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Old 06-13-2012, 06:40 AM  
El Jefe El Jefe is offline
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Homeowners or construction workers of CP, lend me your ear!

My wife and I are going to be building a house in the near future (probably 2 years or so). We have been looking at all different types of new and cool things. I watched an episode of Dirty Jobs and Mike was on the job site of a construction company that installs geo-thermal heating and cooling systems under the house obviously prior to the house being built. They said this is very popular on the Left coast, but has moved into the Midwest also. The idea of it is simply interesting to me, I think it would be great to use the earths heating and cooling to cool my house. That being said, have any of you installed or had a system like this installed? If so, how great is it, how expenisve was it, would you recommend it?

Second question again for both types of CP'ers, can anyone share knowledge with me regarding wood burner boiler systems? We used a wood burining stove in our house when I lived at home. I watched some videos of those who have these wood burner boilers that heat their houses and garages efficiently. They put these things outside and then fill it with wood obviously and go from there. I heard you can get a 250 gallon or a 500 gallon burner, and you don't have to fill it with wood all the time because it's so big. The guy I talked with that has one lives in Cleveland Ohio which gets very cold in the winter and he said he has natural gas heating, but also had the wood boiler installed. He said he only used his natural gas a handful of times when it wasn't cold enough to warranty using the wood burner system. He said it has saved him a fortune. The reason I am really interested in this is because where we are going to build (still trying to work it out/fingers crossed) there is almost a limitless supply of firewood, and I have been cutting firewood all my life, so its free and its no big deal to do it.

inb4TLDR
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:Asking advice about installing a geothermal heating and cooling system when I build my house.
:I then ask about anyone who has knowledge on a wood burner boiler.
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:00 AM   #2
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:02 AM   #3
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My parents have a wood boiler system at their place, they use it to help heat their home, and their pool. The pool is about 66k gallons and the house is a little over 3500 square feet. Pretty large heating space in my opinion. Taking their heating area they're heating into consideration, I still have to arn you that those boiler systems are not a set it and forget it kind of thing. You may be running morning and evening duty filling the thing up. That may vary depending on the heated space, and even though it really doesn't heat their whole home, it does provide them a pretty good break on the electric bill... Just my 2 cents...
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:07 AM   #4
El Jefe El Jefe is offline
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Originally Posted by Red Beans View Post
My parents have a wood boiler system at their place, they use it to help heat their home, and their pool. The pool is about 66k gallons and the house is a little over 3500 square feet. Pretty large heating space in my opinion. Taking their heating area they're heating into consideration, I still have to arn you that those boiler systems are not a set it and forget it kind of thing. You may be running morning and evening duty filling the thing up. That may vary depending on the heated space, and even though it really doesn't heat their whole home, it does provide them a pretty good break on the electric bill... Just my 2 cents...
I don't have a problem with that, because a wood burning stove in the house gives you the same issues. You have to fill it up every morning and every night, and sometimes you have to revive it in the morning. I'm used to doing that.

Let me ask you, what's it like to have rich parents?
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:29 AM   #5
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:46 AM   #6
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I have experience with geothermal on a commercial level. We did a project last year with 72 wells on it for a National Guard facility.

You muust have your soils tested for thermal conductivity, so are not as suited. If you have shallow rock, etc. that will be an issue. You will typically find that you need one 300' well for every 1.5 tons of HVAC needed. Costs of drilling vary widely. One concern in the midwest is that sometimes you may need supplemental heating, but probably not in a home.

You MUST make sure you use an experienced and reputable contractor. It is possible to "burn out" your site if it is not designed properly. In other words you must extract about the same amount of cooling in the summer as you deposit heat in the winter, otherwise you will have problems down the line.

Here is a place to start: http://www.igshpa.okstate.edu/index.htm
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:09 AM   #7
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We install geo, its expensive up front, has government rebates, and in the long run you save money. If I could ever afford the up front costs, I'd be all over it.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:35 AM   #8
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I'll be building within the next year and I am of the belief that if you are building a house to stay a long time, it's a no brainer to install geothermal. I'm leaning that way very heavily with zones and the heated basement floor. Hot water is taken care of too.

With the rebates and incentives, it isn't really any higher than normal heating-cooling.

I'm not doing wood heat because I don't want to be cutting wood and stuffing it in an outdoor stove in Feb in 10 years.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:49 AM   #9
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If you're designing your own, build in a thermal mass: http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/...n/thermal.html

As a person who aspires to be a survivalist, I would build a thermal mass that contains a large quantity of sealed water. It would act as a thermal mass while also giving you a huge emergency water supply.*

*Note that I have no idea if this is feasible or if you end up being a mosquito breeding ground, but it seems like it would be possible.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:53 AM   #10
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While not necessarily energy-efficient, our biggest regrets in our kitchen remodel a few years ago are:

1. Not installing that in-floor heating wiring in our kitchen. Maybe it's just the configuration of our house, but the tile floor gets cold in the winter and the in-floor heating would have been pretty cheap.

2. I don't think my wife wanted this, but I missed the opportunity to build an automatic pet water system. Envision a weight pad on the floor in some out of the way corner where, when the pet steps on it, starts a downward-facing water fountain that goes into a little 12"x12" pool with automatic overflow drain. That would've been the coolest thing ever.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:59 AM   #11
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Geothermal is awesome but you must be certain you're staying in the house and it's not practical for tract homes simply because you'll never, ever get out of it on resale what you put into it if anything ever happens that requires you to sell. It costs in the tens of thousands so that's a lot of months and years to recoup that investment.
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:03 AM   #12
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Is geothermal the same thing as a heat pump?

When I replaced our furnace last year, I inquired about a heat pump and the contractor really didn't like the idea. I can't remember if his reasoning was more for return on investment or some technical reason in our house, though.
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:03 AM   #13
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Is geothermal the same thing as a heat pump?

When I replaced our furnace last year, I inquired about a heat pump and the contractor really didn't like the idea. I can't remember if his reasoning was more for return on investment or some technical reason in our house, though.
Not even close.
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:07 AM   #14
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We install geo, its expensive up front, has government rebates, and in the long run you save money. If I could ever afford the up front costs, I'd be all over it.
Are those rebated expiring soon?
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:13 AM   #15
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Not even close.
What's the difference?

And this is assuming that I don't live in Iceland.
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