Is This a Fair Price???

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Darius, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. Darius

    Darius New Member

    Want to install a Geothermal system (piggyback) onto my existing forced air heat/cool system. Home built in 2001 is roughly 6500 sq ft on three levels (basement, main floor and two 2nd story wings at either end of the home for kids rooms and home office. Original HVAC contractor installed a 3 zone Lennox - 1 zone for the kids upstairs, 1 zone for the kitchen, family room, guest room & 1 zone for the master bedroom & home office. Present system works great but the price of propane is getting out of hand (I don't have access to natural gas). I am on 10 acres in Billiings, MT so space is not a problem for a horizontal loop system. I have received 2 estimates so far, both around $32,000. The 1st bid would install a Waterfurnace system and would cover the entire home. The second bid only covered 2 of the 3 zones (they didn't feel that they could get to the kids wing of the home) and called for a vertical loop system with a system of wells. This seemed silly to me given all of the land I have available. Is the $32,000 bid from the first contractor fair/reasonable given the size of the home (it is large) and the fact that I already have the existing duct work in which they can utilize? I will have to finance most of the price of the system since there is only a one-time $1500 state tax credit for installing a geo system (it usedto be $10,000 prorated over 10 years). Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Andy
  2. TechGromit

    TechGromit Member

    Vertical Loops are much more expensive to install than a horizonal ground loop, if you have the land available there should be no reason to go vertical. The only thing I could think of is if your in an unusually dry area, it's possible that the ground could dry out to the point where the thermal transfer between the ground and the ground loop could be reduced, but this is usually solved with a dip line, it's still way cheaper than a Vertical loop install.

    They may or may not be able to use the existing duct work, Geothermal systems generally require larger duct work. 32k really doesn't sound too bad for a 6,500 sq ft system. Do you know which Waterfurnace your getting? If you spending that kinda money, it would be well worth it to spend an extra 4k for a top of the line system. Basic Waterfurnace systems have a 18 EER rating, the top of the line has 30 EER, go for the better unit.

    $1,500 state rebate sounds pretty good to me, in New Jersey they are offering a whole $100 rebate, big whoop.
  3. Darius

    Darius New Member

    The company that would install the horizontal loop system gave me 3 options:

    3 x 3 ton units by Watefurnace = $32, 890
    3 x 3 ton units by Climate Master = $27, 950
    3 x 3 ton units by Carrier = $29, 950

    Each install would include the Geo unit and matching evaporators to be retrofitted in each system + new Geo condensing units to integrate into the existing system (does not include electrical work) + controls & integration for wiring interface requirements + horizontal trench with the appropriate capacity dug 7' deep

    What would the EER be on the 3 ton unit? Hopefully the 30 EER that you recommended.

    Curiously, they state on the bid "State or Federal rebates amount to $1500 per year for 7 consecutive years giving a very good incentive to the homeowner for geothermal installation." This would total $10,500 and would be fantastic is it is indeed true. I have only been able to find a one time $1500 state tax credit + $500 federal tax credit. I will have look into this a bit more.

    Thanks so much for your assistance! Andy
  4. TechGromit

    TechGromit Member

    EER and COP ratings vary greatly by manufacture and Model. For Water Furnace Models.

    VerSatec 16.2 EER / 3.6 COP
    Premier 18 EER / 3.8 COP
    Envision 30 EER / 5 COP

    If you going thru that kinda of expense, make sure your getting the best model you can afford.
  5. Darius

    Darius New Member

    EER Ratings

    I will ask them if they plan on using the Envision with the 30 EER / 5 COP and if not, what would it cost to upgrade to this.

    The bid included using existing duct work. The home was built in 2001. The company/contractor indicated during the walk through that the existing duct work was sufficient. I know friends with geothermal systems who had oversized ducts installed at buil out for their systems. Is the fact that I have standard sized ducts and not the oversized ducts something to be concerned about (i.e. will this reduce the efficiency of the system or pose some type of problem). Thanks. Andy
  6. Darius

    Darius New Member

    Further Info.

