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Old 08-30-2012, 03:53 AM
 
Location: Indiana
316 posts, read 661,838 times
Reputation: 129

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Any homeowners plan on getting or already have a geothermal energy system in their home?
It's supposed to be a highly efficient and healthy alternative to electric or gas forced furnace heaters.

Heres one that supports homes in Jasper County:
Jasper, Indiana, Geothermal Heating & Cooling Installation & Service | Hulsman Refrigeration, Inc.

Geothermal systems are the cheapest central systems to operate, but they're the most expensive to install. They're also safer and healthier than oil/gas systems, which are more likely to burn your house down and which can poison you with the byproducts of combustion.

-Open-Loop System: An open-loop geothermal heat pump utilizes well or surface body water as the heat exchange fluid throughout the GHP system. Once the water fully circulates through the system, it returns to the ground through the well, a recharge well, or surface discharge.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:36 AM
 
Location: Bloomington IN
8,590 posts, read 12,387,824 times
Reputation: 24251
We installed a closed loop system when we built our house 11 years ago. We did not want to deal with propane, which was our only "gas" choice and were not a fan of electric. What we have discovered is that the "air" does feel cooler coming out of the vents like it does with electric.

You still are using electricity with a geothermal system as the blowers (not sure if that is the technical term) use electricity to pump the air through the house.

As far as healthier? I don't know. We never had any health issues in the past when we used natural gas. As far as cheaper? I think it is as my neighbors with smaller houses often have larger electric bills than we do. I can't really do an apples to apples comparison though as we have always had geothermal in this house.

The bonus with a closed loop system is that water heating costs are lower. The water that runs through the loops can be stored in a hot water heater and used in the house. Thus one's cost for heating water are lowered as the water that comes in is already warm. In the summer months it can be too warm at times.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:18 AM
 
28,453 posts, read 85,527,835 times
Reputation: 18731
Default Sorry to hear that your installer undersized the A/C...

I spent a lot of time investigating geothermal closed loop heat pumps. I visited a few commercial and residential sites were they've been in service. It is not uncommon for overall energy bills to be considerably lower (20% or more) than any other system. Maintenance tends to be minimal too.

It is true that the heating side of things is generally designed to have a "less hot" air discharge temperature in system that use forced air heating. This is generally offset by having a lower air speed on the fan. The net result is LESS of the drying effect that other forced air heating systems have.

The A/C generally blows every bit as cold as any other properly sized system. In fact, because the temperature of the water in the ground is generally FAR below summer air temps the heat pump / compressor has far less work to do and is thus capable of much greater efficiency.

The system sizing and tuning are much more critical than in other kinds of heating / cooling installations. The ability to "tweak" things often requires knowledge of computerized energy management that is really more like the systems used in large office buildings.

Costs are coming down BUT the efficiency and cost of other kinds of heating and cooling systems is also more competitive. This makes it a tough choice, especially in areas where piped natural gas is cheap.



Quote:
Originally Posted by rrah View Post
We installed a closed loop system when we built our house 11 years ago. We did not want to deal with propane, which was our only "gas" choice and were not a fan of electric. What we have discovered is that the "air" does feel cooler coming out of the vents like it does with electric.

You still are using electricity with a geothermal system as the blowers (not sure if that is the technical term) use electricity to pump the air through the house.

As far as healthier? I don't know. We never had any health issues in the past when we used natural gas. As far as cheaper? I think it is as my neighbors with smaller houses often have larger electric bills than we do. I can't really do an apples to apples comparison though as we have always had geothermal in this house.

The bonus with a closed loop system is that water heating costs are lower. The water that runs through the loops can be stored in a hot water heater and used in the house. Thus one's cost for heating water are lowered as the water that comes in is already warm. In the summer months it can be too warm at times.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Bloomington IN
8,590 posts, read 12,387,824 times
Reputation: 24251
Chet--you are correct. The first few months we were in the house, the HVAC company was out frequently making adjustments to water pressure going into the loops, etc. The first few years we had them out fairly often for other things. At one point we were concerned about a possible leak in the loop. It was something else. We installed this system 11 years ago. Finding a competent company is the most crucial part in installing a system. That took some time given our location. Even then, it was a bit dicey. After the first few years, maintenance has been no more/no less than a gas furnace. We have replaced an air exchanger that is part of the system, but that is separate from the actual geothermal system. We also had to replace a computer board in the system.

Given the geography of my area, unless we wanted to build a pond, which we did not, an open loop system would have been even more expensive. We have the space for a large, closed loop. If I recall correctly it goes out about 80-100 feet from the house.
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