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  #1  
Old 3rd February 2006
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Question Any Geothermal Knowledge Out There

I am building a new home in the spring, complete with a 36x24 foot garage. Looking into the advantages of installing a geothermal unit for heating and cooling. I was wondering if anyone out there has any experience with this technology?

My biggest question is the upfront cost vs. the long term pay-off. Lots of information on the net about long term benefits, not much about short term expense. What about reliability?

Soon to be broke-

SD
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Old 3rd February 2006
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I may be wrong on this, but hasn't your current head of state done this at there ranch?
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  #3  
Old 3rd February 2006
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Installed geothermal or gone broke? It would be the 1st I've heard of geo at his Crawford place, but if he did I'd bet he got a good deal . Probably has an oil well that runs on solar though.

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Old 3rd February 2006
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Are you refering to a heat pump or do you have a hot spring in the back yard?

If it is a heat pump, I would use solar cells to drive a heat pump, with a bank of batteries, as most heat is used when the sun is down.
Then you have choices of whether to use a well (vertical) or a leaching field for the expansion, heat exchanger. Or a combination.
If you're from the mid west, I would also get an automatic feed, corn furnace. Grow you own fuel. Cheaper than pellets, and you can pop it if you're ever hungry.
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Old 3rd February 2006
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Much of this depends on your soil conditions, water table and quality, climate and availability of fuels..

The future is what you should design for, and that is sophisticated computer controls, some, or a lot of solar gain and modern fuels such as corn , wood, even coal...and of course, geo-thermal...
Note - no dino fuels. The time will come, maybe within 20 years that oil can no long be burned...
Maybe natural gas in certain areas...
Then you should employ the service of a good HVAC engineer to design the system. Assure that he possesses intelligence and is forward thinking..
I hold that a man could "almost heat a house with a candle", but that the cost could be too high !
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Old 6th February 2006
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Much of this depends on your soil conditions, water table and quality, climate and availibiity of fuels..
Where I am building has a high water table and good soil (i.e.not very sandy or rocky).

Quote:
If you're from the mid west, I would also get an automatic feed, corn furnace
I live in Iowa. Corn stoves are flying off of store floors. The furnaces, as I understand, have a little more refining to go as far as efficiency. A relative of mine fabricated his own heat exchanger as the supplied version was allowing too much energy out the exhaust. Only costs him about 55 US dollars a month to heat his house(Ave Temp in December was 15 F).
Quote:
Then you should employ the service of a good HVAC engineer to design the system.
I have an appointment tomorrow to look into it.

Thanks for the input!
SD
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Old 6th February 2006
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I'm looking at a solar heat exhchanger for hot water, there's a fair bit on the net, it's kinda like putting a black radiator on your roof then pumping water between it and your hot water tank.
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I'd love to do this...

solar century

If all the south facing facades and roofs in the UK were covered with such product then during the day we'd not need power stations, can you imagine that? idling Sizewell until nighttime and bye-bye Drax! The collapse of the energy making sector, bankrupt Mr Burns , unless he's smart enough to make the tiles.
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Old 6th February 2006
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My parents have just had a house built using under floor heating and a heat exhange pump with more pipe buried outside. The heat pump comes from Sweden . So if it works in a Swedish winter, Ireland's weather should be a breeze. I didn't look into it too deeply but I think it works like a reverse fridge there's an aqeous solution constanly circulating and your pulling 4 to 5 degrees c from the soil outside. You need underfloor heating because radiators don't provide enough surface area to work it properly, but then the costs for a new build are only slightly higher than fitting a central heating system, provided you have enough land to lay the pipe outside (approx 1/4 of an acre) it seems a no brainer. As for costs in the depths of winter here it's about 100 per month to heat a family sized home to 30C constantly, which is a lot less than the alternatives, heating oil in a boiler, or electric heater & open fires. The energy usage is only what the pump needs so it much better for the enviroment too.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Last_straw
As for costs in the depths of winter here it's about 100 per month to heat a family sized home to 30C constantly,
I run this house at 18C all year around, if it feels cold put on another layer!

I've put in some underfloor heating, under marble floor tiles as it happens, I can recommend this.
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  #11  
Old 6th February 2006
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Quote:
but then the costs for a new build are only slightly higher than fitting a central heating system,
I wouldn't say slightly. After it is all said and done its double (based on what I've been told). Having said that the difference will pay for itself if given enough time. Especially with the uncertainty in the fossil department. So I need to weigh the options. I have a little over 1/3 of an acre. Probably do a vertical loop system. A radiant floor set up would be ideal, but seems to me Ive seen a geo set up with some type of forced air as well. Cool...Just what I need is more things to think about.The simplicity of my camp tent is starting to look very appealing.

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Old 6th February 2006
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I suggest two publications. Home Power magazine and Backwoods Home magazine. BWH has a bit more survivalist approach, but it is still quality and loaded w/ info. You may try Mother Earth News but it is a bit preachy.

As far as pellet stoves go, I have heard mixed things. I know someone locally who has one who says that it sucks. They say the heat is not very satisfying. Others rave about them. I think Dirk and Ashli have one (Diggler and Rollergirl). You may ask them.

I really spent a lot of time looking into this and solar after Katrina and Rita. But it's just too cost prohibitive for me at the moment. People spend upwards of $15k on these systems and they require a bit of investment in time as well. I've read planty about people who thought they spent plenty on perfect systems only to spend quite a bit of time running off a diesel generator. I sincerely HOPE it gets off the ground though. Of course, w/o the high cost of oil, we'd be furthur up...uh...a creek here in Louisiana. As many people here are making money as are losing it.
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  #13  
Old 6th February 2006
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This is a great thread, i was thinking about building an under ground bunker/room and this was going to one of the big problems, a renewable stable long term low servicing power supply, i thought wind power was a good option but solar cells are probably the best all round.

Do you plan on storing your power in the forum in batteries or heat?
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Old 7th February 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ragtopcav
I run this house at 18C all year around, if it feels cold put on another layer!
Sorry I didn't explain that very well, the flow temperature is 30, the ambient air temp is around 24. Still on the hot side but I was amazed how little that cost them to run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saabador_Dali
I wouldn't say slightly. After it is all said and done its double (based on what I've been told).
That sounds about right, if you're talking about the whole system, digging the hole to bury the pipes outside isn't cheap. I mean't underfloor heating costs about the same as radiators, provided you aren't retro fitting to an existing build.
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