A Everyday Green Home Podcast – Recorded Live at the St. Louis Home & Garden Show
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Kyle Smith with GeoComfort – Geothermal Systems
GeoComfort is a people-centric company. They believe in family values, loyalty beyond reason, assurance in quality craftsmanship, and making the world a better place. They focus on quality and educating their contractors and homeowners on why Geothermal is the better choice.
“Nobody knows what Geothermal is because it relies on word of mouth.”
Geothermal uses the difference between the temperature in the ground and the temperature where we live to help keep cool your home. So in the winter the heat is brought from the ground up to the house, using a Ground source heat pump, aka Geothermal and a compressor to get the refrigerant to the rest of your home. The average heat from the ground is 55 degrees so you can go up or down from there. There are also Air source heat pumps, but GeoComfort uses Ground source heat pump instead of using the air to dump heat into in the summer and to extract heat out of in the winter they just use the ground and a heat exchanger. Heat Exchanger is when water flows through the center and refrigerant flows around the outside and that is how they act as a Prius. “If you want to go over 30 mph for example, that’s when the compressor kicks in.” Same with air conditioning, they take the heat from the house dump it down in the loop, recycle that loop fluid through the earth to dump the the heat from the house down in the loop. Loop are the pipes that run underground. There are multiple loop patterns you can do like horizontal, vertical, open, and pond. But they run underground out of a plastic beam material and a high density foam. What people don’t realize is you have that baseline, 55 degrees, you either cooling it or warming it starting at 55 degrees not 0 or 30 degrees and that is where the savings come in.
Closed and Open System
There are multiple loop patterns that can be used on a home. Geocomfort works with the homeowner to determine the best loop for their home. Closed in Kyle’s opinion is the best because it is maintenance free. Open loop system depending on your elements and conditions in your water you could have more maintenance depending on your calcium buildup. With Geothermal there is no maintenance, everything is inside of the house so you don’t have to work on anything, all you have to do is clean an air filter. There’s a 2 part benefit, for one the beauty aspect where it is in the house, and secondly when it’s in the house you get longevity. A GeoThermal System on the short side can last 12-15 years but Kyle has seen some last 30+ years. Once you drill and put your loops in the ground your loops are good forever, that will be the most expensive out of the whole process. There is a ducted system, which in the United States you have to cool with duct work because you have to suck out humidity out of the air which is just code. Then there is a radiant systems as well which you can heat with. Anything from pool heating and cooling, radiant heating in your basement or main level of your home, garages, sheds, farms etc. The applications you can do with Geothermal is amazing.
“You don’t know what comfort is until you’ve been in a radiant home or facility.”
When it comes to the cost there are a lot of options with Geothermal. No matter how big or small your house is it’s always going to be a very comfortable, efficient, earth friendly home. The cost savings happens every month, the equipment is the same as any other system, its the loop that has to be put into the ground first. Generally GeoComfort is anywhere 20-40% more than a conventional heating and cooling system because they have to get the loop in the ground depending on the job and depending on the region. But there are many ways to put the loops in the ground giving you many different price ranges.
First build your house right, put your money into insulation, windows and doors because those are the details, and you can’t fix the details behind the walls after your done. But it also helps when putting the loop down because it only makes the heating cooling system smaller. It’s about making the costumes happy. It’s about the experience. GeoComfort doesn’t believe in bids because it is a proposal for your home. Put it in once and come back in 30 years. The EPA says this is the most environmentally friendly way to heat/cool your home, and the most efficient way.
There is a component already in GeoComfort systems called the DeSuperHeater. Mind you the heat is always moving so this dumps the heat out the house into the ground and interrupt the process and circulate it through a hot water heater. There are actually 2 hot water heaters they match, ones on and ones off. So they circulate it through the empty hot water heater so that it can produce 130 degree water of the heat that’s being dumped and wasted. Now it’s in the preheat tank so once you take a shower or need hot water, that preheat tank dumps into the hot water heater so it keeps it refiled.
“Large or small, old or new, Geothermal is always a good fit.”