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Author Topic: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?  (Read 2256 times)

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Offline Wilbur

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Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« on: September 02, 2015, 02:11:16 PM »
I am not sure if this is in the right section but geothermal has some real appeal to me for a variety of reasons. One is no more oil/fuel bills as it runs on electricity, but is far more efficient than electric heat. I am thinking that it would work well for a bug-out site quite well as that lower operating cost would be a good thing in a SHTF scenario. From what I can find online it seems like systems cost (full systems) between $10K and $25K depending on size, available land for the heating/cooling tubes, etc. But if you're adding that cost to an existing build/renovation it is not that much....and given the savings potential it would pay for itself pretty quick.  Just curious if anyone has some "real world" experience with them?


Offline nmeyer414

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2015, 02:29:46 PM »
it is a great concept, but the cooling properties to me are not much better than a swamp cooler.
Nate

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2015, 02:42:45 PM »
Nate, not everyone know's what a swamp cooler is. just sayin
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Offline EL TATE

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2015, 02:54:41 PM »
Good friends of mine are experts in the subject. They teach seminars on green building practices. Have solar, living roofs (big fancy garden rather than shingles), geo thermal and radiant floor heating/cooling using said geothermal. Winters are great, 67-65 without additional heat sources. Summers aren't bad, good airflow through 3 stories but the design of the home was intended to be used with geothermal, so convection acts on the cooling, and I would agree that it's not much better than a swamp cooler. However, it is hyper efficient and minimal cost for maintenance. up front costs can be daunting with the drilling, installation etc. IMHO, I would like to have it in my current home, and I think it's a great idea for bugout considering the renewable/reusable resource situation.
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Offline Wilbur

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2015, 04:51:20 PM »
I am familiar with swampers but they don't typically work real well in the east with the high humidity here.

While I am not a "green energy" fanatic by ANY stretch (I think the GW hype is all about liars grabbing tax dollars) but anything I can do to improve my cost structure is a good thing. I built a small solar heater for my house just to see if I could do it....it passively raises the temp about 60 degrees. A buddy of mine in Denver built his house with a small "solar room" and he uses about 1/3 the oil his neighbors do for heat in the winter. Granted its Denver with its 300 days of sunshine per year but I think some of the things like that can go a long way in a SHTF situation. I like the idea of geothermal from this same perspective. Thanks for the input guys! 

Offline Flyin6

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2015, 05:07:20 PM »
GT heat is fairly efficient around here in the tucky, however going to more northern latitudes, I believe it looses effectiveness. Might check me on that.
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Offline BobbyB

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2015, 05:51:53 PM »
GT heat is fairly efficient around here in the tucky, however going to more northern latitudes, I believe it looses effectiveness. Might check me on that.

Geothermal is pretty big around here, AFAIK. There's a few companies around here that install GT in new houses, existing houses. I was/am even looking into going to school for Green Energy related stuff.
So, Bobby...being the calculating trained warrior NCO that you are.  Take the appropriate action, Execute!

Offline nmeyer414

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2015, 09:14:11 PM »
Nate, not everyone know's what a swamp cooler is. just sayin

you know you love em just as much as I do ken................;D
Nate

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2015, 11:08:35 PM »
Couldn't live without them, but I've had quite a few snowbirds ask me what they were. This one's my baby, a 48" version:



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Offline moto123

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2015, 02:12:14 PM »
For what it's worth, my house uses geothermal with 6 vertical bores, I think 180 feet each.  The air handling unit is pretty simple, one heat pump, one coil that switches between heating and cooling, one fan.  It uses forced air to distribute the heat/cool air similar to all conventional furnaces.  It's been running for 15 years with only one minor repair to the variable speed fan drive.  My house is approximately the same square footage and volume as my parents and I have averaged half the cost to heat and cool it.  Additionally we keep the temp at 73 in the summer and 75 in the winter compared to my dad who sets it back at night and generally tries to operate more efficiently at like 76 in the summer and 71 in the winter.  My parents have a gas furnace and an outdoor condenser, pretty typical system and our gas prices are not bad here.  So clearly the geothermal system is more than twice as efficient.

Offline Wilbur

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2015, 02:26:25 PM »
Thanks moto! Just what I was hoping to hear...some real world knowledge as opposed to my googleantics on the web with companies tryin' to sell me sh*t.  ;) What part of the country are ya in? (I am wondering if it would be similar to New England or better/worse due to location differences.)

Offline moto123

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2015, 02:42:51 PM »
We are straight west of Chicago, right on the Mississippi.  Winters are cold and snowy, summers are hot and humid.  According to the map it looks to be a very similar climate zone to most of New England.

Also worth noting, my dad replaced his furnace and a/c condenser last year for about $8,000.  He considered geothermal, but the well drilling gets expensive.  I think he would have been over $20k for GT.  So it's more than twice as efficient, but more than twice as expensive also for a new installation.  I think his furnace and A/C lasted 25 years.  I would expect the geothermal equipment to be similar.  The difference is when replacement is needed, I don't have an external condenser.  So I bet replacement will be less than $8,000.  So it really boils down to whether you want to spend the additional $12k for the well drilling on day 1 in order to save the energy for the life of the house.  Average rough number is that I save about $1,800 per year.  So the payback is around 6.5 to 7 years.

Would I do it again?  Absolutely!  As long as I plan to live in the home more than 10 years I would always do geothermal for my home.

And don't think I am trying to convince you simply because I was persuaded by a local geothermal company.  I didn't install mine.  I bought my house with it already there.

Offline Wilbur

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2015, 02:49:00 PM »
That's great.....thanks for the clarifications. My Dad's family was from south of LaSalle Peru off 80 so know the area somewhat....I agree that climate is similar.

So if I read this right, your system had to be drilled down (or at least your Dad's would have needed to be)? (as opposed to having a less deep "hole" with a larger area for the lines). I think that increases the cost of the project as a whole (drilling vs. an "excavation version") no? But from everything I have seen I think your 10 year assessment is accurate- but even for that "grey area" time you would likely be able to command a premium for the home given that system versus a similar property with oil/electric etc.  Thanks again! I appreciate it.

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2015, 10:40:19 PM »
I learned something from this. I didn't even know that they went vertical sometimes. Makes sense I guess. I've watched the installation on some tv shows where they just excavated multiple trenches.
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Offline moto123

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2015, 11:34:29 PM »
The decision to bore vertical wells is a little more efficient in system operation I think, but the biggest reason is the drastically reduced area needed.  My wells were located in an area about 8 feet by 16 feet in the front yard.  In our area of the country the vertical wells are very common, in fact I've never seen any other method used either residential or commercially.  The other optimal geothermal design criteria is that it works best in areas where the heating and cooling seasons are roughly equal.  In predominantly cooling applications the well field needs to be larger. 

Offline Flyin6

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2015, 09:47:47 AM »
Around here in the tucky, I am seeing 3 to 4 holes 100-120-150 feet ea, mostly in the front yard. My neighborhood has large (Like W A Y too big homes. They are getting four hole-ers.
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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2015, 10:31:27 AM »
Like yours you mean? Castle De 6 , Square De Castle, Mansion on the Hill, I could keep going......
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Offline OldKooT

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2015, 02:02:24 PM »
I have seen quite a few systems that use ponds as well.
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Offline Wilbur

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Re: Anyone looking at or using geothermal?
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2015, 05:55:06 PM »
I have seen quite a few systems that use ponds as well.

I saw that as an example in a "how does geothermal work" article I had read....I didn't realize they did that....makes perfect sense.