Hot tubs and GA Weather

Discussion in 'Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs' started by ZUSU General, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. ZUSU General

    ZUSU General New Member

    im looking into a Geo system to replace my old out of date money pit unit. i am looking for a system i can add a hot tub to in the future and will cool my 2500 sqft house im in center of town with a medium sized lot. some geology here involve the possibility of voids or caverns in my near vicinity, any contractors in the middle GA area post to this thread with contact info ill respond as time permits. i figure a deep loop system will be my only real option tho i really am only guessing. since the difference between a GA summer and a hot tub is only a few degrees (the hot tub is cooler and dryer) i would appreciate any help or if your in the biz then send me a number or contact info. i need info estimates and mostly HELLLLP!!! if possible id like to have this system installed by late june i figure if i plan for the hot tub and decide to do it solar ill end up with a far more robust system for extracting the moisture from my house. thank you for having a place i can post and vent my ignorance in this field. all yours ZUSU General
  2. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    If June is your target commissioning date we better hurry.

    The first thing to do is a heating/cooling load. We need to know how many BTUH we need to move for comfort and then add the needs of the hot tub.

    Since I am a "wet head" my first solution would be a water to water heat pump. I do not know what sort of a system you have and if it is ducted how well sized the duct work is for a heat pump. I like solar thermal, but most times one is looking at a percentage of the total need.

    Being into design and not drilling or digging, I would consult with a local contractor about drilling into caves. There are ways to reduce the foot print of horizontal loops. How big is a medium sized lot? Will the JHA let you install geo?

    At this point we have more questions than answers.

  3. ZUSU General

    ZUSU General New Member

    Mark thank you for your prompt response. ill look into load question, the lot is around 1/3 to 2/3 of an acre im looking for my deed to get exact size, ill also look into a drilling and trenching contractor locally. as far as i know i can put a non potable water source ie a 8 to 10 inch deep well, in if i choose to, idk if thats changed in the last few years so ill investigate that as well.
    im pretty sure the unit installed now is a 5 ton unit, the ducting, i was told, is somewhat over sized for the venting apertures in the house. The house is just shy of 2500 sqft, is a classic ranch style and was built in 1983 and is of brick. its insulated extremely well, the dying unit i have now, does successfully cool the house but the humidity does outstrip its ability to dry the air. ill look into the questions as soon as i can and repost with the info. June is a pie in the sky date i know,i dont know much about the industry except that when i looked into renewables geoheatin/cooling was all over the place. so with the increased tariffs intruding on my planned solar panel system ( which changed the import rates from my panels from china) im now at plan B.since the 6 kw system will now only just barely break even and any less would need replacing before it equals cost, when you include install and maintenance.
    im also looking at a roof mounted helix turbine if any one out there has any info in that direction, to off set what the geo system cant reduce in monthly bills. Yes folks this is a very expensive project and no doubt more complicated than i know, ill need new electrical panels and most likely a new load supporting roof, but its in the budget if i can reduce monthly electrical/heating/cooling bills to my goal of 25% what they are now. the math says i can, tho it may cost 50,000 USD and while my budgets not quite that hefty, the combined tax credits/bill reductions bring it in reach. thank you Mark for your questions and i hope you will continue with suggestions.
  4. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I'm in north Fla, not middle Georgia, but climate is similar.

    I infer you are essentially considering a deep energy retrofit / home energy makeover. Geo may or may not deserve an invitation to the party. In the deep south, the use case for geo is often far less compelling than in colder climates where air source heat pumps are not viable and fossil fuel costs, such as for heating oil or propane, are quite high. As Mark wrote, get a load calc. But better yet, go for a full-on deep energy audit.

    A good deep energy audit will incorporate a room-by-room load calculation. It will include a blower door whole house air infiltration test, which will then inform part of the load calculation. If ductwork is outside the conditioned envelope, such as in a hot attic or uninsulated basement, the audit should include a Duct blaster or similar duct leakage test. The audit will also include use of a flow hood to compare actual room supply air flows to the load calc's design room air flows. If you have hot, cold, or stuffy rooms, now you'll know why.

    The air flow measurements will support an assessment of the duct system and whether the system has sufficient air flow. Delivering rated tonnage and efficiency is highly dependent upon achieving adequate total system air flow.

    The above is just a small part of a comprehensive deep energy audit which will provide decision support across all of a home's 7 to 10+ energy centers:

    1) Envelope - present tonnage needed; feasibility of reducing load by sealing a crawl space, foaming the attic, filming select windows, other weatherization projects.
    2) HVAC system - age, SEER, HSPF, AFUE, actual present performance, air flow, duct leakage, ducts within or without conditioned envelope.
    3) Water heating - present costs, number of full time residents, available fuels and their relative costs; consider heat pump water heater, tankless options, solar thermal, photovoltaic resistance.
    4) Lighting - how much now incandescent...switch to CFL or LED
    5) Laundry - number of loads per week, horizontal vs vertical axis washer, moisture sensing dryer (stay tuned for heat pump clothes dryers)
    6) Refrigeration - age and profile of main kitchen fridge, other units in home - garage, chest, wine coolers, bar, dorm room type. Last home I audited was spending $350 / yr on two fridges.
    7) Computing and media - types of computer and internet gear, TV sets, cable boxes, phantom loads, daily kwh burned by these, options to power down when unneeded.
    8) Pool pumping if present - retrofit two speed or variable speed, adjust daily hours per pool volume, turns needed, climate, and other features such as solar or heat pump heating.
    9) Other significant loads, hot tub, sauna, irrigation pumping, out buildings, etc.

    Bottom line, I strongly recommend a whole-house-as-system approach to energy conservation. Emphasize projects that reduce load, then those that increase efficiency. Beware realistic ROI - new windows might pay back in 80 years, whereas changing out an all-night-on porch light from incandescent to CFL may pay back in as little as 1 week.

    Generation options, such as photovoltaic panels, might pay back faster than a super high end HVAC system (such as geo)
  5. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Curt, as usual, brings a generous helping of good concepts to our design plate. I recommend considering his ideas.

    For now you can look at the manufacturer's data plates to determine what you have now. BTU rates can be just listed on the plate or can be "hidden" in the model number.

    If this system was installed when the home was built, it is reaching the end of it's useful life expectancy. A good reason to push ahead with your plan. One also needs to factor in how well the equipment in the system has been cared for and cleaned.

    What do you have now?

    As Curt mentions you may be better off upgrading without geo.

    A recent retro-fit we did in Avon, OH came in at around your budget and included a 5 ton vertical loop field, done by Yoder Drilling and Geothermal, a water to water heat pump, high velocity cooling and radiant heating. The homeowner installed all of his own radiant delivery and some of the cooling system. We have yet to add any aux/emergency heat as we want to see how the system preforms. The re-model/addition allowed us to do the whole house with foam insulation.

    Dimensions of your yard are of more value than total area. The foot print of the home is also valuable information. In other words can we dig up the yard and bury slinkies?


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