Slinky System Homeowner Refusing to Pay

Discussion in 'Vertical and Horizontal Loops' started by CRE10, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. CRE10

    CRE10 Member

    A homeowner agreed on a job with a set price. There is a 4 ton and a 5 ton heat pump with 12 3/4" 700' slinkies on 36" pitch with a length of 125' installed at 6' deep with 15' spacing. The homeowner is refusing to pay saying that this is an inefficient system and not the "best". He says that pipe overlapping on the slinkies and pipe in the header pit is not acceptable. He doesn't believe any pipe should touch or overlap. The homeowner claims this system will not work in Central Missouri and that it needs to be trenched in or drilled. Keep in mind this is all after agreeing on the job and after the slinkies had been installed. What do you guys think? He also claims that heat pump manufacturers do not recommend slinkies and that pipe companies do not allow them because pipe will crimp and be worthless.


  2. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Mr Homeowner is obviously mistaken.

    The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) publishes a guide on slinkies.

    "Written primarily for installers and designers, this one-of-a-kind 60-page manual is the definitive guide for installing Slinky™ heat exchangers. Well-illustrated with drawings and photographs, the manual explains each step of Slinky™ installation from design to trench excavation. Section titles include Slinky™ ground heat exchanger design, pipe material selection and standards, coil configurations, forming the circular heat exchanger, installation, and excavation safety. "
  3. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    My favorite customer knows just enough to make it apparent they do not know anything! lol

    My answer to simmilar querries is to get them to show me in "the book" where what I did was wrong. I allways give them the option to provide "the book" of their choosing as long as it is the IGSHPA book.

    I have also as recently as yesterday asked a customer to provide me with a copy of their well driling liscense to settle a dissagreement.

  4. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Thanks for a great laugh!!! I will be using this I can tell!!!
  5. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

  6. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I had a situation today where the homeowner expected loops one place and the excavator (loop installer) another.
    Loop installer said they didn't fit where we talked about.
    Curiously everything was where I pictured it in my minds eye.

    Fact is three of us had a conversation and had three different expectations. I told the excavator that we will start sticking flags in the ground to make sure all are on the same page.

    A helper suggested this wasn't our problem....simply because the homeowner misunderstood.

    My reply was as the contractor, it is my job to make sure things are explained fully and expectations are met.

    It is too late to explain a slinky once its in the ground. Like my excavator and I questions that aren't answered ahead of time, make the answers sound like excuses.

    good luck
  7. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    We run into the "undecided customer" "mr. wishy washy" about once a year. He is the customer that will believe what ever he hears from anyone, with the exception of the person he hired to do the work. They can be a real pill, and sometimes are never satisfied no matter what you do.

    To echo what Joe said, this is a tuff sell since the work is done and his name is on the contract. I would try to educate if possible, but even that fails more than not. Good luck keep us posted.
  8. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader


    Every once in a while I get sucked in by a customer that had no intention of paying me for my work and my knowledge.

    I hope this is not one of those situations.

    From the pictures I think this is a muddy business. I see your header and reverse return. In Ohio you could pull it all out, but why pipe is cheap. Labor and know how is not.

    Hoping for a happy ending,

  9. docjenser

    docjenser Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I would argue that the loop you are describing will be more than sufficient (and very efficient) to support 9 tons of heat pump capacity.

    The entire purpose of the loop is to supply the heat pump(s) with a certain amount of water at a certain temperature, wheras both of those "certains" should be within the operating range of the heatpump. The loop should be designed to fulfill those two tasks all year long, fulfilling the load requirements.

    The slinky does that as well as any other loop. While the overlapping pipes steals heat from each other, you compensate for this by increasing the total pipe length.

    So at the end of the day, performance of the system is the same if the GPM and the EWT is the same, no matter what the loop design is. Again, I do not know your ground conductivity, but your slinky seems to be well designed.

    The header trench's purpose is to connect the loop field's parallel circuits, not to do the heat exchange with the ground.

    One could argue that a loop twice as big or twice as deep is more efficient, but at a significantly higher upfront price, where the potentially better efficiency is only minimal and is in no economical relation to the much higher increased upfront costs.

    You did a fine loop here, it sounds more like he is trying to find a reason why he does not want to pay you.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011
  10. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    One could easily demonstrate design being met by measuring EWTs. If you ran op cost software it will have a bin report with operating hours at given temps. It will also identify min and max EWTs.
    If you re educate customer on that, then as long as your equipment is operating a % of the hour identified by bin report it is easy to suggest other predictions are true- i.e. op cost and min/max EWTs.........
    Or offer to let them hold the last thousand til the middle of winter when you can remeasure EWT.
  11. CRE10

    CRE10 Member

    Last thousand? Heck he hasn't even paid half and refuses to anymore at all. He wants signed statements from the heat pump manufacturer and pipe company that this installation will work and that it is suitable. I gave him a submittal on the pipe specs and warranty and low and behold the submittal had pictures of slinkies in the background, but of course that was good enough.
  12. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I have become more jaded as the years go by. I try not to take anything personaly anymore.... but when it comes to payment I have no sense of humor.

    Here are my steps to happiness:

    1. Everyone including my mother signs a contract up front.

    2. Terms of payment are clearly defined as well as timetable for draws ect.

    3. No job goes forward without proper paperwork in place.

    4. We say nt on reciept, but allow 30 days for final.

    5. All claims must be settled within that window, period

    6. If the customer does not pay in 30 days it goes to legal, period.

    7. I go fishing

    When I started everything was done with a handshake, those days are gone. We find that talk is big untill legal approaches them and then we normally get paid post haste. If not it goes to court. In my kneck of the woods the courts are pro paper and business. i.e. did you sign that document? whats the problem? pay now.
  13. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Very seldom do I have a communication breakdown this severe with a customer. In MI a mechanics lien on the property is how I would next express my posistion.

    Next thing I would do is ask myself how to explain and document the next one better to avoid similar misunderstandings.

    I always approach confusion with the attitude that I didn't educate my customer enough.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011

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