What's a reasonable price for a New construction Geo Heat Pump

pditty1995December 18, 2012

I understand there are quite a few variables but with the extreme variability in quotes and the large numbers associated with them its hard to tell what is reasonable.

I've read other threads, and some folks get very upset if you question how much is enough....so I don't plan on asking that question.

But what I would like to know is if there is guideline (similar to like $100 per sq. ft. to build a new home). Obviously that $100 a sq. ft is just a baseline and you could be slightly under or way over depending on the complexity of the home, location, etc.

I've heard numbers like 18-30k for new construction geothermal for a standard 2500 sq. ft. home but my quotes are way higher than that (39k and 46k). Even standard Heat Pumps (non Geo) are on the high end of that 18-30k quote (24k and 28k).

I don't consider my home elaborate and it seems pretty straightforward at 3000 sq. ft ranch with a 2500 sq. ft. below grade basement.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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Most of the lower number quotes that you see are after any energy rebates that your state or local municipality or federal government may be kicking in. In my area, I've seen 60-80K be the average quote. "Regular" heat pump setups are 20-30K.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 4:38PM
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Hmmmmm......both quotes of 46k and 39.4k are before rebates. I'm sure of this because the quotes explicity explain the after rebate prices of $32,200 and $27,580 respectively. There is also a $1200 rebate from my utility company that has not been factored in, so the numbers should be even better.

The thing that gets me is the one quote for 39.4k has 12k for the drilling, loops, and grout. However, I have a unique situation, and talked to him about leveraging it, where I have former mine vents that are 14' wide by 275' deep that we need to fill. And I thought we were going to leverage that and line 4 spots along the inside of the shafts with metal or plastic sleeves before filling. Then when done we could simply put the tubing in and grout. No drilling required.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 5:05PM
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Every geothermal situation is at least somewhat unique. Every system requires custom designing. Few details regarding your site and the proposals have been provided, how can anyone know what is 'reasonable'?

Your focus seems to be on price. Price alone may not get you the system that best suits the situation. After complete examination perhaps the best 'deal' is the one costing $46k or more?

"The thing that gets me is the one quote for 39.4k has 12k for the drilling, loops, and grout. However, I have a unique situation, and talked to him about leveraging it, where I have former mine vents that are 14' wide by 275' deep that we need to fill. And I thought we were going to leverage that and line 4 spots along the inside of the shafts with metal or plastic sleeves before filling. Then when done we could simply put the tubing in and grout. No drilling required."

OK, so maybe no drilling is required. You're still talking about at least one thousand one hundred feet of steel casing, ground loops, high conductivity Bentonite grout - AND filling a 14ft by 275ft hole!

If your project is based on a price based on some 'rule of thumb' be careful what you wish for - you just might get it!


    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 10:41AM
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Can't speak to new construction, but in August we finished a geothermal retrofit into out 200 year old farmhouse. Two three ton waterfurnace units, newest versions of the series 5, six 150 foot vertical loops, ductwork in the attic and basement, Bryant high efficency backup propane furnace, hot water assist, both systems split into two zones, 4 total. 39K before the tax credit without zoning, and 46K with the zoning, which we chose. Zoning was expensive, but necessary in our home. 3900 sq ft, all brick construction, new storm windows and foamed underside of roof. Foam and storm windows not part of the price.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 8:21AM
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Re: srjohnt


Sounds like 2 'split' systems. Did you choose propane furnaces so they can be easily backed up with a generator?

What can you tell us about the ground loops, are the connected in series or parallel, separate for each HP, variable speed or single speed flow centre(s)? If parallel, are the headers buried or within the mechanical room?


    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 9:52AM
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SR, it is indeed two split systems. I have two waterfurnace "cubes" in the basement that are connected to the loops, which are connected in parallel. Both cubes are connected to the same parallel manifold, and share the wells. The parallel connection is buried outside in the middle of the loop field. I can't tell you if they have variable speed flow centres, but each cube has it's own pump. One cube is connected to the horizontal waterfurnace air handler in the attic, and the other is connected to the coil on top of the Bryant propane backup furnace, which is also the air handler for downstairs. The downstiars unit is the only unit with backup heat. We chose propane backup because our old furnace was propane, the lines and tank were there, and we're set up to use a generator to run the propane in case of a power outage. The heat strips in the upstairs air handler are disabled.

