Final Thoughts on ohe System and the Project
After running this system for almost 4 full years, here are the things that I have noticed.
Summer: Electric bills during the summer are CHEAP... I can make the house a freezer in the Summer and bills are cheap. You can see this play out on the "Electric Bill" section. In this area, the St. Louis, MO region, summers are always in the 90's with many days of 100 degree temperatures.
Winter: This is where your electric bill will zoom up. These systems are not as efficient for heating purposes. Winters can see temperatures drop into the teens or single digits for days on end. My system can hold 70 degrees when the outside temperature is in the teens. When the temperature drops in the single digits, I've seen the house temperature drop to 67 degrees. Not good. Also, the system will run constantly. Of course, the old propane system did the same thing. Looks like I need new Windows and Doors.
There is another issue in this. Since the loops "had" air in them, they floated in the water and never fully imbedded in the mud. The bottom of the pond should be about 50 degrees. By the time the loops hit the house, the temperature in them was 38 degrees. I think the 12 degree drop was due to the loops free floating in the water and NOT being embedded in the mud. I'm expecting better results this year. I'm writing this on October 31st, 2012.
The only service I had to do to the system was to unblock a clogged condensation line. The system has performed very very well.
I typically do not have the time to devote to big projects like this. In fact, it’s the only project (not including projects at work) of this size that I have undertaken in a long time. I was about due to tackle something like this.
I formally started the project on March 27th, 2008 when I got certified for Fusion Welding. The Loops arrived shortly thereafter and I actually started working on them in early May of 2008. The GSHP was installed on Friday October 10th and finally operational on Monday October 13th, 2008. The delay was due to the fact that I had to order long rubber pipes from the Pumps to the GSHP. The installer had them in a 10’ length; but, I needed 25’.
If you do not finish projects… this is not for you. If you like to get really busy and stay really busy, this project is for you and you can do this quicker than I. If you finish projects; but, it takes a bit longer… this project is for you.
Would I do this project again? Definitely. The last two months got stressful when I could not rent stuff in a timely manner and information was hard to come by to buy various items. Also, some of the “surprises” were hard to deal with and added certain emotional set backs that were hard to deal with after awhile.
With any project, it is easier to handle things if you break things up in manageable pieces. Most of the pieces can be done in sections… A way to look at this is: You’ll need to understand what you have now with regards to your AC/Furnace and if that same size will continue to work for you. From there, size your GSHP. This means that you’ll have to look at some potential units and understand what they do and what they need. From here, you can get a good ball park on your electrical, ventilation (Do all of the rooms feel OK?) and Loops needs. On the electrical side, you will get to unplug your existing AC/Heating system and “reuse” those slots for the GSHP…
These portions of the project are generally cheaper and can happen at a leisurely pace. So, if you need to break things up either by time or by money (or both), these are the places to do it. Once you start getting to the Pumps/Flow Center and GSHP, you are getting near the end. From there, you are really only talking hours to finish up… not including time for Flushing the system. Have a vendor install your GSHP. That way, they can double check your Loops, electricity, Pumps/Flow Center, Ventilation work. Also, if there are warranties involved, you are covered.
For this project, I decided not to do the ventilation, electric sub-panel or the installation of the GSHP unit. Having someone double check everything was worth the price. Do not allow yourself to get rushed or forced into decisions that you do not feel comfortable with. Take your time.
Although I did not spell out everything that you will need to do in detail, I did try to convey a decent idea of what it will take you to do this and the cost involved. I threw some pictures in for good measure.
For this project, the things I need to clean up are:
1. Find and fix the leak in the Red Loop. The digging will be bad; but, I’ll also have to break the Goodyear line, put an air value in, reconnect with brass, and re-pressurize the line. I do not have a good solve for this yet. I "may" try to pull it out to the point of where I welded it. I just do not know how hard it will be to
pull it through 80 feet of dirt... So, I still thinking about this. It's 2013 and I still keep thinking about it. :-)
2. There is too much temperature variation on the inbound Loop, I need to go out in the summer and bury the Loop lines (that lead to the coils) better in the mud. This will be easy. (fixed)
3. June 2010 - I noticed that one of the loops was "floating" about 10ft below the surface recently. This tells me that there is air in the line. The flush cart did not get
all of the air out. I'm going to have to add an "air" collector with bleed valve in the house this summer. (fixed)
October 31st, 2012 - Yeah, this took a little bit to get to. Regarding #2 & #3... These are essentially fixed. I think the temperature variation had to do with the
Loops floating on the water. When the loops floated, it told me there was too much air in them... If the Loops were floating, it told me that they were NOT buried in
the mud and taking on the temperature of the water around them... So, I had to get the air out of the loops. Today, I was finally successful in doing so. As winter
starts to set in, I should see higher inbound temperature readings. The Winter incoming water readings were 3-4 degrees warmer.
Enclosed is my e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you do your own system and this helped, let me know about. I would like to hear from anyone that knows a lot about pressure, pressure drops, and foot of head pressure as it relates to Geos.
This is (basically) the finished product. You have the nice pretty water heater to the right. You can see the orange electrical input (left) and if you look closely next to it, you can see the yellow electrical feed to the pumps. (The installers should have put this in conduit.) This yellow wire is the same circuit feeding the pumps. The white Goodyear Washdown hose goes to/from the pumps. Above that, the copper tubing is for the desuperheater. The “converter” box for the thermostat is a small white box at the top of the picture mounted on the ventilation system. The crumpled up electrical wire is for another project.
October 31st, 2012 - Regarding that crumpled up electrical wire. I could not for the life of me figure where that came from. I finally decided to take care of it and used it as a
circuit in a utility closet. Turned off electricity, snaked wire to appropriate closet, wired it up... then started turning each breaker back on.... The wire was left over from the
old propane furnace for the blower motor... When the installers put in the new unit, they cast the old (live!) wire aside. It is now fixed!