Maryland Fix or replace existing geothermal unit?

Discussion in 'Quotes and Proposals' started by tangra, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. tangra

    tangra New Member

    Hello all,

    Was wondering if I could get the esteemed members' help on making a decision to fix or replace. Also, am I being overcharged? Thank you very much in advance!

    Have an existing approx. 20 year-old vertical loop geothermal system in Silver Spring, MD. One 4T WaterFurnace unit in the basement and one 3T WaterFurnace unit on the second floor. My January electrical bill skyrocketed to $650, so something was wrong with the geo system. Did maintenance on it last week - 0psi in the loop due to leaking FlowCenter and 0psi of refrigerant in the downstairs unit.

    I am quoted the following prices/options, so wanted to get your opinion.

    1. To replace the motor in your existing geothermal pump center, and to flush and fill, and to check your antifreeze level, you would be looking at a total of $950.00.
    2. To replace your existing coil on the first floor system, which will include reclaiming and recharging the refrigerant, you would be looking at a total of $1,933.
    3. To clean the coil on the second floor system before we can charge the system will be a charge of $325.

    1. Supply and install one Series 5 dual stage 4 ton WaterFurnace geothermal heat pump unit.
    2. Supply and install one Series 5 dual stage 2 ton WaterFurnace geothermal heat pump unit.
    Total for above: $26,490.78 (before Federal, Pepco, etc. rebates)

    1. Supply and install one Series 7 variable speed compressor 4 ton WaterFurnace geothermal heat pump.
    2. Supply and install one Series 7 variable speed compressor 3 ton WaterFurnace geothermal heat pump.
    Sub Total: $34,386.52
    Less WaterFurnace instant rebate (available until May 1, 2016): $4,000.00
    Total for above: $30,386.52 (before Federal, Pepco, etc. rebates)
  2. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Fixing would be cheapest if it stays fixed.

    I do not do Water Furnace so I have no idea what the costs are. The numbers look high from Cleveland. How are they going to pump water for plan 2 and 3?

  3. tangra

    tangra New Member

    Thanks for the quick reply, Mark! They are going to connect the unit to the existing well loop lines. According to the proposal, they will "Supply and install one variable speed pump center for external loop".
  4. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The two units share the loop field?
  5. tangra

    tangra New Member

    I think there are two separate loops - one for each unit. The proposal for the 2nd floor unit has the same line item "Supply and install one single flow pump center for external loop"
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
  6. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    New versus old:

    My general thought, once the units are over 20 years old and I have to cut into the refrigerant circuit, it becomes time to replace them.

    New 10 year warranty, tax credits, much higher efficiency are all good reasons. A flow center I would fix, or some pipe leakage, or some non refrigerant circuit parts, but now you might be cutting into the refrigerant circuit, put a new coil in, and then still have a leak or a new issue soon after.

    In other words, would you put in $4000 in a 20 year old car you rely on daily, which is only worth $1500, or would you find that it is time to get a new car, with new warranty, greater efficiency, paid in part with a tax credit? I have always regretted hanging onto my cars too long, and putting way too much money into them when they started to break down too much.

    The price seems reasonable, we just exchanged a 5 ton 5 series for about $15K with new piping and new flow center.

    The 7 series would be the way to go, since $2K up charge per unit is not even covering the added costs. Make sure it comes with the variable speed flow centers, they alone cost $1000 each more. In addition, the 7 series has the extension boards already installed, and I would always insist on the Symphony remote monitoring and remote control.
    Alternatively, what is wrong with just replacing the downstairs 4 ton unit, if they are indeed are on separate loop fields, and everything checks out ok with the 2 ton unit?
  7. tangra

    tangra New Member

    Doc, really appreciate your insightful comment. You make some really good points, especially the car analogy. I am going to get a few more quotes to see how the prices for new units compare.
  8. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Keep in mind that the worst thing you can do is to get 5 quotes and go with the cheapest one. This is when the car analogy ends. While the same model cars is the same from another dealer, with geo, you have to go with the best installer, not the cheapest one.
    You will appreciate the quality long after you have forgotten the price.
  9. Well unless you see your house like a car, and your wshp like a motor. A good maniac is the difference between 2000 miles and 200,000 miles. weather the motor is new or not. It seam no mater what you spend your hard earned cash on, the pride someone takes in the assembly line always make thing last longer.
  10. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    You get what you are paying for. Should have gotten a better guy at the assembly line. But the better guy is not at the assembly line, because someone else is paying him more somewhere else.
  11. Sometimes you get what you pay for, but their are millions out there trying to get you to pay for nothing. That said peace of mind is priceless, I once paid a mechanic 2x what the dealer quoted to fix a head gasket because the guy has never let me down and the dealership had messed up, scrached, stained the thing and the fixes seamed to cause more problems. I have yet to regret it because all my problems and tows stoped.
    Just because someone has a million dollar shop and can wright a invoice with lots of 0000's doesn't mean he dose good work either. Do your homework, never judge a book by its cover. If it is worth buying it their will be pleased reviews and even more so vise versa. Cheap or expencive.
  12. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    There are also many out there trying to get a lot for nothing, and are offended when the other side kindly declines.

