Why do Geothermal Systems cost so much?
Last Post 11 Apr 2011 12:03 AM by robinnc. 188 Replies.
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Palace GeothermalUser is Offline
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19 May 2010 07:28 PM

edit

Dewayne Dean

<br>www.PalaceGeothermal.com<br>Why settle for 90% when you can have 400%<br>We heat and cool with dirt!<br>visit- http://welserver.com/WEL0114/- to see my system
Palace GeothermalUser is Offline
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19 May 2010 07:28 PM
Admin,

Can we make the above post a sticky?
Dewayne Dean

<br>www.PalaceGeothermal.com<br>Why settle for 90% when you can have 400%<br>We heat and cool with dirt!<br>visit- http://welserver.com/WEL0114/- to see my system
geomeUser is Offline
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19 May 2010 08:37 PM
Can we make the above post a sticky?
Wish I thought of that. 
Homeowner with WF Envision NDV038 (packaged) & NDZ026 (split), one 3000' 4 pipe closed horizontal ground loop, Prestige thermostats, desuperheaters, 85 gal. Marathon.
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19 May 2010 08:58 PM
Posted By geome on 19 May 2010 08:37 PM
Can we make the above post a sticky?
Wish I thought of that. 

You gave me the idea.  I should give you the credit
Dewayne Dean

<br>www.PalaceGeothermal.com<br>Why settle for 90% when you can have 400%<br>We heat and cool with dirt!<br>visit- http://welserver.com/WEL0114/- to see my system
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20 May 2010 08:21 AM
Thanks Dewayne. We should really give the credit to thehtrguy. He did the hard part by writing up an explanation that is easy to understand. Should have been made a sticky when he originally posted this, but it's not too late. Just as relevant today as it was back then. 
Homeowner with WF Envision NDV038 (packaged) & NDZ026 (split), one 3000' 4 pipe closed horizontal ground loop, Prestige thermostats, desuperheaters, 85 gal. Marathon.
ca2devriUser is Offline
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21 May 2010 10:46 AM
Thanks for this. I am a home owner considering geothermal (well, I've decided). I wish all contractors were this up front with the costs and overhead. I always feel better about a large purchase when I know this type of detail.
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25 May 2010 10:04 AM
Posted By tscat007 on 25 May 2010 12:45 AM
This is the best forum I have found online yet. The general public just dosent know that insurance rates fluctuate by state. The length of pipe per ton vary by whats underground & drilling cost vary by region. If you are a home owner do not go on a website to get a Geothermal quote! Most importantly do not go on a lead service website and charge a contractor $60 just so you can ask "how much?"

Recently I quoted a 2 stage, 3 ton system with wells, zoning, duct, kitchen hood, bath vents and thermostats for $25K in Atlanta GA and the home owner treated me like I was wearing a mask and holding a gun after recieving my bid (5th out of 5 bids, I was highest). I would have made $3500 in profit on the project which really isnt much considering all the overhead and advertising cost involved with this business. I guess some of my competitors bid the job less than my/the cost to install it. That is a frustrating thing about being a contractor. You can do a good job estimating and even installing but the other turkeys out there can really make your life difficult by underbidding (leaving something out of their estimate, not proposal) and doing shotty work or providing shotty management while doing the project to minimize their losses.

Too many home owners are on this and other sites like this complaining about "crooked" contractors that did bad work but 99% of the time they picked the low bidder. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. People in the construction & Geothermal industry dont magically produce something for 50% less than everybody else out there inorder to do the job for less.
The high bidder has either
1.included everything you asked for and is willing to go the extra mile.
2. maybe too busy at the moment to really need the work.
3. made an estimating error to the high end. Remember the high bidder wants the work too. He will not intentionally bid to be the high bidder, that is wasting his time. Every project/estimate is a prototype.

Your low bidder could be
1. unfamiliar with what he is doing.
2. desperate for the work
3. planning on cutting corners to "make it happen".
4. made a mistake and forgot to include something he needed to. (Have you ever typed 55
instead of $550????? 5. or they may be a smaller company just looking to get their foot in the market which may be a legitimate reason to be low but certianly not the lowest!

Just think about these things from a Geothermal Contractors perspective who has a modest home and family as well. We arent ripping you off. The cable company, Burger Joint, Gas Stations, Soda Companies, Health Insuance Companies, Lawyers, your boss & pretty much everything else you purchase without blinking an eye are.


Dewayne Dean

<br>www.PalaceGeothermal.com<br>Why settle for 90% when you can have 400%<br>We heat and cool with dirt!<br>visit- http://welserver.com/WEL0114/- to see my system
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25 May 2010 10:17 AM
Trying to keep this Sticky balanced:

In any business, losing a bid can be frustrating. I agree with some of what you have listed, but not everything. It's best to look at each situation individually rather than make generalizations.

Sometimes a higher price gets you more, and sometimes it does not. Our geothermal quotes ranged from $25,000 to $39,000 for the same equipment and installation. After getting everything in writing, and after checking references, etc., we were comfortable going with the lowest bidder. The installer did a great job for us. He also had more geothermal experience than most of the other installers. The installer quoting $39,000 was toward the bottom of the experience list. The installer with the most experience quoted about $32,000.

