TETCO Geothermal Heatpumps??

rychncJune 14, 2006


I was about to give up on geothermal until I discovered TETCO brand heat pumps. TETCO appears to be 50% less expensive than Water Furnance. I can get one 4 Ton and one 5 Ton unit for less than $9K combined. Seems too good to be true. Anyone experienced with TETCO?

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Hell rychnc.

I just committed on a three ton Climatemaster Tranquility for $7400. I am not familiar with the TETCO brand products.

I would just suggest that you study this very closely, make sure that you know all the details of pricing (do they have lots of add-ons or is their warranty extremely pricey, that kind of thing) and see if you can find out about repair frequency and cost. Is the dealer well-established? You can find out about his business record through city records and perhaps BBB, and he should have a local reputation.

Surpisingly, the competition might have candid observations. Tell the Waterfurnace guy you just can't afford his product, and ask what he knows about TETCO. If it's quality competition to him he might want to start carrying it. (Or he might send you packing, who knows!)

But remember that sometimes startup outfits try to enter the market with price competition, but have to compromise the quality of their product and sometimes end up not surviving long enough to service the product. (Remember the Yugo?)

Good luck and best wishes,


    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 4:29PM
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Thanks for the great advice. I will call Water Furnace and see what they think of TETCO. From what I can tell they have been in business for over 10 years. The DYI geothermal company http://www.arit.com/ uses their equipment. I like the concept of a "plug and play" geothermal. Thanks again. Any other opinions?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 9:49PM
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Geothermal heat pumps are NOT "plug and play". Get it wrong and it will be more like Plug & PayÂ! This is NOT installing a central vac.

Caveat Emptor!


    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 5:13PM
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Please review http://www.arit.com/

What specifically is wrong in their approach? Having the piping prefilled and ready to be plugged into the units is a BETTER approach and saves time than filling the piping on site.

It is NOT FAIR that HVAC companies and Water Furnance in particular are jointly charging $$$$ for technology that is not rocket science. In some ways it is SIMPLER than air-based heatpumps. I am tired of receiving quotations for $70-$125K for something that should be inline with STANDARD heating and cooling systems.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 6:33PM
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It's completely "fair" for them to charge what ever they feel the market will support. As a consumer, you are free to use their product and service or find an alternative.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 2:50PM
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rycnhc, If your looking at the whole geothermal system from arit I have one. I installed it last fall. I have a 3 ton and a 2 ton unit. I'm satisfied so far. I had a Carrier propane furnace and A/C before. If you would like more info on my experience let me know. Good luck Steve

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 10:59PM
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I guess I shouldn't have raised my voice. You are right they can set their own prices. My point was that more people would be using geothermal if there were real competition in the industry.

stephenwv10 - Thanks for the offer! Plase send me an email by clicking on my screen name above. I will reply with a few questions concerning TETCO and arit. If you would rather just comment using this thread that is fine too. Let me know. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 12:06AM
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Hello, I just installed a Tectco "ARIT" system 3 ton ESII series with a 5 ton manifold myself. Everything checks out fine. Will ad the upstairs unit in the fall. Seems to be good sound unit from Tetco. ARIT's directions and support a little fuzzy/slow. I had Waterfurnace price me and they came up with about $27,000 for a 3 ton downstairs and a 2 ton upstairs. Another local company "Davis heating and air" quoted an unbelievable price of $52,000. As of now I have about $9,000 in the system for everything including new grass seed. It's worth it to do it yourself.

Anyone know what the nominal manifold pressure gage reading should be with auto fill installed for a five ton manifold?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 6:41PM
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I can't hardley believe the price quotes I am reading, I am building a new 1800 + sq-ft home and the complete price package is less than 15K (from a established contractor). I am in NW Ohio, possibly your location is the problem. I may be speaking prematurely, as I have yet to recieve the estimate in writing, but I should have that by the end of next week.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 11:42AM
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It is rape and pillage in my area. The big guys charge what they want and BRAG how expensive it is.

