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thedeadsea

Geothermal Heat

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We are getting a quote for a geothermal heat system. Curious to hear pros/cons of this type of system.

Also the contractor tells me there is a substantial tax credit for installing a system. Another person told me that you may have to pay it back in the future, can someone clarify this.

Thanks,

Steve

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As a LEED acredited proffesional (read took a test to be "Green"), and after a lot of research on the subject, here is MHO.

Geothermal on a new house you plan to live in for a long time is a no brainer. You will receive tax credits or rebates for all the things you put in. If you are retrofiting a existing home, there will be more rebates from you local gas/electricity company. These change with local jurisdiction.

Pros of the system, not tied into long term gas costs, can run off peak electric for heat exchanger/pump, cost to run are low, you will feel all warm and fuzzy for helping our Mother this Earth.

Cons, initial cost, equipment maintenence, contractors not familiar with system, needs for backup heat/cool for very high and low temps (geothermal will not keep up), long term effectiveness of system is not known, it has not been used widly enough and for a long enough time (bugs to work out).

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Thanks Farmboy!

This is for our family cabin that we plan to keep in the family hopefully forever. We have an older, somewhat inefficient gas boiler that would be the backup. The local power company does have a substantial rebate (although we will see how substantial it really is once I get the quote from the contractor).

I belive this contractor "specializes" in GT but I am going to do my homework once we decide for sure to go with GT over a regular off peak boiler.

Steve

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As a LEED acredited proffesional (read took a test to be "Green"), and after a lot of research on the subject, here is MHO.

Geothermal on a new house you plan to live in for a long time is a no brainer. You will receive tax credits or rebates for all the things you put in. If you are retrofiting a existing home, there will be more rebates from you local gas/electricity company. These change with local jurisdiction.

Pros of the system, not tied into long term gas costs, can run off peak electric for heat exchanger/pump, cost to run are low, you will feel all warm and fuzzy for helping our Mother this Earth.

Cons, initial cost, equipment maintenence, contractors not familiar with system, needs for backup heat/cool for very high and low temps (geothermal will not keep up), long term effectiveness of system is not known, it has not been used widly enough and for a long enough time (bugs to work out).

I have geothermal heat and its great! I agree with the pros and cons. There was one day the geothermal heat couldn't keep up, I believe its was -50 windchill, with With a strong N. Wind. I just fliped my heat pump to electric backup heat and it kept up all day. I haven't had anyother problems since!

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Can a system be set up to automatically flip over to backup in the event of the GT system not being able to keep up? Sometimes we aren't at the cabin for a week or more in the winter.

Steve

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We just added it too. There is 30% tax credit now for the total cost of the unit. Our electric just automatically switches over when the geo can't keep up. It was explained to me on the really cold days when the geo was able to cover 95% of the heat needed, the elec plenum kicked in the other 5%. It automatically kicks in when needed.

Our cost w/ ducting, unit, wells and elec hookup was around $29,000. It's $20,000 after the tax credit. More than a propane/nat. gas, but the payback should happen in 10 years or so.

I still have no idea how it works or how it can make heat from 55 degree fluid. Great conversation piece.

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I was lead to believe the system would be around 10K (pre rebates/tax credits) to tie into our existing hot water system. Does this sound ballpark for a 2500 SF home?

Steve

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$10K seems low. Before investing in a new heating and cooling system everyone should look at how energy efficient there home is. Start by checking the attic for insulation and air sealing. Then air seal the rim joist area - fiberglass insulation does not air seal. The older the home the more likely you will need to look at the insulation in the walls.

When I say air seal the attic I do not mean to close off attic vents but to seal air leaks into the attic around lights, plumbing, fireplaces, flues etc.

Here is a recent post

http://www.fishingminnesota.com/forum/ub...mal#Post1838079

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