Pennsylvania Inherited old Geo system - Need replacement advice

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Drew H, Dec 10, 2018.

  1. Drew H

    Drew H New Member

    Hi all,

    Last spring, we purchased a 2,600 sq ft vacation home in the Poconos that came with a 23 year-old horizontal Command/Aire open loop geo system supplied by our well and dumped back out into another well. It also appears to be connected to the 2 short water heaters in the crawl space. At inspection, we were told the system would need replacing.

    Now, with 18 degree days, the system can't keep up and we're using aux heat just to maintain temp. My November PPL bill was $245 with just weekend use. I called the HVAC company for service and they said we're only getting 27,500 BTUs out of a system that should be putting out 55,000. They said the likely problem was scale on the internal piping but couldn't rule out other issues. Clearly, it's time for a new system. The HVAC company prefers Tranes but also handles Water Furnace systems.

    Separately, our well guy told us the 23 year-old pressure tanks are at end-of-life and need replacing. He said they need to be large (read: "more expensive") because of the large volume of water needed for the geo system. He also said the pump (circa 2005) is running most of the time the furnace is running just to keep up with demand. His suggestion was to look into abandoning geo and going with one of the newer high-efficiency furnaces to cut the replacement costs and lower the excess cost of pumping water. Of course, he's not a geothermal expert.

    So, here are my questions:
    1. Is there any reason I should consider switching from the current open-loop geoexchange system to some other type of heating/cooling? Electric and propane are our only energy options. (Probably not the best question for this forum.)
    2. How much more efficient are the new systems compared to what was state of art 23 years ago?
    3. Will a new well pump cut my electric costs?
    4. Any guesses on how much I should expect to pay for a replacement system? I can't imagine install is complicated because ducts, plumbing, loop are all there.
    5. In the Trane vs. WaterFurnace choice, is there a clear winner?
    6. Can I assume that 55,000 BTU is the right # for the replacement or should the capacity calculations be rerun?
    7. Anything else I need to worry about or ask to be addressed in the bid?
    Thank you for sharing your expertise and insight.
  2. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    Well did you get the coils flushed/cleaned since there probably is scale buildup? Direct replacement of Geo is easy, just order the right configuration and slide the old one out, slide new one in. If you want simplicity go with a regular heat pump. But first try cleaning the buildup. At that age you should replacement anyways.
  3. Drew H

    Drew H New Member

    Thank you for your reply. There are no bypass valves, so we assume it's never been flushed. Agree that replacement is best option. I'm told that parts for this 23 year-old unit are not available, so it's not worth trying to clean 2 decades of scale from it only to find that the compressor is also failing.

    We're replacing the system with a Trane T2GX 5 ton, 2-stage unit with cupronickel exchanger, variable-speed fan, 15kw heat pack and hot-water assist. At $12,890 for a total replacement, it seemed like a decent deal. I really didn't have time to shop around. The tech and sales person seemed to know their way around geo.

    Also, getting new pressure tanks and pump. Suggestions for pump type are welcome. I know they use a lot of electricity.
  4. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    Wow I put mine in for 4k pump and dump, diy. Does the price include installation? Don't go with the variable speed type pumps. They usually do not last very long at all.
  5. Drew H

    Drew H New Member

    Making me feel bad. Yes, install and all the bells and whistles included. Tax rebate cuts the price 30%. Wish I had the time to DIY. Searching around, I couldn't find this unit for sale, but I gotta believe that a high-quality 5-ton, 2-stage package would run $7 or $8k. The rest is if for installation, 5-year labor/10-year parts warrantee and the peace of mind knowing that someone else is responsible.
  6. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    Trane doesn't sell to consumers, at least not that i know of. You can probably find it on Ebay. You should really go with Climatemaster. Even the labor is steep just to replace an existing. I could do it in half a day, another few hours to add the desuperheater. Contractors gotta pay their overhead I suppose.
  7. My understanding is that now Trane geo units are actually manufactured by Waterfurnace. Not exactly the same machine but 95% so.

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