Tell us your success stories!

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by sunnyflies, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. sunnyflies

    sunnyflies Member Forum Leader

    If you are successfully using a geothermal system, tell us about it!

    Many of us are here to learn as much as we can about them and would be grateful for constructive input.

    What section of the country do you live in? What is the size, age and layout of your house? How long ago did you put your system in? What did it replace, and was it worth the extra cost to install it? Have you recouped the cost, or do you expect to?

    What extras did you have to do to accommodate your system, ie: upgrade electric, insulation, etc. What type of loop did you use?

    Please post anything you might have done differently, or that you particularly like about your set up, or that you would recommend others to do when planning theirs.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    New construction, north Florida

    3400 SF ICF house, 3 ton WF NDV038 with desuper on artesian open loop. Heats, cools same for not more than $60 per month.

    Desuper on track to offset 2/3 of expected DHW cost.
  3. m159267

    m159267 New Member

    All electric house built in mid-west / summer 2004. 95-100 F swealtering summers & sub-zero with 20-30 below (F) wind chill winters. 3800 square feet w/ 5 ton ground closed loop WF (2-stage). Largest electric bill in 4+ years - $110.00. 12 month averages to $80-$85/month. Rates here are relatively cheap so Kwh usage is a better barometer...highest monthly Kwh 2100 (winter). Mid-summer Kwh averages 800-1000.
  4. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    This was posted here once and went away for some reason.

  5. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    another from the forums.

  6. a0128958

    a0128958 Member

    We're a major success for a retrofit job in a hot climate (Dallas).

    In July of '07 we replaced Lennox natural gas forced air furnace and conventional central air conditioner equipment with WaterFurnace water-to-air geothermal heat pump equipment.

    Since then, we have lowered our electricity usage by over 40%. Our KWH consumption has dropped from 140 to 80 KWH/day on avg, across a rolling 12 month period, as shown in the chart below.


    At our current effective KWH rate of $0.13, the reduced KWH consumption due to GSHP conversion is about $2300 annually. This savings per year will grow as rates continue to increase.

    Simultaneously, we lowered our natural gas usage by over 50%. Our NG consumption has dropped from 0.27 to 0.13 MCF/day on avg, across a rolling 12 month period, as shown below.


    At our current effective MCF rate of $16 on a 12 month rolling avg, the reduced NG consumption due to GSHP conversion is about $830 annually. This savings per year will also grow as rates continue to increase.

    (While our GSHPs have DeSuperHeaters, they are not hooked up presently. Thus, the NG reduction does not include any DSH benefit.)

    In summary for cost savings, total annual savings at the moment is $2300 + $830 for a toal of about $3100 per year.

    A third success is, due to installing an instrumentation system, we are able to continuously confirm our GSHPs are performing to the manufacturer's specs. This was a big question for us going in because WaterFurnace does a lot of advertising of its COP and EER values.

    To answer some of the specific questions posed to start this thread:

    I live a suburb north of Dallas. My 'down deep' earth temp is 68°F.

    My residence is a 17 year old 3400 sf, all single-story (ranch) structure, with a huge attic where the GSHP equipment is located. It is not very energy efficient, as windows leak a lot and I have over 50+ recessed light fixtures that all vent to the attic.

    GSHP equipment is WaterFurnace Envision 5 and 3 ton 2-speed variable speed units.

    Water loop is vertical, with over a mile of pipe installed overall: 8 wells, each 300' deep, with 1" HDPE pipe and standard grout material.

    We did not put in any extras to accommodate installation.

    Lots of details are all available at
    Web Energy Logger:

    and at
    Ground Source Heat Pumps Installation Photo Gallery by Bill Neukranz at .

    As far as suggestions to pass along, it looks like this forum already well covers them, including getting Manual J capacity analysis done, etc.

    If the design and installation are done properly, there should not be a lot of situations where it's not cost effective. My observation is that geothermal heating and cooling can be 'the real deal' if done properly.

    Hope this helps.

    Best regards,

  7. arkieoscar

    arkieoscar Member

    I built and installed a 2 1/2 ton system in my 1800 sq.ft., new home in 1995. I had a local contractor install the ductwork. 4-400' 3/4" hor. loops, 8ft. deep. Glycol at about 15%. No freezestat installed as the water temp has never gone below 40f. Antifreeze is for when we are not here. This winter is the first that I had to use the 5kw. heat strips as we had a long perior of temps in the teens and the HP was losing ground and EWT went down to 40 and it scared me. It recovered when we were without power for 10 days due to the ice storm. In 2000, I installed a 14000 BTU Trane console to heat and cool the 1000sq.ft. garage. It has two 400ft. hor. 3/4" loops, also at 8ft. This system has been flawless after the initial teething problems with a home built system. Cheap, quiet heating and cooling for almost 14 yrs. BTW- 30 yrs. experience in industrial and marine refrigeration/HVAC.
  8. Waukman

    Waukman Member

    Location: South Eastern Wisconsin - Metro Milwaukee
    House: Built in 1890, listed on Federal/State Historic Building register, 2 story, 1200 sq ft + 600 sq. ft basement, insulation in attic but no where else.
    Previous: State of the art (at least in 1935) Coal Burning gravity Furnace, converted to gas about 1960.
    New: WaterFurnace Evision, 5 Ton System with DSH. Vertical Closed loop with a total of 5 wells (150 feet each). Electric heat module was installed but is kept unplugged. Currently configured with two zones (first floor and second floor). This has helped greatly with the fact that I have no return for my second floor. All new duct work on the first floor, used existing duct work to second floor.
    Extras: Air cleaner and humdifier.