So far, it's been wonderful. It never skips a beat, and we've been down to 18 degrees, and have not needed backup. We're now heating and conditioning the entire house for half the cost of previously heating only half of it in the winter with propane. It's all controlled by 4 Honeywell Prestige 2.0 thermostats that were included in the price. The system also includes a Honeywell humidifier on the downstairs unit.

We hit water in all six wells, which is a big help with heat transfer.

I'll be happy to answer any questions concerning this system that anyone may have.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2012 at 4:20PM
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Re: srjohnt

Your system sounds absolutely fantastic! Seems like you found a great contractor and have ideal ground conditions, were your flow centres commercially built or assembled on-site? Is your system pressurized or non-pressurized (QT Flowcenter)? Do you know the flow rates? Do you have a visible means of checking the flow rate (see link below)?

Are the backup elements in the upstairs unit wired with the breaker OFF or not wired at all? You may never need the backup except if there's an extended power outage. Our geothermal HP backup is wired with the breaker OFF. I like to see exactly when we really need it. Last winter it wasn't used at all. Generally there's no call for backup until the outdoor temperature reaches about -25C or about -13F for an extended period of time.

Where are you located and do you know the design temperature for your area? Our design temperature is -7F or about -22C. We're in Montreal Quebec, Canada.


Here is a link that might be useful: Blue-White Flow Meter

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 12:03AM
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What Live was referring to is that when you see quotes of 18-30 that is after tax credits and it sounds like you are basically in that range. You are at 27-32 for a slightly larger house than that 18-30 covers.

Geo is incredibly variable and in my area $60k is pretty common. And I don't live in an expensive area, it is just an area with not a lot of Geo.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 4:57AM
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SR, some of your questions are beyond my technical expertise, but I'll tell you what I know.

My system is pressurized, uses a mixture of water and methanol. I do not have a premade flow center as such, but rather all the plumbing and pumps between the loop entrance into the basement and the cubes was assembled on site. The pressure and flow can only be checked through capped probe sites with specialized probes that my installer has and I don't. I do not have any visible flow and pressure guages.

The backup electric heat strips are located in the upstairs Waterfurnace air handler, and they are locked out using dip switches on the control board of the unit.They are not on a separate breaker.

We are located in central Kentucky, and I do not know the design temperature.

I believe we do have a quality installer, and they are a geothermal specialist. They were the ONLY company that did the well drilling, loop installation, and all inside work. No subcontractors, so they are responsible for everything, and guarantee it all. I'm very pleased.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 6:31AM
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How much did it cost to heat the and cool the house each year prior to the geothermal installation? How much do you pay for propane and electricity?

You installed the system in August. What do you estimate will be your heating and cooling costs for the first year?

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 11:13AM
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Mike, we paid about $3000.00 last year for propane, and that was to heat half of our home. We could close off half of it, and that's what we did. Propane cost varies widely, from almost two dollars a gallon to almost three dollars a gallon. electricity is about 9.2 cents a kwh.

We have only had the bedroom and one other room cooled with a window air conditioner. We only had one real cooling month after the system was installed, and it cost $5.00 more than the month before when we were running the window a/c 24/7. Yes, we were on the downhill side of the cooling season, but we were also cooling the entire house. I really can't give you an accurate estimate of what the cooling costs will be.

Our first heating month, we used about $52.00 additional electricity, and during the second month it was about $240.00 additional. I just went out and read the meter, and with 6 or 7 days until our next reading, we're on track to be the same or less than last month, so another $240.00 - $250.00 for the third heating month. We have our two coldest months ahead of us, but if I figure $350.00 each for them, then $250.00 for March, and even $250.00 for April, I'm at $1750.00 additional for electricity,(and I think that's overestimated) against $3000.00 for propane last year. And, keep in mind, that's heating the entire 3900 sq feet to a comfortable 70 degrees rather than about 2000 sq feet of it to a chilly 67-68 degrees.

Well, I should clarify that it isn't all heated to 70 all the time, due to the zoning. We keep what used to be the cold half at 66 now unless we're using it, then we can quickly raise it to 70 as well.

Anyway, based on my preliminary calculations, we will reduce our heating costs 40-50% keep our cooling costs about the same, and raise our comfort and enjoyment levels tenfold.

Will the savings pay for the installation costs over and above a standard heat pump system? Probably, but it'll take a while. If I had it to do over, I wouldn't change a thing. Hopefully I can still say that a few years down the road.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2012 at 12:22PM
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