New installation

Discussion in 'Geothermal Heat Pump Testimonials' started by Weymouth, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. Weymouth

    Weymouth New Member

    I bought a home this Summer in Southeast TX that needed a lot. One of which was a new heating/cooling system.

    I had three companies come in and price me traditional air systems. The company I liked the best gave me a price of $7600. That was for everything, new inside and outside unit and all new ducting.

    I was pretty happy with that price.

    Then my mind got to thinking about a show I had seen years ago about Geo (ground source heat pump). I thought I would check it out before I committed to the traditional system.

    I got 3 companies to give me an estimate. All were for a closed loop system since I had the acreage.

    One was for 25-28k. Too high for my liking.

    One was for 22-25k. Still too high to justify the cost.

    The third was for $14,700.

    I was stunned but intrigued by this price. I decided to meet a second time with this man to ask more questions and nail down where he would lay out the loop.

    As we met that Saturday morning the first question I asked was how come his price was so much lower than the other quotes I had received. He said that some companies were ripping people off. It did not have to cost that much.

    His statement was that I needed new ducting and the inside blower either way. Yes the inside units were different, but the work is about the same.

    He said the only big difference in the installation was the geo needed the trenches dug and the loop field laid. He said that he paid about $600 per day for a digger and that it would take less than two days. After that the loop was easy to lay down. He said at his quoted price he made a reasonable profit.

    It made sense. I had already done investigation on this company and they had good reviews out there on the web.

    What he said next brought me to the tipping point. He said “You don’t pay me anything until the system is up and running and the cool air has cooled off your house. You can see it works.”

    That gave me some comfort so I asked for references and they were outstanding references. Of course they would be coming from him, but that combined with my digging (BBB, Angie’s List, Yelp…) had me about to jump.

    When I did the math I was convinced.

    $14700 - $4400 (30% tax credit) = $10300 - Geo System complete install, everything including all new ducts

    $7600 - Conventional system complete install, everything including all new ducts.

    $2700 – The difference between conventional and Geo.

    The difference between the two systems was 2700. I was convinced.

    The system went in the last week of Aug 2013. It has now been running for 1.5 months. I received my first electric bill (whole house is electric) which was for September. It was $79. 00

    During the month of September it was stifling hot here in southern tx. During the beginning of the month I had contractors working on other issues in the home including all new windows and doors. The reason I say that is that at various times during the hot month the doors and windows were open for hours at a time and ins some cases 7-8 hours. The $79.00 electric bill floored me how small it was. Had the new windows been in and the new exterior doors been in I can only imagine that bill shrinking even further.

    The system installed is a 3 ton Bosch SM Series 2 Speed heat pump with hot water generator kit.

    Overall the experience has been a good one. I cannot say there were not issues, there were but they were all resolved.

    My yard still looks beat up, but I know time will fix the damage caused by the trenches.

    The cooling has been tremendous. It still amazes me when I walk into the cool comfortable house and the even cooling hits me. I know the science behind it, but it still amazes me.

    I have not turned on the heat other than to test it at this point. I do look forward to a warm inexpensive first Winter with my new system.

    If you are in southern tx and want a reference to the company I used, drop me a line. They do work all over the area.
     
    KJW and johnny1720 like this.
  2. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Sounds good.

    I will make one comment - up here (Canada), we do not have the access to the "labour" rates I'm guessing are dominant in Southern Texas. So, yes, you will pay more - unless you find an installer in a cash flow issue.
     
  3. Weymouth

    Weymouth New Member

    I think you are implying that I benefited from some help from "south of the border". It is untrue. All work was done by pale Americans.
     
  4. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I'm glad it works well and hope it continues to. I can tell you that a 3 ton with ducts around here is in the low 20's. $14,700 would not keep a company in business long (even with a modest amount of overhead).
     
  5. Weymouth

    Weymouth New Member

    I'm glad it works well and hope it continues to. I can tell you that a 3 ton with ducts around here is in the low 20's. $14,700 would not keep a company in business long (even with a modest amount of overhead).

