Geo vs High-eff-gas/AC

Discussion in 'Quotes and Proposals' started by chunkychen, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. chunkychen

    chunkychen New Member

    Hello all,

    I've been going back and forth about whether or not to move forward with the installation of a geothermal system in my home. I have a 3800 sqft home in Ohio that is 8 years old with a 92% efficient gas furnace and an efficient AC. I paid $700 in electric bills over the past year at .11 per kwh and $780 in my heating bill. Admittedly, I don't turn my heat up very high or the AC very low during the winter and summer time. Currently, my system is at 60 degrees when we are not home or asleep and 65 when we are home from 4 PM to 8 PM or so. Last year, we did 56 and 62 and decided that we just couldn't take it anymore. We use space heaters and warm hoodies to stay warm. During summer we go to 78 degrees when we are home. Our system, I suspect has plenty of life left in it. The estimate for installation of a 2-stage waterfurnace system w/ 5 ton capacity in our backyard is likely going to be around $21K before rebate. I am hearing a range of details about the reliability of geothermal systems- some that are >20 years old, some that are endlessly causing problems. We'd probably keep our current furnace and ducts as a back up system and install the water system.

    Admittedly, we would like to be more comfortable in our home and if possible to be more off the grid. We are also strongly considering getting a solar roof to offset the additional electrical costs.

    We are trying to be responsible with both our environment but also our financial resources and so having a reasonable payback period is important to me, especially if the geothermal machine itself lasts about 15 years (which seems what I can expect).

    Can you give me your thoughts? I am not a technical guy so some of the numbers that are bandied about on these forums in terms of troubleshooting terrify me. I am looking for a low maintenance, reliable and cost effective system- just not sure if its that much better than what I currently have.

    thanks for the time and for your advice and expertise!
  2. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    It is all about the installation.

    At 8 years old here in Ohio your home should be well insulated if built to code. If your fuel numbers are annual I would say you are doing well. If they are monthly numbers you need help.

    The installed price you mention seems low to me. It would be digging and machine without much else.

    I typically deal in comfort not ROI. What happens if you turn up the heat or turn down the cooling?

    Your home at 3800 square feet screams zoning to me. It seems like a lot of house to heat and cool if most of it is unoccupied most of the time.

    I would have pushed a comfort system using water and not air. A retro-fit to water is very possible, then you could use solar-thermal instead of PV.

    There are my thoughts.

  3. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Where at in OH? 5 ton is based on what btu loss/gain? I'm with Mark you made the electric bills appear to be annual in which case I wouldn't change a thing.
  4. JFLame

    JFLame Member

    Yes, but look at the temperatures he's been setting his thermostat at. 65 heating? 78 cooling? I personally find those temperatures far from comfortable.

    If he went to 70 for heating and 72 for cooling he'd see a large increase, possibly large enough to make geo worthwhile.

    I'm in somewhat of the same predicament. I've been heating with a wood stove for the past 10 years, so my propane usage is heavily skewed. If you looked at my propane bill you'd say, "that's fantastic, don't change," but it doesn't tell the whole story.
  5. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    At 20K quoted for geo or 14K after tax credits pay back is gonna take awhile even if gas bill doubles.

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