    I spoke with the company/contractor that bid out the Waterfurnace and they indicated that they would be using 3 exterior units that would tie into the existing exterior condensors. The Waterfurnace website shows a model ES with both Dual Capacity & SIngle Speed units. Not certain which one they bid out but the EER of the Dual Capacity is 22.9-25.0 and a COP of 4.4-4.6 during the first stage and a EER of 16.2-18.4 & COP of 3.6-4.0 during the second stage. Does this setup sound sufficient given the size of the home and all? Thanks. Andy
  7. TechGromit

    TechGromit Member

    Outside? Why are they installing them outside, is you basement finished? And they are tying them into existing condensors? I'm assuming you mean evaporator coils inside existing air handler units. Why are they reusing the Air Handlers? Idealy they pair the Air handler to work with the compressor size, while it's completely reasonable to assume that the existing air handlers are the correct size for the new compressors, I'm suprised they are reusing them. If it was me, I would want the entire units in my basement to protect them from the weather. I don't have anything to back my assumption up, but I would assume something out of the elements is going to last a lot longer than something outside.
  8. Darius

    Darius New Member


    Sorry for the delay in responding (out fly fishing for the past several days). I will try to address the (very good) points/questions that you raised as best I can as a Geo newbie.

    *I do have a partially finished basement. The unfinished part houses 2 of the 3 furnaces that are used to heat/cool the home along with a Air Exchanger. There is plenty of room in the furnace room to install an interior unit(s) if need be.

    *They plan on tying into the 3 exterior existing condensors as far as I know. I had indicated that I wanted to "piggyback" on the existing system since it was/is a very good system and I have friends who have installed Geo that have done this. The idea was to have the propane fired furnace kick in when it gets too cold for the Geo to produce an adequte amount of heat (-20 and 40mph winds are not uncommon here in MT during the winter months)

    *Not certain what an air handler is(I assume that it is the interior "furnace" box) is so I will operate under that assumption.

    The WaterFurnace website shows the ES Series and an external unit which I assume they plan on using since I do not see anything else that would approximate what I need. The brochure for the ES Series states: "ES Series splits are designed primarily for outdoor installations, and are connected to an indoor air handler (or fossil fuel furnace) via refrigerant lines and control wiring. ES Series units provide installation flexibility with the capability to be installed with either an air handler or a fossil fuel furnace for a “dual fuel” application.

    Hope this helps. Any additional information/advice would continue to be greatly appreciated. Andy
  9. TechGromit

    TechGromit Member

    I'm a little baffled why so many people insist on keeping there old systems as a "Backup".

    A. Geothermal systems can heat just as well as other heating systems, While there's no instant on where you get hit with a blast of hot air, the gradual heating that geothermal makes can keep you just as warm as traditional heating systems. You just leave the temperature settings alone, since you don't see the same kind of savings you would see from a Gas or oil based heating by turning the heat down at night.

    B. Propane is the least efficent heating system around, high efficency or not.

    The Air handler is the part that the cold air in the winter (or warm air in the summer) flows into via the return ducts. The air moves thru the Evaporator coil which is simular to a car radiator with fins. The air is heated (or cooled in the winter) by the evaporator coil as it passes thru it and a big fan pushes the heated air back into the house via the supply ducts where it enters the rooms thru ducts.

    Yes you basically right, the Furnace is basically the same as a Air handler. The air handler is part of the furnace, it circulates the air thoughout the house, without the furnace to heat up the air it works perfectly fine alone, it just moves air. All the Air handler is, is a big box with a squirrel type cage fan inside it. Throw a Evaporator coil on it and an compressor outside and you have yourself a central air conditioning system, put a reversing valve on the air conditoner and you have a Anti-Air Conditoner that heats instead of cools now.

    The process works exactly like your central air conditoner system in the summer, except instead of using a Gas fire to heat the air in the winter the Evaporator coil is heating the air. The heat is of a more gradual heat, so there's no blast of hot air when the system kicks in. As it gets colder outside, the system will run to keep it warm inside, the system shouldn't have any trouble keeping it warm in the house. Now it may run more often and longer then a gas or oil system when it's really cold outside, but your gaining 3 to 4 units of energy for every unit your using, where as every 10 units of energy your using you get 9 units of heat back with a "High" Efficency oil or gas system. Compare that to 10 units for geothermal, your getting 30 to 40 back in heat, some of the best geothermal systems can even push that number to 50!
  10. Darius

    Darius New Member

    Backup System

    Very interesting. Yeah, the rationale behind going with the "backup" was that if we needed to bring the temp up quickly in the winter this would not work as well/quickly with a Geo system and therefore the propane would kick in to speed things up. However, since I work out of a home office the temp does not ebb & flow (i.e. turn down the thermostat, head out to the office, return home and turn up the thermostat) and should remain fairly constant througout the day so it does not seem necessary to piggyback on the old system. I am going to speak with the contractor/company and have them rebid the system based on an interior retrofit that is independent and does not piggyback on the old system. Thanks so much for the info/insight! Andy

Share This Page