Kansas Geothermal - high bills, loop system sizing, thermostat

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by ecoboost71x, Jun 26, 2015.

  1. ecoboost71x

    ecoboost71x New Member

    I bought a house with existing geo thermal and except for the first 3 months of $70-100 bills, the rest of the months have been brutal - $300-400 a month during winter, spring, and now summer. My bills consumed 2700-3000kWh a month - living alone - 1500sq ft ranch.

    From what I was told, my system is running fine. The temps were measured on the feed/return, etc. I change my air filter monthly with one of the higher rated to filter out allergens, etc.. For the most part, the system is able to maintain temperature in the house except on really cold or hot days.

    I finally figured out the cause to my high energy bills in spring and summer. My heat strip (resistant heat) was on constantly, drawing 20A. The company advised me to pull the white wire out on my tstat and it would shut off. After I pulled it I noticed the resistant heat was off. However, i'm not sure if its going back on again, but my daily consumption is back up again leading me to believe it is. I will go down again tonight and check. I can also tell semi cool-warm air is blowing out the vents and my house is set at 75 and registering 77F.

    My questions are:

    What else can I do to stop the heat from turning on?

    My loop is buried 5ft down. I'm not sure if its big enough, as in the winter, my utilities were also high and constantly on stage 2 or emer heat. What is the recommended size for my sq ft and area (Kansas City) ?

    Are the wifi thermostats worth the cost? I'd like to monitor my energy and also be notified of alerts and set trigger points to catch high consumption before my bill comes at the end of the month and without me watching my meter daily.

    So far I've been very unhappy with the system. While I don't expect 80 a month bills always, paying $300-400 is crazy. My neighbor has the same size house with gas/electric heating/cooling and never has gone over $200 a month with a family of 3. I'm not seeing any cost savings. I understand the heat strip uses a lot of power, but I was assured pulling the wire would keep it off.
  2. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    What does your neighbor pay for gas and electricity. Your electric bill includes your regular house hold consumption plus all your heating and cooling if your neighbors bills add up to 300 or 400 between gas and electricity then you are close. But there are so many factors you would really have to get deeper into it before your bills by themselves are a smoking gun. Try an energy audit.
    I will say that if your resistance heat is coming on in the spring your installer is not super evolved. Try a monitoring system or tstat.
  3. arkie6

    arkie6 Active Member Forum Leader

    If you suspect the electric resistance heat is running when it should not be running, just open the circuit breaker for the heat strips. It should be a 2 pole circuit breaker separate from the 2 pole circuit breaker for the geothermal unit.
  4. Tamar

    Tamar Member Forum Leader

    If the white wire is what controls your back up/emergency heat, then disconnecting it should forever break the circuit that would turn that heat source on. A thermostat basically turns things on or off. You've presumably removed the ability for the thermostat to turn resistance heat on.

    Another contributor to electrical usage is geothermal pumping.

    I don't think "stage 2" (if that is still all geo) should be a big difference from "stage 1". The experts can confirm,but I think most systems are designed to run in stage 2 if you're not in a shoulder season. Maybe it would be worth investigating exactly what "stage 2" means in your installation.

    You will save yourself a lot of grief if you get an onsite second opinion from a true expert. It'll be worth the expense, unless you want to make the time investment of learning the ins and outs of geothermal yourself.
  5. gnick

    gnick New Member

    I have to question your original findings. 20A x 240v = 4.8 kw -- so running 24 hr/day would draw 115 kwh/day or 3450 kwh/mo. That would be in addition to the normal usage. Did the bills for the high months indicate how many kwh you actually used, or did you confirm with daily meter readings? Furthermore, the 4800 watts being added to the air stream would likely have raised the supply air temperature by a noticeable amount. Did you check that as well?

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