thing I did. It confirmed that one installer did excellent work, and that more than a few others didn't.

    Please, don't get swayed by price, tempting as it may be. It is not the way to choose a geothermal installer. Experience and happy customers trump price, if you want a system that works right.

    Do your homework and you should be fine.
  17. geodriller339

    geodriller339 New Member

    21K is that for a vertical closed loop, new ducts or existing. Where are you located because that sounds pretty low to me.
  18. Dan and Ada

    Dan and Ada New Member

    That is a vertical closed loop in IL about 20 miles from St Louis. I have 3 customers references very pleased with their GEO systems done by this company. Not sure what else to look for.
  19. nra07

    nra07 New Member

    i believe your quote was highly inflated. we built a home in ne pa two yrs ago. our home is three floors w/ a total of 4500 sq ft. the basement stays a consistent 65 dg because we don't have the ducts open. the upstairs 2000 on the main fl and the 3rd floors 500ft are a consistent comfortable 71 degrees. We purchased our system from morrison in South Central Pa. we had an open system installed.(must have 21 gallons per min-ours is 31) anything slower needs a closed system. We have one pump not two. we pd 18,000 for our system installed. a closed unit would have cost us 27,000. I can tell you that you are being up saled on your needs. I find not one cold spot between the floors. Our bedroom does get warm as it is often closed door with two vents in a small place but otherwise we are very pleased. Get a second quote!!!! we also have spray foam insulation in the ceilings. our electric costs are so minimal compared to a conventional heater we have been excited to get the bills each month. our whole house is completely electric(heat,lights,water, stove...) our bills with a 45% increase of electric rates is still 350.00 a month. That's in North East Pa mind you. our average this winter is in the teens/20's good luck
  20. hardchines

    hardchines Member Forum Leader

    If it really excites you to get your electric bill each month I will send you my bill, you will be ecstatic, no charge. :D

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