    I would love to hear your reasoning, or numbers. When my contractor went through the numbers with me he explained pretty much the cost of each stage and the items he needed. The Bosch unit being the most expensive in my installation. He explained that running duct is no big deal and that he gets good prices on them.

    After listening to him be honest with me I came to the rough conclusion that he would make in the area of 5k profit or more on my 3 day installation .

    Is that not enough of a profit for installers? Have they made GEO sound so fantastic that people are prepared to give 10, 15 or 20k in profits to these installers?

    My installer stated that he does traditional and GEO installations and that he was considering going full time GEO. He said he makes good money and he truly believes in it.

    He also said he has been doing them for over 10 years for residential and business and at the time we were talking he was doing a government building install. I'll bet he got the contract because he was reasonable on the profit he must make.
     
    johnny1720 likes this.
  6. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I don't think Chris (Urthbuoy) meant to imply your installer used illegal labor. I may be naive, but I don't see that happening with geo HVAC. Roofers, framers, landscapers, yes. Well, maybe duct guys.

    The cost of doing biz is so much higher up north (Canada, US northeast, midwest, or west coast) than in the rural South. Unions, permits, insurance, tolls, parking, fuel...virtually everything is 2-3x expensive outside the rural South. So a $15k system could easily cost $30k up north with the contractor earning a similar percent margin.

    Flex duct is much cheaper than sheet metal, but metal is required in many areas outside the rural South.

    In North Florida I might be able to do a code min 13 SEER 3 ton heat pump and ductwork for $7600 in a smaller home, say a 3/2 with an easy duct scenario. We deploy flex and ductboard for $250 per outlet (supplies + returns). If your code / your system does not incorporate returns in every bedroom, that saves $

    Geo adds considerably to the equipment wholesale price (perhaps 4x over code min air source, with DSH option). Then there is flow center and loop field.

    One major caveat - I'm hesitant to deploy horizontals in the deep south. Wet sandy soil is a really good conductor of heat, so in theory an inexpensive horizontal loop field should do fine. Every now and then we get a really dry hot summer, causing our wet sandy soil at typical horizontal trench depth to become DRY sandy soil which has disastrously low heat conductivity. Since there is no such thing as "auxiliary backup cooling strips", that condition turns a geo systems into a SEER 7 equivalent energy hog or its just "game over" on high temperature / pressure trips during 100*F afternoons. I hope you don't face that scenario during a summer drought.

    Our verticals need either $3k per ton of closed loop or $15k for two deep wells and a variable speed pump for open loop (virtually any residential tonnage) Either vertical alternative adds big bucks.
     
  7. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Yeh, sorry. My context was way off. I get stuck watching these real estate shows with the misses and I'm like " how the hell can they build and sell that 2500 sq ft house for $125k"?


    I really, as the first to reply, just wanted to put geographic context to the original comment. So somebody else reading it, wouldn't Apply that as universal pricing.

    For the record, I put in a 3-ton drilled, including ducts, system for my dad. So zero profit, pulled in favors, and used a lot of existing stock. Still cost me over 20k. My costs.
     
    Palace GeoThermal likes this.
  8. Weymouth

    Weymouth New Member

    My home is a 3/2 1200 sq ft. Not a big house.

    They dug three 6-7' deep 200' trenches. Each trench has 800' of line, 200' out and back twice. With the additional line to the house this comes to about 2500'. I asked why not use the looped line and he said that he has found through experience that he likes straight lines in this area. The earth here is very hard clay. We've had some Summers with less rain than normal, but we get plenty of rain. This is not the desert.

    The job included removal of old blower and existing 10 year old duct.

    I'm no expert on the equipment. I cannot say the BOSCH units are good/bad, though I do have a 10 year warranty which brings some comfort.

    The traditional system I listed at $7600 was for a 16 SEER Trane unit all duct work. I had quotes for 13 SEER for less but I am staying in this home and wanted
    the most efficient system I could afford.

    I question why two companies quoted over 20k with one close to 30k (similar to the Canada quotes above), yet one company could do it for just under 15k. That makes me wonder about the industry and how much profit they are enjoying installing GEO.
     
  9. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Weymouth, you are not only employing math favorable to your position, you are ignoring information that is pertinant.