    We went live November of 2007. We have been very happy with the system. It has kept the house at 75 without skipping a beat even at -18 (ok, we did drop to 73 on the first floor when we dipped to -18 in January, but I have since learned that unless all zones call for a given level of heat you don't get a stage 2 call or emergency heat call). Our 2008/2009 heating season running total for electric charges for the geo system is $700.00. I have a wattnode meter on the electric line to the geo system so as to allow for daily reading of the usage.

    We keep the 1st floor at minimum of 75 (sometimes 77), the 2nd floor (bedrooms) at 70 (sometimes 72).

    Regrets: Having to wait to get an air return and more supply to the 2nd floor. Not having feedback from the zone unit to the thermostat as to the actual heat level being called for.

    Payback: In 2007 when I pulled the trigger this was estimated at being 14 years. Last summer that was pulling in to about 12 years with the then high cost of natural gas but with the huge drop in natural gas prices I would guess that I have pushed out to about 17 years.
  9. GrayHawk

    GrayHawk New Member

    Potential Success Story

    Even though my system has only been operational for a month now & my instrumentation is not fully complete; I feel compelled to post an early report after reading of the various problems reported here. An additional qualification is that the 'house' was designed from the beginning to use a GSHP and has many elements of passive solar and energy economy in the design. Also included is a 'not so big building' attitude, but I feel that is a valid decision in the effort to conserve energy.

    With those qualifications, I'll try to answer the questions put forth in the original posting. The house is a carriage house design, 2000 SQ FT total area, but only the upper half (living spaces) are conditioned. The lower half contains a 2-bay garage, 1-bay high ceiling shop, and the mechanical room. Construction is 2x6 exterior walls, 10/12 roof pitch, metal roof, all walls and floors are insulated (R-19+), attic is insulated R-30+). The attic space has soffit intakes and full ridgeline top vents, along with a open functional cupola which I hope to add control to later on. All walls are insulated including the garage & shop walls and I hope to replace the store bought garage doors with fully insulated doors of my own design soon. Windows could be better as they are only double pane, double hung, to match the design goal of making the house look like a Victorian carraige barn or carriage house. I did a lot of the construction myself and only subbed the jobs too big for me.

    The location is North Central Colorado, where our ground temperature at 200' is roughly 54 F. My soil is heavy clay to 16' ('bedrock' level) and then shale on down to 200'. I plan to have a temperature sensor at the 8' level but it is not on yet (soon).

    The GSHP is a Climate Master GSV024 (2 ton) with the HWG option (not yet hooked up). All ducting was designed so as to be insulated within the floor insulation, although the mechanical sub did not do it exactly as I had designed. I used deeper I-joists for this purpose.

    For the loop, I had initially planned a horizontal slinky approach; but changed my mind to vertical bores after further research. So my loop is 3 - 200' vertical bores. I hired this done as I don't have a drilling rig and had good reports about the loops done by a certain driller in our area. This driller did the bores, installed the loops, filled, purged, and helped me get the GSHP going in the geo mode.

    Some more qualifications: Our winter this year has been fairly mild and I have not gone through a cooling season yet; but I'm very happy with the results so far. I typically see an air delta-T of +30F for heating and the heat pump runs very little when outside temperature is above freezing.

    My system and some data can be seen at:

    Best Regards,
  10. CRE10

    CRE10 Member

    Have had geothermal in my home since 1990. Closed loop slinky pit. bills around $120 with lots of appliances, 3 deep freezes etc. Strip heat NEVER runs!

    Geothermal in two of my shop buildings. Closed loop trenches.

    Ripped out furnace and ac in a brand new rental house purchased for $210k. Put in geothermal with wells. (rent to family is why I went geo).
  11. rw1995

    rw1995 Member

    I installed a WF 2 stage 4 ton, desuperheater (dual tanks) Envision closed loop in November 2008. My home is 7yr old ranch, 2000sf on main level 1200sf basement finished. I have five 3/4" 600' slinky loops that are 9' deep, with 300' of 1-1/4" header and lines into the home and unit. I live in Iowa.

    My loop entering temps have dropped since the initial install, but I'm holding around 43-44F at the present. I figure the worst is over now. We did have some temps well below zero in Dec and Jan.

    I have had 3 months worth of bills now, resulting in roughly half of what I was paying for my 93% NG forced air unit. My heating for the first 3 months is around $1.25 per day, roughly $40 per month. My auxillary heat element is turned off, it only runs in stage 2 once or twice during the colder mornings. I have been very impressed, I can't wait for summer, from what I hear from the Geo users in this area, they really work well in the summer.

    The only negative I have is the timing, apparently I put mine in 6 weeks too early to get the new bailout plan 30% no cap. I did however get a $2100 rebate from my local energy company and the $2000 fed credit. I figure the unit will pay for itself in 4yrs time.

    Its been a good decision, I would do it again.
  12. sunnyflies

    sunnyflies Member Forum Leader

    It is so good to hear success stories! Thanks for posting them.

    I'd like to add one I just heard from a guy who installed his system four years ago here on Long Island using an experienced installer. He has a Florida HP installed in a 2400 sq ft cape with a 15,000 w back up electric strip and an open loop system. He would do it again in a heartbeat. His house stays at 68º in the winter, and even with TVs, computers, lights and appliances running all day his electric bill runs $300 a month year round for heat, a/c and electric. He says he hardly needs the electric back up.

    Considering that our electric rate at 19 cents a Kw is among the highest in the nation, he is doing exceptionally well.

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