Experienced GeoExchange?
January 2, 2006 6:45 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone had experience with geothermal heat pumps? My gas bills are crazy high.

I know it would be a lot more expensive than replacing the boiler (it's getting old and will probably need replacement soon anyway), but part of the attraction is being able to cut down on carbon emissions. Is this a viable heat source, and if so, how do I find contractors who will give a quote? (Poking around pretty extensively, I've only been able to find one in the NYC area so far.)
posted by rikschell to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ground water source in Oklahoma. Good aquafer at 160 feet, pond to dump outflow into. Reasonable electricity costs (now.)

Negatives - hard water, we go through water pumps more often than I would like. - Slow turn around. If we come in and it's cold, we can't get a blast of hot air to warm us up fast.

Positives - No outdoors sound - No clogging filters from cottonwood trees - no flames

We have electric resistance back-up that we have used occasionally. We have passive solar gain in the winter. We keep our thermostat settings moderate. (We also buy wind power from our electric company, which by the way is a penny or two cheaper than gas generated electricity so our emission load on this earth is lower.)

Yes it is viable but it isn't everyone's answer,
posted by leafwoman at 7:11 PM on January 2, 2006

Everyone I know who has geothermal here in my part of Kentucky loves it. I have it in my 2600+ square foot house, and my electric bill for December was $48.00.

By comparison, my grandmother's gas bill for her approximately 1000 square foot house, 10 miles from where I live, was $300 in December.

The setup I have is the kind with the pipes in the ground. Around here, this type of system costs several thousand dollars more than a regular electric furnace and heat pump.
posted by JeffL at 7:26 PM on January 2, 2006

If you live in a cold climate you may need another source of heat in addition to the heat pump. To get your air up to 70 from the 55 or so ground temperature. You can go with a much smaller unit that you would have otherwise however...

Another advantage is that you can usually use the heat pump to cool in the summer as well.
posted by jacobsee at 7:34 PM on January 2, 2006

Good article in yesterday's New York Times:

Heat From the Earth to Warm Your Hearth

posted by WestCoaster at 8:37 PM on January 2, 2006

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