Looking to quote geothermal in Iowa

Discussion in 'Quotes and Proposals' started by Willeo6709, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. Willeo6709

    Willeo6709 New Member

    I know enough to be dangerous. I know I have one address in the city without a lot of yard that needs heat/ air cond/ water heater anyway and is in a major renovation. I have a couple more locations in the family that cost quite a bit to heat with more real estate available. sq footage runs 2000-2500 and 80% of the stuff inside the building I can do myself. Who is good in southeast Iowa?
     
  2. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    We will need more information. What are you asking? Can geo be added to the home with the small yard?

    Mark
     
  3. Willeo6709

    Willeo6709 New Member

    To start simple, system quote #1 - 115 year old main structure in a major renovation that need heat, a/c, and hot water heater. 2100 sq feet 1.5 story 60 foot x 160 foot lot in town. Vertical well ground loop is about all we have real estate for. The town is primarily a black sand down about 4 feet, then into a fairly course sand that generally does not collapse in shallow excavation( but have never had to go below 6'. Depending on weather, time of year etc one can hit water with a sand point before 20' most places in town. town built on a bend in the river on a "high bank" and I don't know what depth bedrock is. House has a 50 year old Natural gas forced air furnace( wasted) and no a/c. nat gas tank type water heater thats wasted too.

    I can get natural gas 95% forced air, 16 seer 5 ton referigerant a/c, and nat gas tank type hot water heater for $4k ish if I install myself and estimated annual bill in the $2k-3k range,,, figure 200-300 per month average depending on thermostat settings.

    I figure I may be able to get away with a 4 ton geothermal but seeing as the gas furnace is 100k+ btu I am leery of the staying 4 tons when the old furnace is 8+ tons. Temps here normally 0F or above but this last winter we had 2-3 weeks straight of -25F lows and highs below zero, broke a record from 1886.

    I can do about 80% of the install myself, obviously I have to hire someone to do vertical wells, but the rest I have capability of doing. So how does one start on DIY geothermal?
     
  4. Willeo6709

    Willeo6709 New Member

    just found a manual load j calc online and I am no expert at this but it looks like 49,289 cooling( 70 from 98 f) and 115,147 heating btu( using -25 f to 70 f). I am no expert but thats about what I expected.
     
  5. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Have you thought about radiant?

    Mark
     
  6. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    You need to redo your load calculations, geo sized right is not for the peak lows at record winters. Lets say you could shave 20KBTUs off your heat loss calcs, -5F design temp sounds much more realistic in southern iowa. Even that sounds high for a 2100 sqf house. with bait of insulation, you should be looking at a 5 ton system, max...
     
  7. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    "I figure I may be able to get away with a 4 ton geothermal but seeing as the gas furnace is 100k+ btu I am leery of the staying 4 tons when the old furnace is 8+ tons. Temps here normally 0F or above but this last winter we had 2-3 weeks straight of -25F lows and highs below zero, broke a record from 1886."

    Yes if temps are normally 0 or above there is little relavence to the 2-3 weeks of -25F. Unlike furnaces, geo systems are 2 heating units in 1, so the geo is employed to cover the meet of the common load, and the auxiliary to cover the rest. With natural gas available and the need to bore vertically, you are going to have to have to get good numbers to make sure you aren't going in an unfortunate direction.
     
  8. Willeo6709

    Willeo6709 New Member

    So you are telling me I need an auxillary in addition to gshp to heat the place, otherwise I'd have to light the place on fire to keep the pipes from freezing below 0F. The gas fired thats there needs to go, it has serious issues, so if I have to replace it anyway why mess around with all the BS of Geothermal?
     
  9. ChrisJ

    ChrisJ Active Member Forum Leader

    Most gshp's get ordered with electric resistance auxiliary in the cabinet.

    If you have piped natural gas to the house, sometimes it's more cost effective to go with new high efficiency gas furnace, may also depend on your cost of electricity.

    That's what Joe is suggesting you run the numbers.

    Chris
     
  10. Willeo6709

    Willeo6709 New Member

    so 5 tons of cooling would be somewhere in the area of 35 degrees delta T, which is 60 down to like 20-25 then the auxillary makes up the rest is what you are telling me I think. I have never been a fan of electric resistance heat... I would feel much more comfy with natural gas backup in this location. I do have a local contractor supposed to be stopping by. We'll see what the numbers do. I was thinking if you could afford to put in a big enough system one would not need the auxillary, or is that just foolish for Iowa?
     
  11. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    How do you get those numbers? Your current 100KBTU/h furnace is not running 100%, you cannot size a geosystem based on your current gas furnace size. A 5 ton unit should get you 50+KBTU/h, which should get even a leaky house in Iowa warm and cover you down to 5-10F, which is around 97-98% of the entire BTUs you need. Thus your electric resistance need should be anywhere between $80-150. Not worth putting a natural gas furnace in as supplement heat.
     
  12. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Geo is more cost effective when designed to cover the meat of the load. You can design so that you never need auxiliary heat, but it might be 5k more to avoid $100/yr in electricity.
    your numbers are imagined and not a good foundation for decision making. Not wanting to mess around with the "BS" of geo suggests you know less about it than you suggested in your opening comments.
     
    kinglerch likes this.
  13. Willeo6709

    Willeo6709 New Member

    The $6400 question then becomes, how do I figure out estimated operating costs of a new replacement natural gas forced air furnace/ nat gas tank type water heater in comparison to a new gshp correctly sized and be somewhat accurate. I won't have history with the nat gas units I need to replace and I won't have proof of operating costs of geo until I do it. It seems there are no hard answers in gshp - only questions. The simplest and fastest way for me to finish the project is go back with natural gas. However, long term operating costs favor gshp. I don't have 25k to spend, but if I can do alot of the work myself and get it done in the $14k range I think the payback is there with the tax incentives. The problem is that if I hire a gshp contractor and don't do a lot of the work myself I can't do the project in my budget. So are there contractors who only calculate loads and payback periods? or am I stuck learning manual J heatload calcs and just winging the rest as I go? I can go 20 places online and based on square footage alone get some kind of an estimate on regular ac and gas forced air heat equipment, an install guide, and someone to talk to with questions. Geo all I get is non answers so far.......

    This house needs a new furnace of some type and time is passing fast.
     
  14. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Jumping up a furnace size might be $100. Jumping up a geo size with vertical loops might be north of $3,000. That's why the questions. 14k might cover a DIY 3 ton with loops installed by others. That's not what your load suggests. Load calculations can be done remotely, regional conditions make that dicey business as much of the data entry is subjective which is why tour calculations were so high. I can tell you turn key installs in my AO against Nat gas often have ROI 's north of 10 years and for smaller homes it is closer to 15.
    We give you questions in attempts to give you good advice. Other places that size by sq feet simply want you to buy a furnace.
    My DIY website will give you a loose op cost based on sq feet but it would depend on your sqft
     
  15. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    One gets what one buys.

    A free guess is worth what you pay for it.

    A warranty on a guess is worth the same. If the guy/gal is still in business when you need the warranty paper work. I will work farther afield than Joe, but the idea is the same. We need to charge enough to cover our warranty obligations.

    Mark
     
  16. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    If you can't afford to have geo done well, you are better off getting a gas furnace. Cutting corners is a recipe for disaster. Design and execution is key. Geo is like surgery, you can get it done cheaper doing it yourself. But usually it is not turning out well.
     
    Tamar likes this.
  17. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    "My DIY website will give you a loose op cost based on sq feet but it would depend on your sqft"

    ......oops meant cost/kwh.
     

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