Our story of our Geothermal installation - by Scott
Picture this: Living in the forest; long, cold Canadian winters in a house off the beaten path south of Uxbridge Ontario; Warm cozy wood fires on the main floor of our 1000sqft raised bungalow -- the crackling sound the wonderful smell of wood fire. Downstairs is a walk out basement with a wood pellet stove running 24/7 from mid-October to late March a nice glow at night and clinking sound of pellets being fed into the burner and electric baseboard heaters, silently heat the perimeter of the walkout basement. Carbon neutral. Sounds nice eh?
From July 2016 to October 2021 that is how our home was heated, we did not have central heating or air conditioning. It sounds so wonderful to live the way we were until reality sets in, late night runs outside to bring in wood at minus 30 weather, once or twice a week into town for 6 to 10 40lb bags of wood pellets, cleaning chimneys maintaining and cleaning the wood pellet stove all while trying to raise a newborn, keep our relationship on track, plow the driveway and have time for our own personal health, if nobody is home for the day or we want to go away for the weekend and come home to a cold house.
We would spend early October into November splitting and stacking firewood we harvested from our property or had local arborist companies drop off, the first few years we purchased split wood and had it delivered, eventually we also purchased Bulk wood pellets what a fiasco that was, how do you store 4000lbs of wood pellets how do you move 4000lbs of wood pellets I guess have the neighbor bring his small tractor to load the skids off wood pellets into the basement doors then move them around with a pallet truck borrowed from work.
"Why don’t you get geothermal installed, like we have?" suggests our neighbor sitting up on his tractor
Geothermal! well why not?
Our story of how our Geothermal installation went.
First, we contacted two different companies that were either booked up or just don’t want to travel to our location. We finally managed to get a willing company to come and give us a quote. This is where my questioning started to happen... without knowing the layout of our property or layout of our house the company arrived with prewritten quotes and they wanted a deposit that day to get on the waiting list. A few weeks later, in June 2021, we decided to use that company. Now, as I mentioned before, we had no ductwork in our house. Over the course of a few days a friend of mine and myself designed the only possible layout for a ducting system for my house which has a finished basement. July 7th we sent our Wives and kids away to a cottage for 5 days and we got to pulling down ceilings and cutting holes through the floors, moving furniture emptying closets all while trying to keep the house very dust free. 3 days of work and ductwork was complete into the soon to be furnace room.
September 20th 2021, the new geothermal unit and hot water tank arrive our system will be a 3 ton heating and cooling unit with 3 drilled wells at 200ft deep each. Sept 28th, they start drilling the wells after a few setbacks and delays on their timing. The drilling company for the wells were very professional, I had to fell a few trees between the geo wells and our house so they could trench and burry the lines up to and through the wall of the house. The drilling company left our yard in quite the mess with no effort really to smooth or slope the earth to the way it was.
Inside work was where the real mess started, we were limited on space where the geo thermal air handler unit had to be installed so duct work connections and fittings had to be made. They took forever to be made and installed no canvas connections were used so vibration transfers into the duct work from the refrigeration compressor. I asked to leave out 6 month old electric hot water tank hook up in series with the new one supplied by the geo company just for extra capacity and back up if needed. The geothermal unit is supposed to heat 70% of or domestic hot water. The company removed our existing hot water tank gut out with a sawzall. And ran the supply and return lines for our geo water heat supply up and over the door way just nailing it to our finished ceiling tiles with pex tubing clips. They supplied some new crimp on plumbing fittings but also reused some valves already crimped to pipe and just used couples to reuse old valves they supplied, I asked them to remove the pex tubing and run it in copper over the doorway attaching it to the wall instead of my ceiling tiles. They were happy to redo the work but again used scraps of materials and made more joints than needed, I will be replacing the work they did and also installing flexible joints in the plumbing to isolate compressor noise from the geothermal unit.
During the ducting install I asked the geo company what number of conductor thermostat wire the geo unit and thermostat needs and the could not answer me so I ran the most common wire which turns out it didn’t have enough conductors so we needed to run a new wire to the upstairs after I had installed all new ceiling drywall and painted. So I told the company If they left me the a spool of correct wire I would run it for them in a way that didn’t need to open the new ceilings, they left me the end of a spool about 10ft and said that’s all they had left. I told the company I will drill the holes and run the 10ft of wire so when they get more wire they can follow the path I ran the scrap 10ft piece through…well the just spliced the new wire to the end of the 10ft scrap instead of pulling the new whole length through. This practice is a big no no especially as there are more precise signals going between the geo unit and thermostats in modern equipment. Again I had to complain and ask to have a whole new thermostat cable run.
The original quote for the geothermal complete install did not include the 100amp service that needed to be supplied to the unit, they must expect that all furnace/mechanical rooms have 100 amp service in them or that is an additional cost of around $2000.
The company was very willing to come back and make changes to the install that I was not happy with but even their corrections weren’t very good, when you pay $36,000 to have a company come in and install a system the homeowner shouldn’t be asked to install and run thermostat wires and supply services.
Our Geothermal unit by Hydron is a very noisy unit our neighbors is made by Water furnace and it is silent during operation.
Besides the noisy operation of our system it maintains temperature through our first winter well The cost of running is pretty cheap I think geothermal was the best option for our home.
Geothermal quote $36,000.00
Government incentive $5000 rebate
Home energy audit $650.00
Home energy audit rebate $600.00
Duct work and labor $2000
100amp Electrical feed $1200
Duct work noise isolation TBD $200?
Plumbing correction and noise isolation TBD 150$
Landscaping around wells and underground line TBD $$
Seasonal Heating cost before geothermal
Wood 2 bush cord $700
Wood pellets $1200
Baseboard Heat $1200
Seasonal Heating cost with Geothermal
Oct-Mar $613.00 + Delivery charge
Final thought Geo is definitely worth the investment.