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Old 03-31-2008, 07:02 AM
 
955 posts, read 1,970,184 times
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I've started research into geo thermal for heating & cooling. Proponents tell me that it is used to heat your hot water needs too. Any experience or reference material that anyone has would be appreciated. This would be in an area considered "cold" (upper Michigan) by most standards. Availability of land for the necessary piping fields, etc. is not an issue.
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Old 03-31-2008, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Cambridge, Nebraska
137 posts, read 557,426 times
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Default Pumping Heat!

http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/info/documents/pdfs/central_heat_pump_ac_install-0781.pdf (broken link) has a lot of good information about heat pumps, their operation, and installation.

Our neighbor with a geothermal heat pump has 5 vertical loops that are very deep. He feels it's not as efficient as it could be as he spends quite a bit of the systems efficiency savings pumping liquid from such deep wells. He had room to go horizontal, but chose verticle which I personally think may have been a mistake.

In southwestern Nebraska, the cost to purchase and install a geothermal system is around $3000 per ton. Efficiency is greatly effected by soil consistency and determines length of loops I believe.

http://geoexchange.us/pdf/GB-034.pdf is another link to geothermal heat pump information, and desuperheaters for hot water are discussed briefly.

There seems to be a lot involved when considering how to size one of these units, and you dont want one oversized as it reduces efficiency. Windows, insulation, which way windows face, ducting and more are considered.

I recommend getting several estimates. We just got a new air exchange heat pump and the cost was 1/2 of the highest bid.
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:07 PM
 
Location: The Woods
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South of my land in AK there are natural hot springs used for heating. Unfortunately, I'm not lucky enough to have one on my property. Without those, it can get expensive drilling into the ground. Be careful before you invest in it, get several opinions (some from those not actively promoting it) to see if it would be a good idea in your area.
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:31 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
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Shallow ground based geothermal that uses the ground as a heat sink for a mechanical heat pump (reversible refrigerator) has a very high performance in that it can transfer more heat energy than the electrical energy used to drive the pump. These are generally more expensive than an air based heat pump because of the requirement to bury a very long pipe about 8’ under the surface. The advantage is derived from the fact that the average soil temperature is around 50 deg F so the temperature difference between the sources has a much smaller range. An air based heat pump my have to pump heat from –10 deg air in a severe winter location to a 70 deg room. Under these conditions the air source heat pump may be transferring very little heat and using electricity directly. This is very expensive in most places. The ground source heat pump is transferring energy from the 50 deg F ground that requires much less electricity.

The trade off in selecting a heat pump system over a fuel burning or direct electric system is the heat pump has a much higher first cost but a much lower operating cost per heat unit delivered than the alternatives. A ground-based heat pump exaggerates the difference. The other major advantage if a heat pump is that it can function as an air cooler/conditioner by reversing the refrigerant cycle and pumping the heat energy from the house into the ground again gaining efficiency because of the decreased temperature differential. Instead of an air source heat pump transferring heat from a 60 deg F cooling coil to 100 deg F outside air the ground-based heat pump is transferring from the same 60 deg F coils to 50 Deg F ground. It is also “storing” summer heat for recovery in the winter although this is not a major factor.

So, if you require air conditioning as well as heat and have the money use a heat pump. If you have a bit more money use a ground source heat pump. Otherwise use a fuel fired heating system and a fan in the summer.
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
38,041 posts, read 46,844,839 times
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We have geothermal system in NE Ohio. Our furnace is by "Waterfurnace", and after 15 years we couldn't be happier with it. Our budget electric is right now $180. a month for a 2800 sq ft. house and also part of our barn. We have great heating and cooling in a regular forced air system.
We have a closed loop that runs along one edge of the property.
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Old 04-03-2008, 07:21 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
23,485 posts, read 41,085,731 times
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yeah 'geo-thermal' has taken on a whole new meaning... I prefer to think of it as natural 'hot springs' / wells that can power all sorts of stuff. Idaho, OR, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona are most popular for utilizing geothermal sources for small community power sources.

the "ground source heat pumps" are just gathering heat / cool from stable sub-grade soil temps. Nothing magic about that, ... except the price...tho they are much more efficient and are a good choice if you don't have a 180F natural hot spring running through your back yard
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Old 04-04-2008, 12:17 AM
 
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When I was younger we lived up by Yellowstone and the campground we owned had lots of hot springs. These were pumped all over the campground and supplied warm toilets, all of the hot water for the showers and laundry room. They kept the buildings warm all winter. Very nice.
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:32 AM
 
955 posts, read 1,970,184 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyomiles View Post
When I was younger we lived up by Yellowstone and the campground we owned had lots of hot springs. These were pumped all over the campground and supplied warm toilets, all of the hot water for the showers and laundry room. They kept the buildings warm all winter. Very nice.
Since we don't have any hot springs where we live, it seems that the consensus is against a system that would only work from a 50 degree ambient ground. Thanks for all the info - I will continue to do research.
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Old 04-06-2008, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Log home in the Appalachians
10,528 posts, read 10,449,025 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gentlearts View Post
We have geothermal system in NE Ohio. Our furnace is by "Waterfurnace", and after 15 years we couldn't be happier with it. Our budget electric is right now $180. a month for a 2800 sq ft. house and also part of our barn. We have great heating and cooling in a regular forced air system.
We have a closed loop that runs along one edge of the property.

I live in southeastern Ohio and I have a geothermal system also that is by "Waterfurnace" and our electric bill runs about $136 a month for 2500 sq ft home, and I couldn't be happier either with my geothermal system and I have the vertical loop system and we use it for both heating and cooling and to preheat our hot water heater.
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:14 AM
 
12,627 posts, read 18,373,997 times
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there are geo thermal around here in the colder parts similar to Mi. Yes people do use it to heat their homes. Not sure about water usage though.
We have a heat pump and water runs through it from our well our well water temp is about 60 we have been told.
It is very efficient heating and cooling. More people need to use this system to heat and cool their homes.
One thing the furnace guy said that it is important to put in a GOOD furnace system with the heat pump system don't skimp.
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