Geothermal HVAC in Rural Western New York State

white710September 29, 2004

Greetings all - I'll soon be building a residence in Western New York State - south of Buffalo area - and am considering geothermal technology for our heating system. It gets pretty cold here in the winter and summers are typical NE summers. The land has a 2 acre pond that is about 8 feet deep at its deepest point and plenty of lawn and woods.

Is it feasible to have such a system as my primary and only heating system in this climate? What needs to be considered and completed to make it work properly? Any recommendations on installers and manufacturers?


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Yes, it's possible to make it work in any climate I know of. The limitations you might be thinking of affect heat pumps, not geothermal which is unaffected by the outside air temperature and humidity. Provided you size it properly, you can provide all the heat/cooling needed.

As for considerations... It's more expencive to install than any other system I've seen, but it can work as both heat and air conditioning which makes it a more economical. You will also need some kind of excavation on site for the wells/ground loop, but if you're building a house it's likely you will have the equipement needed on site at some point and can have the work done for less. Burrying a ground loop could be combined with landscaping even.

You can also use large ammounts of water for the heat sink, as I expect you know from reading your post. I don't know as much about it, but I think it's cheaper to install when you use water. Just be careful what is used in the coolant loop as it could leak and dammage the pond life.

Unfortunatly I can't recomend any installers or manufacturers as I've no personal experience with any, but if you do install geothermal I'm sure many people here would be interested to hear who installed it, what brand you used and how it went, as it seems a number of people are turning up here asking about it.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2004 at 3:47PM
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Cold place for that type of heat exchanger. Might work depending on many factors. Be sure to check local codes, taking things out really sucks. Try to find a loop installer that has done this--done in your area would be even better. Use a local company to install equipment with water source exerience.

If you are in a rural area and have a good well a better path might be to simply go water source and send run off water to bottom of pond--if local codes permit.

Use IGSHPA as a resource

Here is a link that might be useful: IGSHPA

    Bookmark   November 24, 2004 at 5:56PM
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I'm not an expert but I think in that cold you might need
a heat assist of some type (electric, propane etc.)
Mary, NE

    Bookmark   December 9, 2004 at 11:58AM
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Geothermal will work anywhere - without a back up heat assist. The reason, underground the temperature is constant. With a regular heat pump, the heat pump pulls heat out of the air and brings it into your home. So when the temperature goes below a certain point, it needs a backup system - the dreaded "blue light". We dread it because it means high expensive electricity is being used to heat your home.

That doesn't happen with a Geothermal System. It doesnt' get that cold underground. It's usually about 57 degrees F down there and the heat pump works great, never really needing your back up system.

I know all this because I'm having a home built right now and I had the builder put in a Geothermal Ground Loop System. Of course he subcontracted it out, but I didn't mind because he did get someone familiar with installing them.

The system I'm getting is an Advanced Geothermal System. It's what they call a DX system - a Direct Exchange. The copper pipes carry the refrigerant down into the ground loops where the temperature changes it from gas to liquid, or from liquid to gas - depending on what mode the system is operating in - heating or cooling.

Regular ground loops systems carry water down into the ground loops and then exchanges it with the refrigerant onces it gets back into the main part of the system. So it does two exchangese - while the DX system only does one (its much more efficient).

One other good point to make is that the air heated by a DX Ground loop system is about 100 degrees F. So what comes out of your vents feels warm. A regulare heat pump's air is only a few degrees warmer than the air so that air feels cool all the time.

For more information - check out the link associated with this post. And don't forget to check out their links.

Good luck with your Geothermal System. I wish the Gov't would push these systems more - they are so darn effecient they'll reduce our dependency on foreign oil very quickly.


Here is a link that might be useful: Advanced Geothermal Technology

    Bookmark   February 21, 2005 at 10:17PM
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There is a geothermal company in Canandaigua that may fit your needs. I talked with the president at a trade show and he seemed very knowledgeable. Their website is

Good luck,

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 6:58PM
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i live in ontario canada..where is gets cold...i have h ad a geothermal unit (water furnace) for about 12 years flawlessly

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 10:40PM
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Geothermal systems work great in Western, NY. Our company has installed hundreds through the region with great success. Currently, we are installing a system in Buffalo for a college that is over 200 tons. We have installed all types of systems, but in your case with a pond of this size it would work great for your ground loop. If interested contact me at 716-969-8520 and I would like to help you with any questions that you might have.

Here is a link that might be useful: Caster Drilling Enterprises

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 3:02PM
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If the pond is 8ft. deep at its deepest, it may not deep enough to do a pond loop.

Caveat Emptor!



    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 8:40PM
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