    What would your mechanic have said if you walked in his shop with this attitude. One usually has a million $$$ shop when he does a very good job for people, not when one messes up continuously and tries to get you to pay for nothing.
    You seem to be a very unhappy person, angry or jealous of people who work hard, do a good job, and get rewarded for it.
  13. No I don't make assumption I research, and I find it unfair to assume that because someone is offering a solid Job for less it is because he's not a great installer. Be wiry sure, but if he has some good feed back give him a chance, or ask him why it's cheeper. He may surprise you.

    It sounds like your an established dealer trying to squash out new business and competition so that you can keep your healthy mark up...
  14. Besides that this whole thing started because I thought it was still simular to a macanic and a car... In a way I was agreeing with you, then you went and made it personal...
  15. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Usually people don't do a great job for less. Indeed we are an established dealer, last year we were the largest in NYS, and we would not be there if we don't provide a fair price value to our customers. But I encourage more people to learn about geo, teach and lecture, and help small startups or established HVAC companies to learn to do geothermal well. Right now we are developing with NYS agencies workforce development and quality assurance programs, and I am heading a geothermal research foundation with a goal to improve the field performance of geo systems and reduce the installation costs, and share the results with the public. I just gave a lecture at a geothermal conference last week about how to install more efficient loops at a lower price. An share this information with all the new businesses and competitions.

    So how did you know that I try to squash out new business and competition so I can keep my healthy mark ups? The fact that I am here helping others (but also being selfish trying to learn) might elude to another notion in regards to what I trying to do.

    Which brings up an interesting question: What is our background knowledge in regards to geo? What are you trying to establish here? And what have you contributed?
  16. I haven't I'm just a little town idaho farmer looking to invest in geoexchange myself. Though it isn't even heard of around here, and of the installers I have contacted I either don't trust, or have huge markup. 25k for a no name 1 ton setup seams way to far fetched. I'm out to prove to people around here that it is doable and isn't just for the rich and welthy. So I'm building my own, that's why I'm here, sponging where I can.
  17. Besides your kinda conflictING with your self you say "usually people don't do a great job for less" but the you go on about how you encurage other business and hosting all this free information for what? Like you said my friend nothing is free, theirs always an angle to make money. What's yours?
  18. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Certainly, you need to charge enough to stay in business, and to build up a business further. No money no mission. That does not contradict that one helps others, or that I help moving the knowledge or technology forward. Yes, you can have fun and do good.
    So why don't you move ahead, learn how to do the geo trade, especially the business, when no one does it right in Idaho? Walk the walk, don't talk the talk. Do what you say you can do.
  19. You know I think that's the nicest thing you have said. :) that's defiantly a door that is open, and a vurturally untapped market. Though I would like to first finish my install, then I can push the sale with hard fact from personal experence and see if it's even something I enjoy doing. I love the idea and believe the technology has far to come and the future is solid, really doc that's not a bad idea.
  20. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Now we are talking. I can be nice when people are appreciative of other people's effort to bring value to them, even if they make a profit.

    Keep in mind that the ability to make a profit drives research and development in any given field. It is called Capitalism, which has been shown to give people the highest quality of life (when certain social aspects are included). The opposite is Communism, where all are equal (but some are more equal), but brought lousy quality of live to its people, because no one was incentivized to do and develop anything.

    Look at people like Bill Gates for example, who made many billions of people and made an insane amount of profit on soft ware copies, one could argue $999 profit on a $1000 product.
    But he has helped changing our life to the better like not many others, can you imagine living without computers and software? He and others deserve every penny hey made, especially if they are giving back. Keep in mind that no one takes the money along when they are done with their life, they all leave it behind for others.
    You can spin the same story with Apple, who has a huge mark up on the iphone, but for me and many others it is worth many times its price. As evident what happens when you loose many days can most people live without it then.

    So wether it is a Bill Gates or your friendly geo installer next door, the concept remains the same. And since it is a self regulated market, and enough people see value in the final product, and pay for it, our life will continue to improve.

    So go out there and do it. But if you don't make a profit, you will go broke. You will not create a single job, you will not reduce any carbons in the air, you will not built a million $$$ shop and sustain jobs for construction workers. You will not have contributed anything.

    It is about a system which creates incentives to people to take the initiative. Who knows, you might become a victim of it. Good luck!

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