Forum Hurting Geo Image ?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Southern Geothermal, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. Southern Geothermal

    Southern Geothermal New Member

    I have been lurking around this forum now for a few weeks and have noticed some things that concern me.

    Seems to be a lot of dissatisfied Geo customers here. Most of them have legitimate complaints. Seems to be mostly units that have been installed incorrectly. I have noticed a lot of DIY wanting Geo but not able or willing to have it installed correctly. I have no problem with people wanting to save some money ,but I just feel like Geo Thermal is not a DIY project regardless of how many Engineering Degrees you have. You need to hire a company with many years of experience to install these systems for maximum efficiency and comfort. I keep reading about so-called reputable contractors. Please do not hire anyone without a complete reference list. A reputable contractor should happily supply you with as many references as you request. After you get the list call the people and ask questions. This is the only way you are going to know if you are hiring the right company.

    People visiting this forum need to remember that the people that have Geo units working properly are not typically going to be on this forum. People are coming to this forum either to learn about Geo or to try and solve an issue with there Geo unit. I am sure for every horror story here, there are many more success story's.

    I am a big advocate for the Geo Industry. We have been installing Geo units for many years with many success story's. We have built our business around Geo. Yes we have problems from time to time, no equipment or contractor is going to be perfect. If we make a mistake we do everything we can to correct the problem. I can assure you if installed correctly these units will do as advertised. I would hate for people visiting one of the most visited sites on the web get the wrong idea about Geo, based on this forum.

    Hope nobody takes any of this the wrong way. But please do your homework for the right contractor, and equipment.

    Just my .02 cents
  2. Waukman

    Waukman Member

    I agree 99.8%.

    It took me 3 years from the time I first started talking to a Geo contractor to the point where I signed the contract. However, I am not sure that a typical end user will get that involved with the details of the install. They are purchasing an turn key product that a 'reasonable person' would expect to keep a house warm.

    When I was looking at replacement of my old system I also looked into gas furnaces. If I had went with gas I would also expect that the installer would give me a complete functioning system that was the correct size for my home.

    No matter what the 'fuel' source, if an installed system failed to keep my house warm, at a reasonable price, I have a problem. Part of this problem comes down to having clearly defined deliverables in the contract but no one does that so it goes back to the 'reasonable person' expectations. In the case of Geo the problem is expensive to solve since the most likely failure point is the loop.

    I think the manufacturers need to get more involved with their resellers and require that contracts carry a minimum requirements list (heat loss calcs, etc)., before the manufacturer will sell them product to the reseller. But that is not going to happen......... even if it is better for everyone involved.....
  3. sateliteman

    sateliteman Member

    forum hurting geo image

    Maybe there is some validity to both posters that posted so far. The Geo systems quotes I saw here sound outrageiously high and beyond the afordability of some of us that want Geo systems. Speaking for myself I wanted a Geo system and the only path for me is a DIY install. I am 64 years old and am too old to go into debt to buy one. I either do a DIY or I don,t do it all. I ask about a problem I have with a geo furnace I bought from Ebay. Instead of anyone trying to give me a little encouragement I got some private emails that ridiculed me about my ebay purchase and a couple post on here that was making jokes about it instead of trying to help. I have done a lot of research and think I can do most of the install, especially the loop field. I am sure I can do a better install of the loopfield than what my daughter got that lives across the road from me. Her geo unit wouldn,t keep thier house warm even with all the uxillary heat and furnace running. Her install was done by a heating contractor that was subcontracted by the builder they bought the home from. I think the heating contractor put in a big enough furnace. After 2 years they had a meeting with engineer from bryant, heating contractor, loop contractor and independant contractor. bryant or heating contractor had a different tech come. There was various mistakes made. Waterheater connected wrong, loop not burried deep enough and also undersized. They also had to use a 24,000 btu kerosene heater to keep warm. So they are limping thru the winter and home builder wants them to go thru another winter to see if its history improves. Thier ground loop is 25 degrees now and keeps house warm but furnace runs continiously. My daughter is thinking of sueing them for the high electric bills, cost of the kerosene and demanding that the loop field be rebuilt bigger and deeper. The builder was about 60 miles away and is a big company that builds houses in many states and insisted in this contractor even though my daughter wanted a local contractor to do the heat install. So who do they sue, The building contractor or the heating contractor? Ps There is a contractor that is on this forum that offered to come to my house to resolve my problems. If I go forward with my DIY install he will be the one that gets whatever paid service calls I may need. So I think it might be good business to promote helping the DIY person that might be able to afford getting a system that might not otherwise be able to afford it. When I wanted a big satelite dish I had a few satelite dealers tell me I couldn,t do it. I proved them wrong and did my own. Now I am glad I did as the younger people don,t even know what a 4DTV or DVB m-peg receiver is or even how to repair or install the dish. :D:Dvic:D:D
  4. embalmed

    embalmed New Member

    I fear C band

    I have a lot of anxiety about purchasing anything. Some of the stories scare me, even more so then the pictures of botched installs on hvac forums. Torn between getting a nice furnace and AC with a new high efficiency water heater, or go hard core and get a geo system...
  5. geo fan

