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Hoover
05-07-2010, 09:14 AM
So we are building a house and must decide if we want to do a regular gas fired furnace or go with geothermal. They say it would cost us an additional $15k, but we would get some tax credits back. The home will be energy star rated and all that good stuff.

Anyone have this? Pros-Cons?

Thanks

Sofa King
05-07-2010, 09:19 AM
I deal with Utility (electrical) Billing, and everyone that i've talked to raves about geothermal. especially with a new house.. i don't have much for details other than that. expensive to start, but it saves them alot of money during cold months.

talastan
05-07-2010, 09:22 AM
Lots of cost upfront, lots of savings down the road. Not to mention a less likely fire hazard not having natural gas coming into the house. If I could afford it, I'd take it myself. My grandparents-in-law have Geothermal and they rave about the utility savings that they have. Just my $0.02

Brock
05-07-2010, 09:56 AM
I like the idea. Only you can determine if it's worth another 15k though.

patteeu
05-07-2010, 09:59 AM
How long do you expect to be in the house? If you're going to be there for the long haul and you can afford the upfront cost, it will pay for itself. If you're only going to be there a couple of years, you're unlikely to be able to price the house to get your money back.

I think it's a good idea and if you're ever going to do it, the time to do it is when you're building the house. My dad just did it at his existing house, but he couldn't justify it on the basis of cost/benefit because there's a decent chance he'll die before the system pays for itself. He just did it because he worked for an electric utility and he's always wanted to do it so it's kind of like a hobby indulgence for him.

patteeu
05-07-2010, 10:03 AM
If you do it, make sure you map out the area where the system is buried so you don't dig it up accidentally at some point in the future and so that you can inform any future owners of your house. The guys who you call before you dig so that they'll come out and mark utilities lines (electric, gas, telephone, etc.) won't mark your home system.

jspchief
05-07-2010, 10:05 AM
How long do you expect to be in the house? If you're going to be there for the long haul and you can afford the upfront cost, it will pay for itself. If you're only going to be there a couple of years, you're unlikely to be able to price the house to get your money back.



This sums it up. Like many higher end upgrades to a home, the value comes from keeping the house longer.

Buehler445
05-07-2010, 10:06 AM
Do you know what the tax credit is? From what I understand the tax credit for the green renovations/building supplies is capped at $1500.

Talk to an accountant and make sure you know exactly what is going on. I don't know the specifics, but if it is an itemized deduction and you can only claim $1500, you will only get whatever your taxation percentage of $1500 is. And if you take a standard deduction, you would get nothing.

Again, I don't know the specifics. Talk to your accountant and determine if it is just a check like the first time home buyer deal is or if it is a deduction and find out what the cap is. If you're going to count on any tax relief on it, make damn sure you know exactly what is going on.

Lzen
05-07-2010, 10:19 AM
Huh, interesting. I was curious so I found this.

http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/heating_cooling/geothermal.html

NewChief
05-07-2010, 10:31 AM
I grew up in a hugely energy inefficient home of about 4,000 sq.ft. My parents utility bills were around $600 a month. They went to geothermal and zoned thermostat controls, and their bills dropped to around $130 a month. It doesn't take too long to recoup your costs with that kind of savings.

That's an extreme example, and the zoned controls were a huge part of it (because when I grew up we all lived in the house and had to heat/cool the entire thing. They made this switch after my brothers and I moved out, so half the house was empty the majority of the time, allowing them to stop heating and cooling it)... but still. That's a pretty crazy amount of savings.

Phobia
05-07-2010, 11:27 AM
My answer is "yes" but I'll admit I haven't put one in for a client yet. If I ever build my own house, there is no doubt in my mind.

chris
05-07-2010, 11:40 AM
So we are building a house and must decide if we want to do a regular gas fired furnace or go with geothermal. They say it would cost us an additional $15k, but we would get some tax credits back. The home will be energy star rated and all that good stuff.

Anyone have this? Pros-Cons?

Thanks


We are building a house in Wisconsin.

Geothermal was the plan; now we are looking at solar boilers to heat the floors on those cold winter nights.

Do you have room for solar panels?

NewChief
05-07-2010, 11:43 AM
We are building a house in Wisconsin.

Geothermal was the plan; now we are looking at solar boilers to heat the floors on those cold winter nights.

Do you have room for solar panels?

My parents ran heating coils in their floors (of a bathroom addition that was done at the same time the geothermal system was installed, not the existing structure) as part of their geothermal system.

Stevie.Wonder
05-07-2010, 12:51 PM
How long do you expect to be in the house? If you're going to be there for the long haul and you can afford the upfront cost, it will pay for itself. If you're only going to be there a couple of years, you're unlikely to be able to price the house to get your money back.

I think it's a good idea and if you're ever going to do it, the time to do it is when you're building the house. My dad just did it at his existing house, but he couldn't justify it on the basis of cost/benefit because there's a decent chance he'll die before the system pays for itself. He just did it because he worked for an electric utility and he's always wanted to do it so it's kind of like a hobby indulgence for him.

To me, with the latter post a few down, says it all.

It's a bit of a bitch up front, but once it's paid off it's free.

