Geothermal Costs

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

  1. sunnyflies

    sunnyflies Member Forum Leader

    There certainly has to be a lot of "slop" in the prices

    Absolutely. There is no possible way the same brand name unit and model # can cost thousands more in my area than in Ohio, upstate NY, and Penn - in one case ten thousand dollars more.

    It's definitely excessive mark up. Clearly, installers in those other places are making a profit or they wouldn't be doing those jobs.

    Bluecuda: "Cost does matter. Comfort matters. Efficiency matters. It all matters to me. I want to feel like I have a system that's going to work efficiently, keep my home and more importantly family comfortable and warm in the winter, and I don't want to spend $50k to do it. When I see bids $20k apart in price for the exact same setup, it leads me to believe that there is a LOT of slop in some of these bids."

    My sentiments entirely. I, too, will have a geo system. It will be expensive, far more than a fossil fuel one. I have always known that, but, I want to pay a fair price for it, not a King's ransom. While I do understand the need to make a reasonable profit, I resent gouging.
  2. gabby

    gabby Member Industry Professional Forum Leader


    I appreciate you guys taking the time to indulge me and respond back to my neurosis.

    It is not a case of neurosis. I can tell you from personal experience that there are many out there who know little, proclaim much, and disappear after a few years. I have bids from $64K to $28K for the same system with a mixture of horizontal loops and vertical loops. They can't agree on the manual J numbers so I ran them myself. I have quotes for 5 wells to 8 wells, all at three hundred feet. I have quotes for horizontal loops of 6800 feet to 13,800 feet using 1" HDPE.

    The guys on this site have given me the background to ask important questions so I can separate the 3 day wonders from those who know what they are doing.
  3. sunnyflies

    sunnyflies Member Forum Leader

    Gabby, I think we must be in the same boat - and without oars at times.

    I have quotes of from 3 to 6 1/2 tons for my house and from one to three 300' ground loops, if they aren't pushing for open loops which won't work with my hard, acidy water. Manuel J reports either are non existant, or differ. One came from an engineer with all the wrong square footages. A well driller is pushing for me to use a retired engineer friend of his who when he came just about knocked me over with his bad breath, spent about ten minutes in my house waving his arms around, took no measurements and left promising to send me a quote. Ugh. :(

    So annoying.
  4. gseti

    gseti New Member

    4 dollars a foot is probably drilling only, you will need to supply the rest. Ask them how much to loop it, grout it and run the loops to the building.
  5. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The differance emerging in my market is newbie vs. i don't have a clue. We have discussed this to death previously, but it is back. The people who do not know either do not know or add outrageous cya monies. The people who do know are busy and can not give timely responses or quotes to people who want them "now" Which pushes them to the people who do not know.
    It is economics, demand is starting to outwiegh supply. That being said we just lowered our prices to 7.50 per foot all inclusive.:D:D:D
  6. gabby

    gabby Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    So how far is it from Delaware to Houston? LOL.
    I found a loop person who quoted $6.50 a foot with me supplying the pipe, he supplies the thermal grout. He does vertical loops for a number of GEO contractors. The kicker is he wants to do all the fusion welding and pressure testing. That tells me he wants to be sure when he walks away, his part is up to the task.....
  7. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    how far, how much?


    I hear your pain.

    I paid $2,800.00 six years ago to get a backhaul from the Houston area to Delaware. Carrying two duece and 1/2's and a m37. I am estimating that price has more than quadruppled.
    My analysis it is toooooo faaaarrrr. lol

    Keep us posted
  8. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Keep on trucking.

    what could they have in TX you would want in Delaware?

    This thread is about costs.

    I do not charge enough for what I know.

    I learned that here. I have been doing this since the late 70s and nothing I have ever done has been short looped. I have never had an unhapply client.

    I may have buried to many miles of pipe, but I think not.

    I am an older hippy with memories of a guy in france heating his home with his compost heap. It was true. It was in the Mother Earth News, founded by an old friend Jon Shuttlecock in Madison, OH. Jon did his thing then sold the goose.

    If I had a goose to sell none of you would be typing with me.
  9. CRE10

    CRE10 Member

    I think a lot of the prices have to deal with the knowledge and intelligence that the installer has or lacks. In my area I get to see all kinds of geo bids for various projects. I know which guys are good and which are not. This is not the case for everywhere but for my area...typically the guys that are very knowledgeable and experienced have more of a middle of the pack type or lower bid because the job comes easy to them and they do a lot of them. The guys that don't know much or aren't very good have to stress through, scramble around a lot more to get the job done, and struggle through it therefore they charge a lot more. Case and point one of the best guys in the area bid a lake home with vertical wells 12k cheaper than another group of guys that really aren't good installers at all. Another thing is that well drillers here are few and far between so they can charge what they please since they have a huge demand with not much competition.
  10. gabby

    gabby Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

  11. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader


    Thanks Gabby, I misread the TX to Delaware line.

    The goose I was reffering to was the one that laid golden eggs.
  12. gabby

    gabby Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    It's probably lying under the money tree that disappeared from my back yard.
  13. Bluecuda

    Bluecuda New Member

    I'd buy that for a dollar

    I'd buy a money tree and a goose that laid golden eggs for a dollar...

