Illinois Buying a house with old geothermal system

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by kel3420, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. kel3420

    kel3420 New Member

    we have a contract on a house that is approx 55 years old. We had previously noticed in the basement utility room a huge duct system with a fan on it, but just in that room, venting into the downstairs family room. When we questioned the current homeowner she told us it used to be used for cooling the walkout basement with the water from many springs on the property, but hasn't been used for many many years, perhaps as long as 30. We just assumed we would take the whole thing out (vent, motor, etc). So yesterday we had our inspection and the whole unit really freaked the inspector out. There is obviously a pit where the water is piped out of and he looked in there, he could see trickling water. There was a piece of wood screwed down and we didn't take that off. He is very concerned about having water in the house. My husband and I aren't so concerned. There is no evidence of flooding anywhere and it's been there since the house is built. Any information anyone could give us would be greatly appreciated.
  2. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    The Basement Utility Room fan blew cool air into the Family Room. Is the Family Room on the First Floor or in the Basement?

    This was a Do It Yourself cooling system that the homeowner installed to use the cooling power of the springs on the property. There was probably a heat exchanger in front of the fan that pulled air through the heat exchanger cooling the air before blowing the cooled air into the Family Room.
    The return water was piped into the Pit.

    This would be a good way to cool the house in the summer until you get around to installing a Geothermal Unit which will increase the cooling power of the springs and add heating for your potential home, by using the springs. I'm assuming there is enough water on the property during all seasons to allow the use of the spring water in a once through water side loop.

    If the property is on several acres you could use a closed water Geothermal loop through the areas where springs are located, assuming the springs can't provide the volume of water needed for an Open Loop Unit of the size you would need based on the house heating & cooling BTU needs.

    Legal Disclaimer:
    Basedonhowcivilizedtheareaselectedtoliveinis,lawsmaybenplacetodictatewhatyoucanandcan'tdoinyourpotentialhome. Anyactionstakenmustofcoursebewithinthelaws&codessetforthtocontrolyouractions.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
  3. kel3420

    kel3420 New Member

    It's in the walkout basement. So the utility room is under ground but the family room is at ground level. So is this trickling water anything to be concerned about? Our thought is that it's been doing this for 50+ years without incident. Just concerned about inspectors reaction.

    Thanks for any information or suggestions. This is all brand new to us.
  4. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Where is the trickle of water coming from?
  5. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    Assuming that during the summer in your area the spring water is at it's lowest volume & flow rate as it is in NE Ohio, there is potential for a much larger amount of water in the Winter & Spring. I would ask the seller through the realtor to disclose in writing, the largest amount of water ever seen flowing in the basement. I have a full blown creek flowing in the woods in the winter from 3 springs that is flowing at a trickle today.

    A large flow of water could slowly wash out the foundation of a home or cause a flood in the basement. An Inspector has seen this over the years, so he has a feel for what could be ahead as the seasons change.

    This reminds me of what my Grandfather did when relocating his home on the hill down to the highway that was being built in the area.
    He had the home moved off of the hill onto a cinder block foundation with a Creek running under the house through the foundation. This was designed so he never had a foundation problem. A cousin burned the house down during a winter heating season.

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