For you TETCO customers what are you using? open or closed loops? any well installs?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 8:57PM
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I installed my first Tetco geothermal heat extractor ( I don't like the term "heat pump") in 1981 and have installed several since then. I installed my latest Tetco yesterday and ordered another today. I recently repaired one that was installed improperly. It was actually a chiller installed backwards so the heat exchanger couldn't be cleaned. It worked flawlessly for 18 years until it litterally rusted away. I was able to get all of the original parts and an upgraded compressor. Tetco is owned by a company that makes the hard internal components (heat exchangers)and sells them to other manufacturers. I learned long ago to buy good products and not shop for warranties. Warranties are written by lawyers to protect the manufacturer and not the customer.

good luck

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 11:27AM
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Anyone else have experence with Tetco and/or ARIT ? Prices here in N.Central Mich. are $15,000 to $25,000 installed in a 1000 sq. foot new home. This seems a bit excessive. Thanks, Charlie

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 3:17PM
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I have been distributing & installing Geothermal systems since 1982 with hundreds to my credit. A "plug & play" concept is OK except when after "plug" there is no "play". If you want to DIY, be sure to have available a person well versed in refrigeration, control wiring, water pumps, etc. to start up & service the equipment. We just serviced a ARIT system that was a disaster because the installer didn't recognize the potential problem untill the damage was done. If you want a great price on Climate Master or Econar, I can supply and ship direct to you. But please, have qualified help.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 10:07AM
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Hello there I installed a tetco heat pump system two years ago , still tweaking it, smiles , fantastic

My question is the site of http://arit.com/ is no longer in business #%%^%$&%^&*^*^#$@

does anybody know what happened? really impressed with what they knew in this business,the help and the big time savings

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 10:49AM
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We were about to order our Tetco system from ARIT and have found out that they are out of business. Does anyone know what happened or have a contact number that is still valid for them?

Geotherm Dan...Do you sell DIY install Geothermal systems? If so, please send me an email so we can talk further.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 12:27PM
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ARIT is now TERRAsource

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 1:34AM
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Hello, I was wondering if anyone know how to (or if it can be done) make the blower fan on my Tetco unit run at a medium speed or high speed when the unit in not heating or cooling. The reason I ask is because I have a wood stove in my basement and I want to use the fan on the Tetco to circulate the heat throughout the house. I have a return vent that is directly over the wood stove and want to suck the heat up and sent it to the rest of the house.
Thank you

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 1:49AM
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With some professional outsourcing I intend to install a 5Ton geothermal unit using spring water. Because of impurities I think I should go with the newer cupro-nickle exchangers. I now that "Climate Master" uses this exchanger but I'm not sure about TETCO. I think I need to contact geotherm Dan. Keeping costs down is important. Any way to connect???
I will also install a high velocity duct system. Anyone famliar with that system? eromacys2000@yahoo.com

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 4:23PM
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geothermal dan can you email me as well... i am interested in a climatemaster tranquility 27 armstrr AT hotmail.com


    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 9:32AM
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Hi geotherm_dan,

I am looking for a 5 ton forced hot air GHP.
Can you email quotes for the Econar Vara 2 and Climatemaster Tranqulity 20 and 27 ?



    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 2:52PM
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Dan, send me an email. I need quotes on the Tranquility.


    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 10:19AM
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Could anyone tell my why a tetco water to water heat pump would keep kicking off? We have to push the high reset button on a regular bases now to restart.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 6:39PM
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There are a lot of possibilities including low EWT, etc. Use should pose your question on the Geothermal Exchange forum and they will help you:

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 3:40PM
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I installed 2 TETCO groundwater heat pumps in an extremely well insulated home in northeastern Wisconsin over 25 years ago. The first was a water-to-water unit installed in 1981. It was used to supply heat to one zone of the house by using a water-to-air TETCO heat exchanger installed in the supply plenum. The second, installed in 1984, was a water-to-air TETCO unit for heating the other zone, plus a secondary water-to-water coil for heating domestic water through a closed loop system to a 120-gallon insulated storage tank (120-gal. hot water heater with the electric heating coil removed) Both units extracted heat from well water.