If $$$ is your thing, weigh your options. If otherwise, just do it.

Mr. Laz
05-07-2010, 01:03 PM
How long do you expect to be in the house? If you're going to be there for the long haul and you can afford the upfront cost, it will pay for itself. If you're only going to be there a couple of years, you're unlikely to be able to price the house to get your money back.

I think it's a good idea and if you're ever going to do it, the time to do it is when you're building the house. My dad just did it at his existing house, but he couldn't justify it on the basis of cost/benefit because there's a decent chance he'll die before the system pays for itself. He just did it because he worked for an electric utility and he's always wanted to do it so it's kind of like a hobby indulgence for him.yep

Hoover
05-07-2010, 01:31 PM
Thanks guys.

Here is my thinking.

1. I'm already taking out a big ass loan, another $15k isn't going to kill us.
2. I'm going to kick myself in the ass the first time I get a $400 electric bill and think that it could have been $150.
3. I'm going to go without a few other things. I'm not putting on a deck or finishing the basement right away. Maybe Phil needs a reason to come up to the Des Moines area...
4. The house will be energy star rated, so I'll get a rebate from MidAmerican for around $2k.
5. In addition I will get a tax credit equal to 30% of total system cost.

So I think its the way to go.

Groves
05-07-2010, 02:18 PM
Use it as an excuse to build the pond of your dreams.

You can run the ground loops in the pond instead of vertical loops or huge trenches with horizontal loops.

Efficient heating/cooling and fish caught on your own pond? Double-win.

patteeu
05-07-2010, 03:04 PM
Use it as an excuse to build the pond of your dreams.

You can run the ground loops in the pond instead of vertical loops or huge trenches with horizontal loops.

Efficient heating/cooling and fish caught on your own pond? Double-win.

This is a really good idea if you've got a spot for a pond.

bowener
05-07-2010, 03:11 PM
Since it is not a fire hazard, will it also drop the cost on home owners insurance at all? Just curious...

bowener
05-07-2010, 03:14 PM
Thanks guys.

Here is my thinking.

1. I'm already taking out a big ass loan, another $15k isn't going to kill us.
2. I'm going to kick myself in the ass the first time I get a $400 electric bill and think that it could have been $150.
3. I'm going to go without a few other things. I'm not putting on a deck or finishing the basement right away. Maybe Phil needs a reason to come up to the Des Moines area...
4. The house will be energy star rated, so I'll get a rebate from MidAmerican for around $2k.
5. In addition I will get a tax credit equal to 30% of total system cost.

So I think its the way to go.

Well, not to mention future resale value of your home will be better because of this as well. A lot easier to sell a house that is dirt cheap by comparison on a monthly basis.

Since you are energy star does this mean you are using the electric water heaters? Would cut gas out of your house almost entirely, depending upon your kitchen I suppose.

edit:

I know it is not the same system, but 5 years ago or so my step dad dropped a large amount of money, I believe it was near $10K, on a top-of-the-line central air/heat pump unit for their home to replace a 35+ year old system. I remember the monthly payments for the new unit ended up being cheaper than the monthly heating/cooling bill of the old system, and once the monthly utility bill was added in the total monthly cost of the new unit was almost exactly the same. After 18 months or so the ****ing thing literally paid for itself... pretty sweet how efficiency works out.

thawk
05-07-2010, 03:42 PM
Hoover, What kind of geo system are you looking at? Will it be on a water well or are you going closed loop. Well systems are great. Closed loop systems are also if they are figured and installed properly. Ask if it is going to be virticle bore or horizontal loops. Verticle bore by far superior to horizontal in my opinion. Need around 400ft of pipe per ton of cooling if using verticle bore. I figure about 600ft per ton if horizontal. Other people say you dont need that much pipe but mine always work and work well at very high SEER ratings.Hopefully this info will help you be a informed consumer and yes as a HVAC dealer they are worth the extra money unless you are going to sell the house in a very short period of time.

Chief Roundup
05-07-2010, 04:18 PM
I have put in several of them. I am a HVACR licensed technician. I do not like them. They are cost prohibitive. Depending on the type you get you may have to drill a well per ton of the size of unit. If it is a 5 ton unit you will probably have to have 5 wells drilled. So you will also be running 5 well pumps. You will also have to consider the changes in your breaker box and wire. There are lots of other things about them. They generally have trouble with the relay stacks. They are a pain to test and figure out which relay it bad. Then the majority of the time you have to replace the whole stack.
If it was me I would use a Hardy outside wood burning stove. You can not only heat your house, you can heat your floors, pool, and your domestic hot water, shop, etc. I would pair that with a 90+% furnace with a heat pump. They call this a triple fuel.
You can also get the same tax credits, especially if you got with a 15 seer rating or higher. And you can put in 2 complete systems like this for the price of one Geo. And you will have less headaches.
That is from my 6 yrs. experience. I have an epa and duct card and am licensed too.

Did you know that unless you are getting this work done within city limits you do not have to have licenses in the state of Missouri.
I would also ask who the inspector in your area is and have it inspected.
The duct work in your house should be sealed up air tight or you will be losing money on your investment.