Duanesworld - Geothermal HVAC Project

Duanesworld Geothermal HVAC Installation Page

Installation Pictures

Geothermal HVAC Installation Pictures

Overall, the crew from Advanced Geothermal Plumbing and Heating did a good job.

There was a lot of work to do.

Add onto that a nosey homeowner and at times, feathers were ruffled.

I learned to observe from a distance.

• I included a couple of charts that show the last few years natural gas and electric usage. I also added charts to show the Heat Pump and Air Handler individual electric usage. The Air Handler electric usage and the blower from the gas fired furnace should be a wash. Unless the Electric Resistance Emergency Heat is used.

Go to Energy Usage Charts

Geothermal HVAC? What the heck is that ...

Well, let me see if I can explain this. Geothermal heating and cooling is not new, heating and cooling with geothermal has been around for a while.

Bottom line is that during the winter, heat is taken out of the earth and transferred to the home. During the summer, heat from the home is transferred to the earth. The Fuel source (the earth) is free. Fuel prices will never increase! There is no delivery charge or tax - Don't let the politicians know :-)

I won't get into the explanation, but I will provide links to other sites which explain it much better and more detail than I can.

Scope and Equipment

The scope of this project was easy. My furnace and air conditioner were in dire need of replacement. The firebox was already rusted through. I think that if I had kept the system, this would have been the year for a carbon monoxide lesson.

Bottom line was to replace the existing natural gas furnace and electric air conditioner.

The following equipment was added, replacing the natural gas furnace and the air conditioner:

6 - 100ft horizontal ground loop sections.

Heat Pump unit. - WaterFurnace

Model ES036

Air Handler unit. - Bryant

Model FV4BNF003

De-Superheater - WaterFurnace

40 gallon hot water holding tank with check valve.

Electronic Air Cleaner - Trion

Model HE1400

Humidifier - AprilAire

Model 700

Cold air return modifications. A return vent was added to the living room. The only cold air return was in a Hallway ceiling. It still amazes me that HVAC professionals put cold air returns in the ceiling, or high in the wall. From High School chemistry classes and science classes I learned that hot air rises. If this is the case, Why aren't cold air returns along the floor for summer and again in the ceiling for winter? Turn the ceiling returns off in the winter and then turn the floor returns off in the summer.

Supply vent modifications. Although previously agreed upon supply vent modifications were decided unnecessary, a return vent modification was added. Most of the supply vents on the outside walls were insulated. Only a few feet of one needs insulation. The supply vents which are routed via the interior of the house have yet to be insulated.

Two Electric meters were added to keep track of power for the geothermal system. There is one meter for the Heat Pump and a separate meter for the Air Handler. This will give more of a true reading of power consumption by the new system and in calculating the cost savings over a fuel burning system.

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Key Learning's

Projects seldom go exactly as planned. It has something to do with Murphy's law!

The scheduled completion time was 2 to 3 weeks. The project wasn't completed for just over a month.

Not all equipment was received in the time that it could have been installed.

Some planned equipment wouldn't fit properly. Modifications to the type of equipment needed to be made. Due to the size of the Furnace Room, sometimes a shoe horn (or imaginative thinking) was in order to get the equipment to fit.

The electronic air cleaner was the wrong unit. Noticed at time of installation, the electronic air cleaner was the wrong type. A trip for a replacement needed to be made.

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* Although I would like the system to run perfectly out of the box, there is going to be a learning curve on my part.

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* I have heat and air conditioning! The blower in the new system runs very high. It forces so much air that it almost whistles coming out of the floor vents. I need to find some vents which won't whistle! This may need to be adjusted but I will tolerate it through the winter to get familiar with the system.

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* One other thing I learned. I like neatness with wiring. Even low voltage wires are in conduit piping. One problem with this however, I have been trying to get a handle on the temperature difference between the thermostat and a thermometer with 1 foot of each other.

* Well, when I ran the conduit piping, I ran it into the attic. I found that there is a nice blast of cold air which comes through the electrical box and plays havoc with the thermostat. For now, the thermostat is off the wall and sitting on a nearby shelving unit until I find a satisfactory remedy.

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* One of the benefits is that the 40 gallon hot water holding tank holds pre-heated water from the ground loop which feeds into the house 40 gallon gas hot water heater. This should further reduce the amount of natural gas consumed.

This has been nice! I actually turned down the temperature on the hot water heater a click or two in December 04. With the geothermal pre-heating the water, even during the winter, I am finding slightly hotter and longer lasting hot water!

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* In retrospect, I should have added radiant floor heat to augment the forced air system. On the very cold days it would be a benefit to have warm feet when walking on the tile flooring at least.

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