    geo fan Member Forum Leader

    Sorry to here about that

    I read your post ,and only didnt answer because my 4 year old spilled something on the keyboard and now ever other button sticks , so let me bullet point it for you
    -pressure test 400psig 24 hour dry nitro
    -vacume to at least 400 microns
    -charge to label spec ( weigh in )
    I would charge at least 600 ( Im very expensive in a very expensive state )
    material 100-200
    put a schrader in and party on
    They probubly took it out on purpose
    selling refrigerent to an non epa certified person is illegal
  6. sunnyflies

    sunnyflies Member Forum Leader

    I, too, have been made quite uncertain by some of the posts I have read. So much so that I sometimes almost get cold feet; however, I have also read ones from people happy with their systems. I have decided that success seems to boil down to the experience of the installer.

    How many has he put in and for how many years has he been doing it? A dozen units is not enough, nor is a few years. Also, how much do I trust him? Out of six or seven installers who have come to my house so far, I only felt comfortable that two were not just telling me what they thought I wanted to hear or giving me a stock set up. I had a feeling that they didn't really know that much about geo systems.

    I intend to check references and have already done so with one installer, though I will ask to speak with a few more of his customers before buying. The first reference checked out perfectly, the guy is very happy with his four year old system and would clearly put another one in in a heart beat.

    I have noticed that my local power company posts a list of local geo installers who participate in its rebate program - a few of which I would never trust. I know they are basically HVAC guys looking to make an extra buck by throwing in one of these occasionally because they came by to give me proposals for a fossil fuel system - before I got serious about geo - and barely knew anything about geothermal when I questioned them.

    The same wonderful power company offers a list of contractors who are licensed to do home energy audits (blower door tests), but some are really in the hardwood flooring or similar business, according to their company's name. Again, just looking to cash in on a sideline business.

    So, go by your common sense and gut instincts. Talk to as many people as you can to get an idea about who is reputable in your area. I believe have ended up with two names, possibly three.
  7. k0wtz

    k0wtz New Member


    well there is no return on a 30,000.00 system your just kidding yourself. i personally wont consider spending 10k on one as i can heat my house with 800 gal. of propane a year at 2.09 a gal.

    these systems may be the cats meow but from the sad stories im hearing im certainly not in.

  8. sunnyflies

    sunnyflies Member Forum Leader

    My oil bill was $1200 last month.

    Last year I spent $5700 on oil.

    It's time I shake that monkey off my back. Going Geo will not only be green, but I won't be supporting Middle eastern oil interests, and, with what I save over my current system, I will be able to pay myself back for it in 5-7 years. No new oil system, or gas, can do that.

    Yes, it will be expensive. But, I hope to be able to swing it, especially with the help of the new Stimulus Package tax credit of 30%.
  9. Raye

    Raye New Member

    My wife and i knew next to nothing about geo,but when heating oil went to 5 bucks a gallon we were learning pretty fast.Our local plumbing contractor has been in bussiness for 50 years,same family.In the last 25 years they have installed 400 geo systems.We went with the pump and dump system running the excess water to our pond because that is what we could afford.It cost us $8750 installed and works great so far this winter.He had a huge book full of pictures of his geo install jobs including phone numbers and several electric bills from some of the houses.He said they were really backed up installing new geo systems.We bought ours in july and it didn't come in till december.4 days later it was installed and working.
  10. gabby

    gabby Member Industry Professional Forum Leader


    Sorry you feel that way, and in some respect I can appreciate why.
    The site is not set up to assist DIY, per se...not that you can't receive help, but the combo of pieces parts and their interaction is probably beyond the experience of most members. We have an eclectic mix of professionals, techs, and members who try to contribute in whatever way they can. If you ask about some oddball system that they have little or no experience, chances are you get no response because they either don't know, or don't want to risk giving you bad advice. These guys have bent over backwards answering my questions, because like most here, I have conflicting information about a fairly simple system when going to the "Pros" who are suppose to know this stuff like their ABCs. A lot should have their pipe wrenches taken away from them. The simple system comes after you know the size of the unit, and what it takes to make it work, and until then it's just murky water.

    I'm a natural DIY person, mostly by necessity as you find yourself. I can do most anything (no welding), comes from being from a low income family with a large family in my younger years, and being around craftsmen from carpenters to electricians. The key is to know your limitations.
    You learn from those that know, or you do it with those that know so you can do it yourself at a later time. Two heart attacks now have changed what I'm physically capable of doing manually, but I enjoyed the time on my bobcat, moving dirt, trimming trees, clearing peoples driveways...doesn't happen much stamina.

    This geo thing came up because I'm building our first new house...I'll die in it and I want something that is low maintenance that the wife can take care of after I leave....selfish on my part, but will be less of a burden on our kids. Money is tight, retired. The sale of my home has to cover the cost of building the new one. My wife thinks I'm nuts for considering a geo system because of the first estimate we received for a turn key job...ducts, unit, loop field, connected and running. It just made me mad, and more determined to cut the pork out of the bid and find someone who was interested in making a profit, not a killing. Unfortunately, as many here can attest, you don't always get what you pay for, so educate yourself with the help of those who know the particulars so you can determine who knows, from those who think they know.