    For instance suggesting someone who charges 15K and only has 10K in material makes 5K completely ignores many facets of being in business. My son recently signed on with our company and I told him the number that we started in the hole 7 days a week. This number includes fuel, insurance, facility and vehicle costs staff, electronic and telephonic communications systems and on and on and on. Thousands of dollars in revenue are required each month before I even get paid let alone profit.

    Permit and trade licenses vary, cost of equipment (even wholesale) vary based on distributors cost of doing business and on and on.

    You also failed to mention distinctions between one job and the next i.e. vertical vs horizontal loops, and other features/brands.

    You mentioned no Mexican labor on your job, but did you consider they may still have impact on the cost of labor in your area?

    You also are ignoring regional differences in other requirements. For instance some of my customers require significant electrical upgrades (which usually cost me about $2,500) water heaters, buffer tanks and desuperheaters add to the cost. One municipality charges $500 a well for vertical installs another now hundreds for horizontal permits.

    Even our gasoline in MI is some of the most expensive in the US and territories.

    Since the tax credits, many guys have jumped into the geo biz thinking exactly as you do (if the material costs 10 and I get 15 that's 5K profit). The road to my next job is paved with their bones. Their clients now employ or refer me to others.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013
  10. Weymouth

    Weymouth New Member

    AMI,
    I am not comparing costs down here in TX to any company in any other part of the country or Canada. I understand living anywhere in the North or NE costs can be more for most everything.

    I am comparing the three companies that quoted my job. They all had the same information yet two of them were in the 20-28k range. Neither got the job.

    The company that installed my system has been in business in this area for 28 years. They started doing GEO installs 10 years ago and they have a great reputation in the area. They are currently doing a 60k sq ft GEO job for a government building. I think they are established.

    I understand the economics are different in different areas and different jobs. All three companies knew I was a closed loop system on an acreage property. They ran their load reports and made their quotes. Two didn't get the job, the established company that obviously contains costs got the job.

    Do I wonder about the company that said it would be between 25-28k? Yes. I think it is a bit of price gouging. Can I prove it? No. I can state that I have a system that has been running great and doing its job quietly and efficiently since installed. I cannot imagine where the extra 10k I could have paid would have gone. Overhead I guess.
     
  11. Calladrilling

    Calladrilling Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I still do not believe you said if the other quotes were drilled vertical, drilled horizontal, trenches, pit slinkies, or what?
    The $600/ day excavator fees are pretty cheap too.

    Keep us posted this time next year.
    Your still in your "break in period", it will take a complete year to get true results from your loop field.
    Right now you stated you are running 1.5 months. August install would have excellent numbers right now since you did not encounter a loop field dumping heat in the ground all summer long. You did not give the loop field a true test run yet with 3-4 months of heat soaking, or 4-5 months of dumping cold temp into the ground either
     
  12. Weymouth

    Weymouth New Member

    Your still in your "break in period", it will take a complete year to get true results from your loop field.
    Right now you stated you are running 1.5 months. August install would have excellent numbers right now since you did not encounter a loop field dumping heat in the ground all summer long. You did not give the loop field a true test run yet with 3-4 months of heat soaking, or 4-5 months of dumping cold temp into the ground either


    Once again I get a pessimistic response. It seems to fill this forum. This may sound harsh but many of y'all seem like know-it-all pessimists when it comes to somebody else's install.

    Is it because I got a good price? Is it because you didn't? Is it because you had problems and you hope everyone else does?

    Look back at some of the comments following my entry. There are a few slyly written statements implying "Just wait a bit, It'll probably fail" comments.

    Did my comments come off as arrogant? They were not meant that way.

    Had I paid 45k would everyone be patting me on my back saying what a great system I had?

    Or is it just installers that make these types of comments because they want the gravy train to continue?

    I have a 10 warranty on the loop field, 10 years on the blower. This company has laid many GEO systems, vertical and horizontal. He knows the earth here and laid what he knew would work in our hot and wet climate. He knows what he is doing, but then from the comments on here, maybe the only GEO experts are here and I should have paid one of you 30-40k to get the perfect system.

