Residential Geothermal Systems

residential geothermal systems

residential geothermal systems
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What is the process to install a geothermal heat exchange system for residential heating and ac?

Our home is in Minnesota and was built in 1907. We heat our house with a gas/forced-air furnace (less than 10-years old) and seek information on how we might retrofit to a geothermal heating and cooling system. How much a pool or coil is needed per sq/ft of heated/cooled interior space ? Is the installation expensive?

For starters as far as retrofitting. The only certain significant change in the house will be the introduction of a electric duct heater, above the actual furnace. They both will go in the spot that your old furnace occupied. The duct heater is usually installed only as a backup to the geo unit and to provide fast heat or additional heat on cold days. You may be able to use the existing ducting or part of it. Your local geo dealer will be able to tell you when he does his site survey.
The type of loop you use, will depend on the site. There are several types for different property layouts and resources.
1/ A closed lake loop. Line out in a lake and back. Gaining acceptance now, as materials used in the loop are more enviro freindly, but you will likely still need approval from your municipality. Relatively cheap to install.
2/ Horizontal loop. A series of trenches on your property, connected at a header trench, dug below frost line. Not as cheap as a lake loop and requires a good size parcel of land.
3/ Vertical loop. A series of wells, drilled on your property, connected together with a header trench to below frost level.. The most expensive loop as a well driller is involved. Generally these loops go to 500 feet and return. Not much land is needed, can be put into the space of an average subdivision home’s driveway.
4/ Open well loop. The cheapest solution of all the loops as a rule. It requires an existing water well that can produce at a minmum, 16 gallons per minute without running dry. You need that much to still be able to use the heat pump and for your domestic water needs. You also need a enviro freindly place, for the discharge water to go. It will be a different temperature than the surroundings, so you may need a municipal approval to go this route. By the way, if the discharge goes to your pond, forget about stocking it later with trout. We had a customer do this with $10,000 of rainbow. I guess he wasn’t thinking and had some cooked fish in days.
Before you invest much time or effort in this, take a good look at what your current energy costs are and how long you plan to be in the home. You likely will save money going geo, but it may not pay itself back in the timeframe you need to make it worthwhile.
How much piping will be needed for your house? Generally, for a 2,000 square foot home, you’ll need to run between 1300 – 1800 feet of pipe, depending on how damp the ground conditions are. The damper the better. A lake loop that’s well below ice to avoid damage, requires the least pipe. A vertical or horizontal loop in sandy soil, generally the most pipe. The size of the actual furnace for a home that size is around a 3 ton unit.
To get an idea of price, you’ll have to get a dealer in to discuss your options. I’ve seen these go in, from 14 thousand canadian dollars to 30 thousand dollars.
I found a link at an old co worker’s web site that may help you, it’s an installation manual in pdf form and contains a lot of useful info
Hope this all helps. They are a good idea if your payback for them can be justified. I think Water Furnace will likely have a tool on their site to help you calculate your local energy savings, or even perhaps your local electrical utility will have one online.

DX & Conventional Geothermal by GeoLogic Heating Systems of Ottawa Ontario Canada