Maine Do these quotes seem high to you?

Discussion in 'Quotes and Proposals' started by Thinker, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. Thinker

    Thinker New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    We recently moved to Maine and our new home didn't have central heat installed. Also moving from a state with natural gas we're a little shocked at what's considered typical heating costs here. We currently have two propane floor units made by MPI, a pretty large one in the living room and a small one at the other end of the home in a bedroom. We also have a large wood stove in the basement which is the only heat source for the basement.

    The house was built in 2006 with 6" exterior walls, the walls and attic were insulated with fiberglass, which the house does seem to be pretty well insulated. It is a ranch home with 1350 square feet and approximately 750 square feet of finished basement. The sill spaces in the basement are insulated with fiberglass and the walls in the finished section have foam board insulation behind them. Ideally we would like to heat the whole home but, if we have to sacrifice the unfinished basement we can.

    The quotes we received were for heating the finished basement and the main floor, though one person stated they thought the system would be able to handle the unfinished basement too. With a desuperheater for hot water.

    Two estimates have come back, both for 3 ton systems with a single closed loop well. We have granite ledge approximately 120' down which we were told works well with geothermal because of its density.

    The first estimate was $46,086 and they provided us with a breakdown:

    The heat pump system. This price includes the Modine Geothermal, pad for it, the Desuperheater, the 10kW electric heater, the thermostat, the QT flow center with pump, and the freight charge for shipping it in..$11,039.90
    50 gallon storage tank...........................................$665
    Miscellaneous: plumbing permit, plumbing pipe, valve & fittings and so on..................$991.10
    labor at $90.00 per hour.............................. $ 6,750
    Drilling including 120' of 6" casing......... $13,640 (450 feet deep)
    Excavation.............................................................. $1,100
    Ducting............................................ $10,900

    The second estimate was $37,300 and we would have to buy an electric water heat to be used for the desuperheater. This estimate includes a 580' well, and " A WaterFurnace Dual Capacity 5 Series ND038 (3 Ton) ECM fan and Intelli startDigital Programmable Touchscreen Thermostat (Qty 1)AWL WIFI SymphonySingle pump flow center, Home to be ducted for a single zone. The main floor to be feed from the ceiling down. A duct chase will go through the master closet. The office and basement are to be feed through the partion wall. Allduct work in the attic will be double wrapped"

    Both quotes are taking into account that I will be doing my own electrical work to supply power.

    Are these prices typical? At this rate we're thinking DIY or at least doing the duct work ourselves. Though one of the installers wasn't willing to let us do the labor for the duct work.

    I do realize that duct work has to be sized and designed to work properly so that's why I asked if they would basically design it and just let me do the assembly, sealing, insulating, of it to reduce the cost.

  2. moey

    moey Member

    I would consider other options before adding ductwork to your attic. If I had to do it again theres no way I would put anything in my attic in Maine. If its a small area I would consider a mini split for that room and electric heat to back up supplement it. Double wrapping ductwork still equates to like R-10 to R-15 at best. Insulating round objects is a losing battle you add more insulation and you increase the surface area resulting in more loss. The recommended insulation level in an attic in maine is like R-40 youll never acheive that on your ductwork. The bottom will most likely also be squashed from its own weight resulting in a portion that isn't even insulated. If your roof is at all prone to ice dams youll have a mess with the ductwork in the attic. I live in Maine we are now contemplating a metal roof replacement as we have terrible ice dams from our ductwork in our attic.

    Your estimates dont seem that unreasonable. We were quoted 45K for a 5 ton system closed vertical loop including ductwork insulation. We ended up going with a horizontal loop which that system cost us about 30K. If you have property horizontal loops work just as well.

    Theres other options before adding ductwork in your attic please consider them. Have you considered a hydronic system? That would avoid the attic mess most likely.
  3. moey

    moey Member

    I dont understand if you have a basement why ductwork as to go in the attic. Even if your basement is finished cut some holes and put some ductwork in and pay someone to put drywall back up. Drywall work is relatively cheap and your system will operate better.
  4. Thinker

    Thinker New Member

    About 2/3rds of our basement is completely finished, there's a study, a family room, a center wall, and an area in the ceiling that is lowered from plumbing to a bath and the kitchen. There's no way to discretely run duct work through that space. Plus having vents in the floor means losing floor space and rearranging furniture, and being 1350 sqft there isn't a ton of floor space to start with.

    We're not keen on the idea of it being in the attic but, were told that would be the simplest route and that we should place additional insulation on top of the insulated duct work, either fiberglass batting or one installer said they could use cardboard to make walls along the sides of the duct work and we could blow in insulation around and on top of the ducts. We have a metal roof and don't have trouble with ice jams.

    I'm in the process of sketching a scaled blueprint of our home which I'll post, to give a better idea of the layout of our home.

    We looked into the mini splits but with the winters being so cold here it would end up using the electrical supplemental in the dead of winter and at that point it's just an expensive electric heater. We did think about hydronic, since I'd added a zone to our old home but, we like the idea of central air conditioning.

