Thursday, August 30, 2012

To geothermal or not to geothermal?

We need to replace 2 really inefficient AC units with something.  Start the research!  Seer ratings, EER ratings, cost, system life, warranty, installer, repayment period, tax incentives.  Wow, that's a lot to think about.

We started with our current AC company to see what the cost of traditional AC unit's and variable speed blower/furnace systems would be.  Our house is pretty big, and we have a 2 ton AC downstairs, and a 2.5 ton system up stairs.  The upstairs system is under sized, it really struggles in the summer time, so we know we need at least 3 ton up stairs.

What's the cost for a 2 Ton and 3 Ton system, with new furnace and installation?  $14K - 15K for both, combined.  Hum, that's a lot!

Ok, what if we did geothermal with multi-zone control, two stage compressor and variable speed blower?  Well, I'm not going to give you the answer, because every house will be different, but let's put it this way.  With federal and state tax credits, it's about $18K.  So, why would anyone want to go with geothermal instead of normal AC.

10 Year warranty on "the guts", 5 years on all other parts and labor, plus 50 years on the ground loop.  If you haven't looked up what a ground loop is, you should do that somewhere else, because it's too much information for my little blog.

Ok, so, 3K more for a better warranty?  No, there's more.  Efficiency ratings for geothermal are off the charts compared to air to air AC.  Your electric bill (and gas for furnace) should go down dramatically.  Also, geothermal systems are "high tech" and are smart enough to run at a lower speed for a longer time to remove more humidity from your house.  It's only been installed for 1 day at my house, and we've moved the thermostat from 72 on the old system to 75 on the new system, and it feels cooler at 75 than it did at 72 before.

So, we've decided on the geothermal and we have a quote in hand from our AC dude.  What now?  Well, we call another AC dude, and ask for another quote.  Then we ask a lot of questions, for 2, or 3, well, maybe it was 4 weeks, of both installers.

When your satisfied that you have the right installer, you right a large check (deposit) and they start working.

So, who was our installer?  Bryan Edwards and his team of HIGHLY dedicated employees at Ideal Services in Holly Springs, NC.  More about them as we go through the installation process.

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