SE PA - New Construction

Discussion in 'Quotes and Proposals' started by camicia, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. camicia

    camicia New Member

    All - I'm new here, but looking for some help. We are building new construction. Up until this weekend, we thought we had natural gas. Surprise: we don't (our neighbor does, and that's where it stops -- $20K to extend 215 feet). The builder and his HVAC sub were planning to put in a propane system. I don't have any of our load numbers yet, but house is 2-story, 2510 finished sq ft with about 130o sqft unfinished basement. At this point, just trying to understand what the ballpark would be.

    With the propane system, we will already have the rigid duct in place (so, no cost increase there?).

    We would be replacing the gas furnace and the AC unit with the geo heat pump - so some extra cost there for the geo unit?

    Quote on the wells for a 4-ton system was "rough" estimate of $9600 ($15/ft). Seems reasonable.

    So, what I can't figure out, is why the rough estimates for geo are $25-$35k ABOVE the full cost of the propane system, when it seems to me it should only be the cost differential in the heat pump, plus the wells (maybe $15k extra)? What am I missing?

    Also, any contractors in SE PA that would like to bid on this, please let me know!
  2. moey

    moey Member

    There needs to be a 30% markup so you can get your tax credit. Alright just kidding kind of.
    johnny1720 likes this.
  3. JFLame

    JFLame Member


    Do the estimates from the Geo installers call for utilization of the existing builder-supplied duct work? Is this house zoned?

    If you're in SE PA with 2500 sqft you're a solid 4-ton unless your house is of exemplary construction. Your well estimate is spot-on from my own experience.

    Who have you talked to so far? If you want, PM me. We are from the same area and I just had a retrofit done a year ago.

    If it's still an option, you may want to think long and hard about just paying for the natural gas pipe and making sure you have a variable speed gas furnace. Geo is nothing magical, in the right conditions it makes economic sense, but it also can come with a lot of problems if not done correctly. I believe natural gas is as economical as geo at its current price point, and with all the gas infrastructure yet to come online it should stay low for a very long time.
  4. gbig2

    gbig2 New Member

    Camicia, you asked on a different, old thread, who I went with. I'll just post it here. I went with Morrison Geothermal out of Duncannon. No complaints. Even in this extreme cold I've only seen it splash on aux for a couple seconds. You won't find anyone in the area cheaper and with more experience than Morrison, believe me, I called everyone in the area for an estimate, too many. :)
    It cost me about $500 to heat my 2300 sq ft house last year.
  5. jacurt2

    jacurt2 New Member

    I'm in the Chadds Ford area and I'm just recently looking into geothermal. We have propane heat and we're getting killed this winter. Any recommendations for who else to look into for quotes? Morrison might be too far away to service my area.

    Sorry to hijack your thread!
  6. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Geothermal residential heating and cooling is not a cheap alternative to propane or oil. It is $4.00 of heat for every $1.00 sent to some electrical provider.

    I will go any place to design build good geothermal HVAC systems. Have tools and travel trailer, do travel. My rule is that the systems must provide the best comfort. Comfort is what this is all about.

    If you are feeling gouged by the oil based fuels, think about burning wood.

    Geothermal and solar thermal is not for the weak of heart. You need a dedicated spirit or checkbook.

  7. JFLame

    JFLame Member

    "Cheap" is relative. The value proposition of geothermal must be examined closely to determine if it makes economical sense. Any good dealer should be able to provide an operational cost comparison for propane vs. geothermal using current propane and electric pricing. In many cases the operating cost are MUCH lower than oil and propane.

    There are many reasons to go geothermal, and comfort is certainly NOT the only one.

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