Additionally, 2 TETCO water-to-air heat exchangers (A coils) were installed for for air conditioning in the 2 air handler zones (separate supply and return plenus). (The aforementioned exchanger that also served as to supply heat during the cold months and one other associated with the second zone that employed the water-to-air heat pump as well) Well water was circulated through both (approx. 50 degrees F.) as neither was a closed loop system.

During the time that the units were operable, they were very efficient. The maintenance costs, however, were much higher than those one might expect with conventional combustion heating equipment. Further, because of local conditions, the aquifer from which it became necessary to pump was sufficiently deep that any savings realized by the heat pumps was more than offset by the pumping costs. Admittedly, the high cost had nothing to do with the design and performance of the TETCO units, as it was a direct result of bad advice on the part of an inexperienced installer (the technology was quite new then) and would not be a factor in a closed loop system, it should be a consideration with any well-water sourced system. On the other hand, given the high cost of conventional air-to-air A/C systems, the cost of air conditioning as described was exceedingly low, even with the high pumping costs, so there were some saving realized during about 4 months out the year. Bear in mind that such a system only works where the temperature of your well water is sufficiently low to provide the temperature differential necessary for adequate cooling. Also, because the surface area of the air-to-air heat exchanger used for well water cooling (in this case a TETCO) is so large that you get excellent condensation during operation which produces great dehumidification.

By 1992 both systems displayed serious design flaws that necessitated replacement of all TETCO units and related plumbing/duct work in their immediate vicinity. The compressor in the water-to-water heat pump failed. Additionally, leakage was occurring at the soldered joints of several copper fittings. The water-to-air heat pump similarly developed water leaks due to the type of solder used in the construction of its piping. Both water-to-air heat exchangers were completely shot. There were a large number of soldered joints associated with the piping and all were failing, causing multiple water leaks. For a while this was tolerable because the condensate drain simply carried it away, however the leakage increased to the point that neither was usable. All units were replaced with conventional systems.

I cannot overemphasize that I incurred extremely high maintenance costs to keep the above systems operating. Finally, it just became burdensome to persevere and replacement was the only option. Since that experience, I understand that TETCO has changed the solder they use in the piping of all the above units. Also, 'aggressive water' is a big factor in how quickly solder dissolves, so this is an issue you need to examine thoroughly before you commit to any system, regardless of brand.

TETCO and all its competitors should be required to guarantee all piping (pipe, fittings and solder) for at least 20 years with coverage of the full replacement costs including parts and installation. Frankly, regardless of whether you purchase refrigeration systems for domestic heating, such as TETCO's line of heat pumps, air conditioning (conventional A/C) or food refrigeration, all compressors have a limited life span. That said, given that modern furnaces have a deign life of at least 20 years, TETCO and other heat pump manufacturers need to cover replacement costs for at least that period. That does not mean that you will be indemnified of all maintenance costs. Switches, thermostats and circulating pumps well fail periodically. That's just life with such equipment. Standard warrantees should be expected.

Given the extensive experience I had with the above, I have several observations. Firstly, and most importantly, choose your contractor/installer with great care. This is not a casual purchase and should not be approached as such. If you do not exercise due diligence, you will likely pay a price and it may be thousands of dollars. Do not just take the advice of your general contractor. Do your homework. Many states have consumer protection agencies associated with the office of the attorney general. BBB may be an option, however I would ask each contractor/installer to provide me with at least 3 names and contact information of individuals for whom he/they has/have installed units in excess of at least 5 years. Follow up on those references. Do not, repeat DO NOT, take the representations of the contractor/installer that they/he has X number of satisfied customers. You need to check that out!