    As for your question Calladrilling, all the quotes were for the exact system, clearly stated in a previous post. All quotes were for a closed loop horizontal system.
     
  13. Calladrilling

    Calladrilling Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Well from your response you seem to be quite a bit on the defensive side!
    I did not imply your system will fail, I am not a heat pump installer, my system did not fail, nor have I ever wished for anybody else's system to fail. What would I benefit from by having your system fail?
    I am loop installer in NJ, I am not coming to TX to sell you on my services for loops. With that being sad, I would not give you anything but good luck. What I was stating is the truth about your comments on advertising your low energy bills.
    I also did not see where the loop fields were stated in your previous post.
    Please do not behead for my oversight.
    I don't think you should read to deep into the responses you recieve. You asked for reasons why the pricing was so far apart. Nobody can give you the ansewer your looking for since nobody knows or have seen all the quotes.
     
  14. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Yes Weymouth, you asked why prices might vary wildly and implied companies were trying to take advantage of you. We tried to offer insight and correct bad math. Why are you steadfastly defensive of your position vs willing to accept that some may have operating costs that add cost to a job.
    If you don't want to know the job cost influencers, simply don't ask.
     
  15. Tony Scarpelli

    Tony Scarpelli New Member

    I too got great variances in prices between contractors for the same thing. Open to open or closed to closed. I think since only a half dozen of the companies around here do this some can get away with a little bit of highway robbery.
     
  16. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    "I too got great variances in prices between contractors for the same thing. Open to open or closed to closed. I think since only a half dozen of the companies around here do this some can get away with a little bit of highway robbery."

    Tony generally reviving threads that are months or years old is discouraged as the questions have been asked and answered long since.
    You will also find if you stick around that some who complain about pricing tend to use creative math or leave out certain details (or perhaps compare a professional install to a diy). To reopen this simply to accuse your local guys of robbery (with no substantiation) is of no value.

    It sounds like you may have a lot to offer other consumers about both insulation and geo. You may also have a question for others one day. Don't put folks in the habit of glossing over your posts or we may miss something that is important.
     
  17. KJW

    KJW Member

    Weymouth,


    I am in the Montgomery, TX area and bidding geo thermal. I would like to pick your brain. Can you contact me?

    Jeff

    281 380 1714 cell
     
  18. Weymouth

    Weymouth New Member

    I wanted to give an update on this original post.

    I have now had my system for running for 2.5 years.

    It has run flawlessly.

    It has kept me warm in the Winter and nice and cool in the long hot Texas Summers.

    My electric bill has averaged just under $70.00 per month in that time. The whole home is electric. It is 1200 sq ft. I consider that a pretty reasonable cost.

    I did connect the system to my hot water heater. That is a nice feature and I assume is keeping the bill down as well.

    I am quite pleased with the results and the original cost of installation.

    I did have an issue about a year in where the wall thermostat stopped communicating with the unit.

    Bosch got involved and fixed it in a hurry. The representative gave me a nice new wall unit. One thing it does that I love is heat/cool on auto. You set the unit to come on when it gets too hot in the house and the AC comes on. Then if it gets too cold it switches to heat. That is the first unit I have ever owned that can switch itself to hot or cold depending on temp. It sure comes in handy in Spring when the morning can be in the low 40's but the day will be in the 70's, heating up the house.

    Sure was nice of them to give that to me. It was a pricey unit. Over $300 retail. So real happy with Bosch and how they treated me.

    Other than that it has run smoothly and quietly keeping the house comfortable.
     
  19. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Glad to hear your story.

    Gotta love auto change over controls.

    Mark
     
  20. frankz

    frankz New Member

    $70 is pretty impressive, even for a 1200-sf house. But especially good to hear that Bosch dealt with the problem. What you usually hear about is manufacturers who refer the problem back to the installer, and then the customer gets caught in the middle. Well, maybe it's just that people with bad experiences are mostly the ones who post. I've got a Bosch 3-ton as well, hydronic. No problems as of yet. I like it because the internal layout is nice and simple, everything is accessible not crammed in where you can't get at it.
     

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