Decided to go with Geothermal instead of MiniSplits

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ChrisM

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We were going to install a mini split system with 6 heads and two outdoor condensers just because we didn't want to replace the old ductwork. After considering running refrigerant and drain lines with all the holes needed in the house walls not mention all the maintenance replacing the ductwork became simpler. Besides in 20 years all those mini splits would end up in a landfill. So instead of sending garbage into the future we decided to go with Geothermal and have nothing outside or on the walls of the house. Yes it is a lot of work to redesign and replace the ductwork which will involve taking out a sheetrock ceiling in a finished basement. There is also going to be drilling for the vertical loops and trenching but a month's worth of discomfort is bearable and yes the geothermal is more expensive but only because the ductwork is being replaced. In the end we have one geothermal heat pump in the basement and a brand new 3 zone ductwork system. A lot of people don't realize the amount of maintenance a mini split system requires! For reference the Minisplit system is quoted at $17,555.00 and the Geothermal is $21,315 both are after all rebates and tax credits have been deducted. Other costs common to both systems will be upgrading the main electrical panel from 150 to 200 amp service, removal of 275 gallons of heating oil and a 35 year old oil tank, removal of an existing air source heat pump and indoor coil (which by the way is an Amana ASZC18 installed in 2016 free to anyone wanting it), and removal of a OH6 ThermoPride oil furnace installed in 2009 (also free to anyone but it needs a new burner). We have to replace the 35 year old ductboard system primarily because we are concerned about it's condition and prefer metal ducts. The expense of the ductwork has been quoted in the $7000 to $12000 range. Is this a reasonable range for ductwork in a 1900 sq ft house in the Hudson Valley NY?
 

ctviggen

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Interesting. In CT, I went with replacement of both AC units (one upstairs, one downstairs) with Mitsubishi heat pumps. These are so-called "hyper heat", which maintain high output down to zero. I will have to use our existing oil furnace for heat on really cold days.

The geothermal was over 5k more and did not include a price for moving duct work. In this house, the "downstairs" air handler and AC unit also heated/cooled an in law apartment. The air handler for this was located on the far side of the basement from the furnace. We had replaced the heating/cooling for the in law with mini splits. The cost for the Mitsubishis includes removal of the old air handler, putting the new air handler near the furnace/hot water, and reversing the ducting.

Geothermal also did not include anything for repair of the trenches they had to install.

Both required hot water, which you could use the current oil heat or replace. The geothermal did not require backup winter heat, but the Mitsubishi does.

Another detriment to geothermal is you can't run the compressor on a gas-powered, small generator. So, you'd have to get a whole-house generator, which can be as high as 20k or around there. Since we were without power 8 days last year, that's a big cost.

When we installed solar, we got the federal government tax credit. We did not like that. For one, you have to float that until the next year if you pay it yourself. And if you do that, for me, I put it back into my business, which means that while I get the credit (I pay fewer taxes over the following year), I don't get a check for it. So, it doesn't seem like -- in my situation -- I get anything back.

I'm sure all of this varies by what you're doing. Our case is a relatively large house with an in law.

I was really hoping for geothermal, as I do think it's the most efficient. In my case, it had too many strikes against it.
 

ChrisM

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In our case as in my post there would be so much hardware (heating and cooling the whole house) to maintain it'd take up all my time. The mini splits would also have required us to install a propane furnace and propane tank (don't want the oil) for backup heat at a cost of $6000. Dandelion is doing our Geothermal and they do repair the trench to rough condition but not landscape condition however the trench will be behind our house and only about 8 feet long. They also remove the furnace and heat pump but I'm having someone haul those items away with the oil tank and oil. Dandelion doesn't do oil tanks and they discounted the price for not having to haul away the furnace and heat pump. As for the generator my portable gen wouldn't be able to run the mini splits either so that cost would apply to both systems. I'm getting a 17kw portable dual fuel gen and a zombie box for a total cost of $5000. Also installing a setup to control it from inside the garage I saw on Youtube. The generator which we bought in 2009 has only 50 hours on it so it doesn't make sense to spend $15,000 on a Generac. As for the tax credit it'll work for us as we will be able to use the total amount on the 2021 taxes.
 

ctviggen

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That is good that you got all of that.

My situation is a bit different. Dandelion's price was $37,000+ after all incentives. Hyper heat (two heat pumps, one with an air handler in the attic and one in basement, using existing ducting) was $32,000. But the Mitsubishi heat pumps run the air handler off the heat pump, so I actually gain two breakers, as the breakers for the air handlers are not needed. With Dandelion, there was the possibility that I would have had to increase my electrical service, which would have been another few thousand.

For me, Dandelion was talking about huge breakers (60+ amp), meaning there's no way to run those without a "nice" backup. I have a gas generator, but it's small. I can still do one of the Mitsubishis, but can't do both.

Also, the Dandelion quote did not include moving the air handler in the basement to the other side of the basement, which the quote for the Hyperheat systems does.

In case no one knows what we're talking about for the federal tax credit, for solar or geothermal, you can get a tax credit equivalent to some percentage of the amount of installation. The price before rebates and incentives for geothermal was 71,453. The Federal tax credit was 13,409. My out of pocket cost would be 50,953 before the federal tax credit. Net cost was 37,543.

If I get geothermal installed tomorrow, I have to "float" that 13,409 until I can get it back in 2022. For me, I don't actually get it back (as I'm a partner in a company and use it to pay taxes for 2022) in terms of an actual payout. I do get it back over time....in 2022.

If the federal government did what the state did, which was to pay the installer, I'd like it better.

Note also that the price I have above of $50,953 was if I paid CASH. If I financed, it was $3,500 more. In other words, I'd owe 54,543. And that's what I need to bring to the table.

And if I can't pay the 13,409 and float it until next year, then they'll be happy to float it for me...for a large fee.

I tried to compare the efficiencies of Hyper heat versus geothermal, but it's impossible to do so. They use different ways of measuring efficiency. And there are too many variables.

I do think geothermal equipment should last longer, mainly because they are indoors.
 

billshack

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I installed a split system, i have electric heating my electric bill went from $2,000 per year to $1,200 by using heat pump mode.
 

Krich

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The geothermal was over 5k more and did not include a price for moving duct work

You should be able to use existing duct work when switching to a geothermal heating and cooling system.
 
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