First, I hope the experts here will take a chance to readthis. I’m in awe of your knowledge ofall things GSHP and I wish I could absorb all I’ve read here, off and on, overthe last 2 years. Seems like thedominant lesson is to go with someone who seems to know what he/she is doing. The story is a bit ugly and started before the house was startedwith the building contractor said he’d only install a GSHP for a $100k upchargeon the house price. Since I’m militaryand was deploying in a week and they already had my $15k non-refundabledeposit, I went with the contractor HVAC setup. So, I have a 1 year old 3500 sq ft (basement not allfinished, but will be) Energy Star home on 3 ½ acres of rolling terrain inNorthern VA, currently heated with an oversized 5 ton propane furnace andequally sized a/c for basement/ground floors and 2 ton ASHP for heating/coolingfor upstairs. I say oversized, as aftera year of fighting with the builder’s HVAC contractor (aka HVAC #1) overexcessive air return howling, including involvement of county code inspectors,said contractor admitted the basement/ground floor unit was oversized using anincorrect (I’d say probably ‘generic’) Manual J as a basis forcalculation. This same HVAC contractor,in an effort to provide an additional source of return air, cut a hole in theside of the propane furnace. AnotherHVAC contractor (aka HVAC#2) identified both the oversized unit issue and notedthe new hole in the propane furnace was probably a code violation due to theclose proximity to the furnace burner and propane water heater. County code inspectors validated the violation. When confronted with the facts, HVAC #1agreed to swap out the current unit for a 4 ton (without changing the a/c, ofcourse). (BTW, everyone who has seen their install job is shocked at how sloppy and unprofessional it is). Since I never wanted the expensive propane system ($375 amonth, on average for propane in the winter, plus electric), I told them Iwanted to explore the GSHP again and would give their GSHP division a shot,with a discount for the work they’d have to do anyway to swap things out. HVAC#1’s quote then: Waterfurnace NDV049G11NT(L/R)0CNA 4 ton unit with EAL-15 Auxheat for basement/ground floor with “inside cube” air handler and FC2-GL flowcenter (not sure on the layout of the quote spread sheet) Waterfurnace NAH026A0501R 2 ton unit with NDZ02610AC Auxheat (?) for upstairs. System includesduct mods, Honeywell 8000 thermostat, control package and a desuperheater. Price for system alone is almost $30k with ahuge $1800 credit for all the work they would have had to do to pull out the 5ton, do ductwork mods and buy/install a 4 ton propane furnace (which seemspretty low). Driller came out andexplained two vertical loops to a depth of 450 ft and associated plumbing toget it to the unit would run another $18k to $22k ($48k - $52k total). HVAC#2 came out and did their own Manual J. HVAC#2’s quote (same folks who found originalissues in HVAC#1’s work): Trane Two Stage Variable Speed Package 3 ton Geothermal HeatPump with Trane 10kw Back Up Electric Heater and Desuperheater Hot Water Assistfor basement/first floor. Trane DigitalProgrammable Touch Screen Thermostat, flowcenter, and State 50 Gallon ElectricWater Heater (as Buffer Tank for Geothermal) Trane Two Stage Split 2 ton Geothermal System withDesuperheater Hot Water Assist, Trane 10kw Heater Package and Trane MatchingVariable Speed Air Handler for upstairs. Also includes a second thermostat, copper lineset and pad for the unit (just like the main to isolate vibration). Second driller also came out and said he’d also run twovertical loops to a depth of about 450 feet and this was included in the overallpackage price under $40k. HVAC#3 sent a friend out who was new to the business todiscuss what I wanted and to take some pictures of the property. I recently discussed the project with the “certified”GEO design engineer who said he really didn’t need a Manual J, as there isenough wiggle room in system size, that he could design it based on the size ofthe house. He says he does nothing butGEO designs (and didn’t have a lot positive to say about HVAC folks that arenew to the market). His company has itsown drill teams and they want to do a horizontal drill, which would, hopefully,wreck a lot less of my yard. His somewhat vague proposal (doesn't seem to want to invest any time in prepping one until I commit to using him), for an overall 7 ton systemis: BOSCH 2013 CGi Series units, two zones,both package units, available if existing furnace vent running to attic regionmay be used to run geothermal piping. Horizontallydrilled loop field, thermal conductive grouting, constructed to design criteriaby GeoConnections LoopLink software for effective performance. Desuperheater hook up to new electric hotwater tank and Honeywell touch screen thermostats. All for only around $53k. I have a follow up conversation scheduled with him, since hemay be a good engineer and just a ‘developing’ salesman. Seems at this point that HVAC#2 is the best choice. I’m assuming HVAC#1 is going to screw me onthe exchange cost (since I already paid them to do a poor job for the 5 ton andthey seem to think that work was only worth $1800 or that the total installedcost of the new 4 ton would be $1800, either way I’m probably getting lowballed). Advice? Observations? Thanks!