Secondly, ask to see, and thoroughly read, the full warrantee of the brand(s) of the unit(s) you are considering. If you cannot decipher all the fine print, consult with an attorney regarding what it actually covers and what your responsibilities will be if the unit fails. (Believe me, this is money well spent - an hour billed by your lawyer will pay you back later!) This is an industry that needs more regulation. It's a buyer beware situation and you must keep in mind that you need a reputable contractor/installer who will stand behind the work done, as well as a well-capitalized heat pump manufacturer that has the financial resources and consumer-orientation to back their product(s) and the willingness to do so. To be fair, TETCO has been around for 25+ years, so they obviously are doing something right. That said, maybe they simply have a great marketing department - so check them out and hold their feet to the fire. Any representations you receive about product performance/warrantees and/or installation guarantees need to be in writing. If you don't have it in writing, there is a tendency for people to have extreme lapses of memory.

In the final analysis, I would certainly consider installing a refrigeration heat extractor system again, though I would follow my own advice (above) assiduously. I would likely consider a closed loop heating system and might do air conditioning using the above-described (well water-sourced) methodology as well, providing that ground water temperatures are low enough, though I would look closely at the warrantee stipulations applicable for the specific unit(s) and, most certainly, all piping, fittings and solder joints. (I cannot overemphasize this point!)

For certain, I would not trust anything other than a well-engineered system designed by a licensed mechanical engineer with experience with such systems. Yes, it will cost more up front, but the potential savings in aggravation and dinero cannot be overstated. Regardless of what equipment the engineer recommended, I would still check out the specific unit(s) myself before signing off on it, as above. Make certain that the contractor/installer has dozens (possibly even hundreds) of such installations already in place before you sign on the dotted line at the bottom of the contract. (Your responsibility to check out reputation, etc. - not their's to hold your hand.)

Please be aware that my experience is dated and the industry was in its early stages with minimal experience available. Overall, TETCO was helpful to a point, though they did not stand behind their solder issues, even though they recognized they existed and changed its composition, or so I was given to understand. Overall, my experience was all of the following: interesting, satisfying, frustrating, expensive, overwhelming, fascinating and disappointing - oh, and did I mention EXPENSIVE!

Things may have changed a great deal in the industry. Just remember, as it true with all equipment purchases - - - > LET THE BUYER BEWARE. This is not meant as to specifically reflect upon TETCO or any other supplier/individual/company in the heat pump industry. As is the case with any such product/service, there are reputable and disreputable entities out there. Expect to pay more up front for greater peace of mind later. Check all contractual arrangements with an attorney BEFORE you sign!

If you have any specific questions, please feel free to check with me. I'll answer if I am able and within my time considerations.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 2:45PM
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The forums at www.greenbuildingtalk.com and geoexchange.org are good places for information.

Definitely check references carefully. I found all too many installers gave me their family members and best friends as references, which are not acceptable. Some references couldn't even tell me what kind of loops they had - open or closed - which told me they didn't have the system and were lying for the installer.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 11:58AM
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I'm interested in the Climatemaster Tranquility Series. I would like Geothermal Dan to send a quote on a 6 ton system.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:41AM
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For the record. TETCO has had problems keeping up to date with current technology. Recently the original owners of TETCO repurchased the product due to growing poor reputation associated with this product.

Before discounting this product, one should check to see what advancement has been made in such things as coil coating, reversing valves history, and multistage compressors. I am confident that the original owners will restore the integrity of this unit rapidly since their 2009 repurchase.

In the meantime. Climate Master prevails over WaterFurnace in product/price. The Tranquilty series can be aquired in the range of $4000 for a 3-ton, $6000 for a 4-ton, and a 5-Ton for $7000.

Plug-n-Play, very closly does describe the process for these units. Their is ample documentation for thr DIY to accomplish this.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 7:24PM
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