    We are still bouncing ideas around and haven't completely set in stone what we're going to do but, we are very fond of the idea of central air condition. I'll take some pictures too.
  5. moey

    moey Member

    Your cooling load will be pretty small. Mine is its hard to run the A/C in Maine when it gets down to 50 at night most nights. You might think about a hydronic system for winter heating. And a air handler using the chilled water from the water to water geo system. You would not need many vents given your load in the summer perhaps the less ductwork would offset the cost of the air handler. Just a thought.
  6. Thinker

    Thinker New Member

    The more I think about it Hydronic with an air handler using chilled water does sound like the way to go. I'm going to go finish up my floor plan sketch and take some pictures.
  7. Thinker

    Thinker New Member

    So I finished my sketch of the first floor layout, Sorry the quality isn't the best. I also crunched the numbers for the square footage of each space and was wondering if you count closet space when you do the area for the bedrooms? (ceilings are 8 ft)

    Here's the info:

    Back Bedroom 141.87 SqFt

    Front Bedroom 160.77 SqFt (141.75 without closet)

    Bathroom 45.06 SqFt

    Small hall 38.11 SqFt

    Living Room 269.44 SqFt

    Kitchen / Dining area 302.62 SqFt

    Laundry / Side Entrance 66.79 SqFt

    Master Bedroom 190.43 SqFt (167.01 without closet)

    Master Bath 38.51 SqFt

    Total 1,342.32 SqFt

    I was wondering if anyone could suggest a good online calculator for heat loss calculations and baseboard sizing. I know you want to place the baseboards on exterior walls and under large windows when possible, which will work for every space except for the Kitchen / Dining area since there's cabinet along the exterior wall then double doors. I could place a register along the exterior wall across from the laundry area but once you go past the wall that divides the laundry and the combined kitchen dining those double doors and cabinets happen pretty soon (I'll add a picture). So I guess I'm stuck with interior walls for the baseboards in that space.

    Attached Files:

  8. Thinker

    Thinker New Member

    I was doing some more reading about the hydronic geothermal systems, and read that some people have trouble with them since they don't put out the standard 180 degrees or that the units that are able to do close to that temperate (waterfurnace's 504W11 is able to put out 150 degree water) or that the higher temperatures needed for baseboard is hard on the compressor.

    So now I'm stuck, forced air through the attic has the trouble of insulating the duct work and the expense of the duct work, hot water baseboard has the potential problem of not heating effectively without the higher water temperatures, and the higher temperature ones supposedly strain when running at those temps. Why can't this be easy?
  9. moey

    moey Member

    They sell low temperature baseboard basically its got twice the elements underneath it. Folks often use cast iron radiators as well in retrofits of older homes. You need to find a contractor who is familiar with the water to water systems and baseboards there are a few on this board hopefully they can help. You dont want to become a experiment for a contractor who has never done it before.

    Its not necessary a strain on the compressor its less efficient. They are designed to run at those temps. There are safety measures built in to avoid damaging the compressor.
  10. ChrisJ

    ChrisJ Active Member Forum Leader

    How old is the roof? If the attic is converted to a non vented attic by insulating the roof line, that brings the attic into the conditioned envelope of the house.

    There are cold climate mini splits that can heat down to -15F.
  11. Thinker

    Thinker New Member

    if the low temp baseboard works, we very much like having the ability to zone the house, and I would install the baseboard since I've already worked with baseboard in our past home, to save on cost. That's why I was asking for a heat loss calculator and baseboard calculator, the only frustrating thing I'm finding is that a lot of the baseboard calculators assume 180 degree water.
  12. Stickman

    Stickman Active Member Forum Leader

  13. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    you have the complete wrong idea when approaching geo. What matters is not necessarily what is the easiest for your contractor, but what gives you the best solution in terms of comfort and efficiency. Otherwise you will not be happy!

    Your heat loss is pretty straight forward, this a 2006 house built to certain insulation standards. You will be in the 25-35 kbtu range max for manual J, with internal and external gains reducing that load.

    Radiant: High supply temperatures will kill your efficiency for your geo system, just because a heat pump can now supply 150F degree water does not mean that you have a skilled installer/designer ensuring that 150 F degree water end up at each radiator, and that you should install a radiant distribution system which requires 150 F supply temperatures.

    If A/C is important to you, you need to consider air distribution. Running ducts in uninsulated space should be your very last option. Biting the bullet and doing this right by being creative to get you ductwork in your basement and make sure you put it in right. Even in a basement which is 2/3 finished.

    Sorry for being so frank here, but many things you mentioned are red flags for an efficient and comfortable geo system.
  14. Thinker

    Thinker New Member

    We're thinking that the basement ceiling will just have to come out at this point and we'll just deal with ducting in the finish space as best as we can (either a drop in ceiling will go in after or drywall again) and we'll have to accommodate floor vents with our furniture arrangements. Not thrilled about the concessions but if it will make for a more efficient system and a slightly easier/ cheaper install, we're willing to bite that bullet.

    Any thoughts on an open loop standing column well vs a closed loop vertical?
  15. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Closed loop vertical, hands down. You don't want to expose your system to open source water unless you have to.
  16. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    That is too much money. I'd look into conventional split system. No duct work needed. You'd have to stay there for a long time to see any payback on that install.

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