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RICKinMD

10:57AM | 08/11/02
Member Since: 08/10/02
3 lifetime posts
Bvhvac
I am looking at a few options in buying a house. I have been looking at a new house so should have options.

I have looked into Geothermal and trying to compare it to Standard Gas Heat, Electric AC and Gas or Electric Hot water.

One Builder has an upgrade option to Geothermal for about $7000 - stating you should be able to save $50-$100 on monthly fuel bills.

Would this be true?
How well does Geothermal work in HEAT mode and COOL modes?

Can anyone explain how this actually works (I understand pipes are put into the ground and fluid is pumped through it - but that's all I know about this technology).

Any assistance would be appreciated.

LDoyle

03:53PM | 08/11/02
Member Since: 06/03/01
324 lifetime posts
GeoThermal units use very efficent heat/cool pumps. Normal units use compressed 'gas' and regular heat pumps depend on the outside air temperature. GeoThermal uses a liquid medium run thru tubes under ground so the medium is pretty much a constant 55 degrees. That temperature is much easier to draw heat or cool from. The efficiency you can expect should be in the 14 to 16 SEER range and that relates to a lot of savings over a 10 or 12 SEER unit. Simplified but maybe enough?

RICKinMD

07:57AM | 08/12/02
Member Since: 08/10/02
3 lifetime posts
Are you stating that this isn't a heating/cooling option you would recommend?

hoganem

05:44AM | 08/26/03
Member Since: 02/13/03
90 lifetime posts
I am building a house now, I asked everybody I knew about geothermal heating. Some guys at work have it in their house. The electric company typically gives you a discount during the winter months. But the cost was so much more that nobody ever said they have gotten a good return on the initial high cost of investment.

I went with LP Gas. No natural gas in the country side.

hoganem

03:23AM | 08/27/03
Member Since: 02/13/03
90 lifetime posts
For the other comment, most systems today are heating/cooling units. The process just reverses in the summer to take cooler medium from the ground and it cools your house. You won't need LP/Nat gas or heating oil, unless you want it for other appliances. In theory it sounds good, but my friend's experience hasn't proved to be all that efficient, not worse than standard furnace but not much better either.

With these units you typically set the thermostat and leave it alone, they struggle if you constantly turn up and down the thermostat. They aren't like a standard furnace that can kick on and raise your house temperture 5 degrees in 20 minutes.

There are options, but you need to be in an area with a large yard otherwise you have to put the "tubes" in a vertical manner, like a well, more expensive. The length of the tubes is variable to the size of the unit and the type of soil you have.

Just do a search on altavista for Geothermal. Each state probably has an association of dealers.

BillOH

07:47AM | 09/05/03
Member Since: 07/21/02
48 lifetime posts
We had a Water Furnace geothermal system for about 11 years in our previous house. Excellent system, cheap to operate and the only problem was a pump breakdown the first year that was replaced for free. During really cold weather it struggled to keep the house up to temperature but that may be too small system problem. Some sort of gas or oil back up would have been nice but realistically probably would not have been worth the money as it would be used very little. In A/C mode is was dirt cheap to operate. Wish I had it in this house instead of oil fired hot water system.
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