    Back on 'topic', but when we're talking about the cost for geothermal, how much more expensive is the equipment compared to conventional? Not including loop costs, installation of the loop, ect... Just for the geothermal heat pumps? Are they 10% higher? 20? 50?

    I'm really just interested more in a frame of reference to make heads or tails of the quotes I'm getting.
  14. Waukman

    Waukman Member

    As one data point, I had a quote for installing a gas furnace and it was $9000.00. The geo was $31,000. Both had to install new ductwork, etc. The loop side of the geo project was $7500.00. That leaves $23,500. So the difference (not including the loop) was $14,500.
  15. gabby

    gabby Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    EERE Consumer's Guide: Selecting and Installing a Geothermal Heat Pump System

    On average, a geothermal heat pump system costs about $2,500 per ton of capacity, or roughly $7,500 for a 3-ton unit (a typical residential size). ). A system using horizontal ground loops will generally cost less than a system with vertical loops. In comparison, other systems would cost about $4,000 with air conditioning.

    Popular Mechanics:
    Geothermal Heating - Popular Mechanics

    Prices vary regionally, partly because some areas have experienced, well-equipped installers who compete with each other and others don't. In a mature market, you can often have a geothermal system for about $2000 more than a new air-to-air heat pump. In other areas, you could easily pay $4000 more.
    In new construction, where a conventional furnace and air-conditioning package with ductwork would cost $5000 to $6000, a geothermal system would probably run $7000 to $8000. Still, the only way to know for sure is to ask several contractors. Get tight bids that include an estimate of payback.

    Terrasource has DIY kits:
    Distributor of complete geothermal heating and cooling systems /
    A 3 ton system goes for $7500, which includes piping, valves, manifold, and the unit itself. Subtract out the cost of the extras and it looks like $6K should be the cost of the unit.
    I would assume the wholesale cost would be less than $4800, without shipping costs. This would also depend on your area…costs are all over the place.

    A 5 ton approaches $10K, but that's retail for a two stage with a variable air speed fan motor.
  16. sunnyflies

    sunnyflies Member Forum Leader

    My prices for units alone, no wells

    So far, I have two proposals for the units alone, no loops or electric. I will be talking to both again to refine what I need. Neither do loops of any sort, neither has given a manual J, though one is working on one now for me, both have been installing these systems for many years.

    They do seem expensive to me. However, estimates for an oil system plus A/C ran from $9,000 to $22,000 depending on the installer and components (not high end). Furnaces were generally builder's grade.

    1. $14,900 for a:
    Florida Heat Pump ES060 high efficiency 5 ton R410A vertical package
    20 KW back up electric heat package
    programable heat pump thermostat
    condensate pump

    Removal of old oil furnace, all necessary duct changes to connect to existing system, one year parts and labor warranty, 5 years manufacturers heat exchanger warranty

    2.$ 20,500 for a:
    Water Furnace 5 ton Envision with 15 kw backup, connected to existing ductwork
    80 gallon water heater
    Water Furnace Intelezone control system with 3 new zone dampers and new insulated supply and return ductwork to new unit
    - control wiring
    - three programable thermostats
    - SCH80 PVC piping from wells to unit
    - hook up domestic water to new water heater
    - removal of old furnace and existing zone damper system
    - closed loop pumping system, $1200 (loop piping not included)
    Not sure of warranty as was not specified.
  17. Looby

    Looby Member Forum Leader

    Buried PVC loop piping is definite NO-NO. I'm sure some of
    our experienced installers can explain why -- but everything
    I've read says HDPE (or maybe PEX), but not PVC!

    Other than that, the second quote sounds very reasonable.

  18. gabby

    gabby Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    CPVC is very give for soil expansion or contraction, and it doesn't like impaction with rocks during backfill. You want PEX or HDPE 3408 that can hold up to the abrasion of soil movement as Looby stated. You can use a CPVC for a water system if it is housed within a 4" PVC pipe to protect it during backfill and the run is short....local building codes apply.
  19. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader


    I will not come do your home on the isle of long for $65,000 or $5O,000. I might do it for $25,000.00 you dig the holes and do the sheet metal work, I have no liability if you are un happy.

    Please note Mark is nuts, but he always honers his bids. This contatact is good until the first day of spring 2009.

    Send the money to:
  20. sunnyflies

    sunnyflies Member Forum Leader

    Thanks, I will question the PVC and see exactly where he means to use it because he is not doing the wells.

    Neither of the options above includes drilling or the loops themselves. I have one quote of $18 - $20,000 for three 300' closed loops (through sandy soil) from one guy and someone else is coming by tomorrow to give me another.

    Pretty steep prices, I think, when compared to others I keep seeing on this and other forums. That means if I go with #2, the system would easily run over $40,000 for my 2400 sq ft house (which already has duct work) when I include the loops, electric hook up and all the extras.

    I see people asking if their $18,000 proposals are OK for the same set up, and one woman, an engineer, posted her entire system, including all new duct work, for $38,672 completed, up and running. Sigh. :( I have to be able to justify this to my husband and don't want the costs to be run up so high he balks.

    The Florida HP dealer is working up a new proposal which includes a DSH so that the system will qualify for the tax credit.

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