The high cost of geo systems, a must read!
Hello — Glad to hear you’re busy – thanks for answering —
I installed my own ground loop & 4-ton Command Air in 1988. After a burn-out in 1998, I put in a new 4-ton Command Air w/scroll compressor. All the time hooked into my original loop, consisting of 4-each 500′ loops hooked in parallel, with two Grundfos pumps in series, giving me aprox 12 gpm. the compressor typically locks-out a few times in January, but this year it had been a plague, with me having to reset at least once a day — have been considering putting a 1 hour time delay triggered by the lockout relay.
I sent for a digital temperature probe. So I need to take some accurate temp and pressure drop measurements. After I get that done, I may need some serious advice as to how to proceed. My sense is that there is a lot of bad ‘expert’ info out there. I put in my original system (do-it-yourself) in 1988 for $3,599. My new pump & air-handler in 1998 was approx $4,000. Now, just to replace my heat pump (using my old air-handler) I got a quote of 10K!! Nobody wants to sell me direct any more — my wholesaler is apparently too rich!
The reason no one wants to sell me a unit ( and I see a lot of them for sale on EBAY) is that they are protecting their dealers, who are ripping-off the customer with outrageous prices. I think the high cost of putting in geothermal is killing the industry. The ROI is very long compared to an air-source system. Wells here are about 2K per hole.
The GeoGuy says:
Ok, Dear Sir,
You have already answered your own questions. A heat pump should never trip out except upon something going wrong. Is that clear? I have to ask that again. A heat pump should never trip out,especially every day! Is that clear?
Your ground loop is seriously undersized, even catastrophically undersized, proof of which is you are on your third compressor, the first of which should still be running since 1988.
500 ft loops per ton is so inadequate, try a minimum of 800 ft depending on your local thermal conductivity.
And then your rant about prices…priceless.
I’ve been installing leading edge geo systems, not your typical ones, since 1998 and contractors struggle to get 20% markup on heat pumps, which often includes warranty allowance, overhead, delivery, etc because we have to compete with low cost furnaces and boilers. I agree prices are too high BUT:
Your anger should be directed to where it belongs.
In 1988 oil was $16 a barrel, gold was $400 on its way to $200, A brand new Honda Civic was $6,000 and a house cost $80k. A Boeing 747 was $60 million, now it’s $300 million. Blame your very own government for ruthlessly printing money and stealing your wealth through inflation, not your fellow working class trying to feed their family.
The reason no one wants to sell you a unit is that they will only get a warranty claim from you, not a profit. A big geo issue is training contractors to install properly sized systems so these issues don’t occur.
You could send me some system pics and $100 to my paypal account on my website and I would be able to advise you on how to add to your ground loop and rearrange your pumping arrangement to get you running in the sweet spot.
Let me know what the loop temps are. I’m guessing 24/28 deg F when they should be closer to 34/40. The delta T should be 6 deg F in most cases.