Spotlight on Geothermal

Gary & Kristin Kleiman

We sat down with Gary Kleiman and Kristin Nelson to discuss their conversion of their home from forced hot air gas to geothermal in 2006.

Why did you decide to switch to this type of heating system?

Primarily environmental to reduce fossil fuel usage. Geothermal heating
can significantly reduce fossil fuel usage as it draws from the ground.
There is a liittle bit of electricity also used, which can be offset by buying
green power through Concord Light which is not quite available yet but
coming soon.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of this type of systems?

Advantages:
1. For homes that have forced hot air systems, it is relatively easy to
retrofit within your house as existing duct work can be tied into this.
2. Going to geothermal definitely allows for greenhouse gas reduction.
3. Also provides pre-heating of the water in your hot water tank so that
when you go to use the hot water, not much energy has to be used to
heat it. They did install a new hot water tank. There is natural gas efficiency as
water is coming in warmer.
4. Provides a/c as a bonus, did not ask to install this but it is provided anyways.
5. We save money on gas.

Disadvantages:
1. If you don't have a lot of land to develop a closed system, to lay your
pipes horizontally, the installer must drill vertically. This can be very messy as they dig a trench during drilling process and during the drilling mud sometimes splattered 10 feet.
2. Large up front capital cost, slower pay back as a result.  Drilling cost $10-11K alone. This requires the families to have savings over many years, however, it will pay itself back.
3. This type of installment does draw some additional electricity for the compressor. 

Why should people switch to this type of heating?

Long term, cost savings. Short term, fossil fuel reductions.

For your size house, is there enough capacity to heat the entire home? Why? Why not?

Yes, except on very cold days. The heat pump and the depth of the well was sized for the house. However, when it gets below 10 degrees, it is hard for the system to keep up. As electrical heater provides supplemental heat for these very cold days.

We have a detached garage which is not on our existing duct work. Out
there, we use electrical thermal storage (ETS) offered through Concord
Light, which uses off peak energy so that the garage has light and is
heated for a much lesser cost than at peak heating times. 

How long did it take from start to finish?

About 3 weeks. One week for ductwork adjustments and to install the
heat pump. The second week they drilled the well and the third week they
hooked everything up.

Do you have any recommendations of installers for people to consider for an installation such as yours?

Yes, I'd highly recommend Tim Redmond, of Redmond HVAC of
Worcester. Phone: 508-795-7645. email: tim@redmondhvac.com. I'd
suggest strongly to look into using a qualified installer.  Tim not only did
the installation expertly, but came back after the installation and provided additional service afterwards when we needed him.

Would you make this change again?

Definitely. We're very happy with it. I think the key is having forced hot air to begin with.

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