    Starting with the basics, do a manual J on your home, have your ductwork checked to see if it will accommodate a new system. If yes, then get estimates from people you trust for the job. A few dollars spent with those who can answer the basic questions about your home, puts you in a better position to make an informed purchase, be it DIY or otherwise.

    If you have followed my posts you will note my system has been quoted as being from a 4 to a 6 ton load.....each ton is an exponential cost unless you have an open loop or have a 3/4 acre pond to use as your loop field.

    I talked to a friend on mine in Georgia whose neighbor has a 13 year old geo system...he loves it. I asked him how much...$14000 ( a lot of money for him back then). The transition for the supply and cold air return was redone, the coil loops were made and sunk in a 12' deep pond. You can't get any cheaper closed system than a closed loop pond system. This was $10K above a conventional replacement. The guy who installed it ran a manual J on the house, sized the unit, and figured out the loop field size.
    His highest bill was last month, $168 for a two story, all electric home about the size of what I'm building.

    If you are doing an open loop system then your costs will be dependent on what your well can deliver, plus the pipe to the house, and the cost of the unit plus duct transistions. There are some good books, pdf files from people who sell DIY systems...its on you to determine the size and how well it will work in your home. I'm sure if you have questions they can answer given the facts they need to know to give an answer, you will get all the help you need.

    I don't like BUD dishes (specialize in under 1 meter dishes), but I'm well known across the Americas for switching arrangements using them for multiple sat systems. Our paths have probably crossed more than once....LOL

    Good luck to you on your next adventure.
  11. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I come here to learn

    and that happens.

    Some folks come here to vent, and I find that very acceptable.

    Some folks type without paragraphs, I skip those novellettes.

    Vic, fill the thing up with air at 120 psig for a day and if it is still at 120 a day later, I will drive over and fill it with r-410a or what ever it wants.
  12. Looby

    Looby Member Forum Leader

    Yep, the jump to geo converted my grubby utility room to a pleasant workshop.
    Eliminated the oil furnace, oil tank, and a jungle of pipes. I now have a clean,
    quiet, smoke-free, odor-free, uncluttered space -- with room for a table saw.

  13. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader


    Table saws are bad on air flow.
  14. gabby

    gabby Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    They are also hard on the eyes when you are smoking.
  15. gabby

    gabby Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Retiree's job

    So, after landing my new job as a Wal-Mart greeter, a good find for many retirees, I lasted less than a day....

    About two hours into my first day on the job a very loud, unattractive, mean-acting woman walked into the store with her two kids, yelling obscenities at them all the way through the entrance. As I had been instructed, I said pleasantly, 'Good morning, and welcome to Wal-Mart. Nice children you have there. Are they twins?'

    The ugly woman stopped yelling long enough to say, 'Hell no, they ain't twins. The oldest one's 9, and the other one's 7. Why the hell would you think they're twins? Are you blind, or just stupid?'

    So I replied, 'I'm neither blind nor stupid, Ma'am, I just couldn't believe you got laid twice. Have a good day, and thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart.'

    My supervisor said I probably wasn't cut out for this line of work.

    .....some geo professionals aren't cut out for the line of work they are in, so it is up to you to separate the wheat from the shaft. These guys on this site can help you do that.

    Do I get my beer now?
  16. sateliteman

    sateliteman Member

    come here to learn.

    Mark, I really appreciate your nice encouragement and sincere reply to give me some help. Maybe I still have hope of getting this geo sysrem up and running. I will call you sometime soon to find the requiremrnts of what you need me to do. Have you ever heard of EleryiaFoundry? I worked at a company in Pa that was bought by investers which is part of the eleryia family now. I know I spelled that wrong. We were into windmill parts but that has died recently and over a third of the work force got laid off because of that. So you can see The stimilous package will be good for lots of people that are into the alternitive energy field. :D:DVic:D:D
  17. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader


    I now use auto fill when typing to you.

    You get your beer.

    I would have given you a raise in pay.
  18. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader



    I do what I can do.

    Please call me or drop an email.

    You should be able to put a schrader pin in the system and pump it up with air.

    If it holds we will need to replace/install a 410a dryer and deep vacuum the system for a long while, (think a 12 pack) then fill it up to the specs.
  19. sateliteman

    sateliteman Member

    Buds in the yard

    professionals, techs, and members who try to contribute in whatever way they can. If you ask about some oddball system that they have little or
    Gabby, There is lots of stuff on the BUD. I have 2 BUDs, and many of the LSD,S and enjoy all them. It,s a good hobby. :D:D
  20. Bergy

    Bergy Member Industry Professional Forum Leader


    That might not work. As I understand POE oil, It sucks up moisture faster than a Sham Wow!! A vacuum will not boil the water out of the oil, so the only way to remove the water is to flush the system and replace the oil with new.. I've never had to flush one and have heard that is a royal PIA!!

    Satleliteman, Good luck with this one.

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