To help protect the consumer - If the contractor doesn't volunteer detailed information on the quote, it is up to the consumer to demand it before agreeing to have the work done. This allows the consumer to compare the work being quoted by various installers and helps minimize misunderstandings with the chosen contractor when work has begun. I requested that more details be put into our quotes before committing to a particular installer. Checking references is also extremely important. There is a lot for consumers to learn about geothermal so that they can make an informed decision about choosing an installer. I found geothermal forums shortly after our install, so I wasn't able to gain knowledge from this source. However, after 6 quotes I learned enough information about geothermal and the installers to make an informed decision. Get lots of quotes too, even from different installers of the same brand of equipment.

I totally agree with you that this is a good forum. :-)
Homeowner with WF Envision NDV038 (packaged) & NDZ026 (split), one 3000' 4 pipe closed horizontal ground loop, Prestige thermostats, desuperheaters, 85 gal. Marathon.
arkieoscarUser is Offline
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05 Jul 2010 08:51 AM
A short survey of the consumers and pros on the forum- How many of you would buy a new car at +$30K if the warranty was as limited as the one that comes with new geo units and you knew that the manufacturer would not support their dealers?
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05 Jul 2010 10:39 AM
I don't believe our 10 year parts and labor warranty is limited. Like your car analogy, extended warranties are available, but at a cost. Water Furnace has also expressed their position on the difference between their dealer relationship and a car manufacturer/dealer relationship elsewhere. I will try to find that thread for you when I have more time.
Homeowner with WF Envision NDV038 (packaged) & NDZ026 (split), one 3000' 4 pipe closed horizontal ground loop, Prestige thermostats, desuperheaters, 85 gal. Marathon.
LoobyUser is Offline
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05 Jul 2010 02:14 PM

Please identify a $30k car that's cash-flow-positive from day #1.


"The quality goes in before the name falls off."

One measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions.
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05 Jul 2010 03:56 PM
Red herring alert! No HVAC system is cash flow positive unless you compare it to something more expensive.

By the same logic, you could say that a Prius is cash flow positive from day one when compared to a Hummer.
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05 Jul 2010 04:54 PM
Posted By tinoue on 05 Jul 2010 03:56 PM
No HVAC system is cash flow positive unless you compare it to something more expensive.
My geo retrofit (replacing oil-fired HW baseboard) has been cash flow positive
since day #1 -- compared to the previous system or ANY alternative available
in my location.

Prius or Hummer are both optional luxuries and highly cash-flow-negative --
compared to numerous less expensive alternatives, (e.g., a 1989 beater).

Money is fungible.

Home heating is a basic necessity.

Savings on a basic necessity are better than pre-tax earnings.

"Stand firm in your refusal to remain conscious during algebra.
In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra."
- Fran Lebowitz

One measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions.
geomeUser is Offline
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05 Jul 2010 06:08 PM
arkieoscar, here are the Water Furnace quotes, from another forum, that I spoke of:

"WaterFurnace like other manufacturers provides a warranty for our equipment. However, we are not similar to a car company. The car dealer is franchised under the car manufacturer, and they have a contractual agreement between them. We have no such agreement with WaterFurnace dealers. They can, and do, charge what they want. Labor charges vary from one contractor to the next, and this is why we use industry accepted flat rate times, and an average hourly rate for all repairs.

We regularly check our warranty allowance with those of our competitors and find that we consistently cover more items for longer periods and at more generous rates than our competition. In addition, we provide more technical assistance than our competitors."

"We are the equipment manufacturer. We take responsibility for our equipment, and will honor the warranty per the terms and conditions of our published warranty. Anything outside of the unit is the responsibility of the contractor. However, if there is an issue outside of the unit, we will do our best to assist in facilitating a resolution between the homeowner and the contractor."

Regarding payback, I expect the entire cost of our system, after the tax credit, to be recouped with energy cost savings (propane and electric) in 12 years.
Homeowner with WF Envision NDV038 (packaged) & NDZ026 (split), one 3000' 4 pipe closed horizontal ground loop, Prestige thermostats, desuperheaters, 85 gal. Marathon.
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06 Jul 2010 11:24 PM
Waterfurnace seems to have stepped up but I have read so many horror stories here and on other forums about the man. not helping with major problems with the equip. and/or installation. Whether or not anything is "saving" money, it's still a large investment that only "saves" money when it's working correctly. With the kind of money we're talking, it should be "bumper to bumper" for at least five years with no excuses or blame games. Just saying and asking the same question- would you buy an automobile with this kind of warranty?
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08 Jul 2010 12:55 AM
Indeed.
As I drive 30+ thousand miles/yr, I often only have a 1 year warranty on my trucks (3 - 36) depending on the ebb and flow of car company warranties (sometimes I get 2 or 3 years). Curiously I (and none of my friends) never seem to get advertised mileage either.
I simply recognize that I need transportation and select the best vehicle for my needs. In spite of all the "horror stories" of dissatisfied motorists and seemingly arbitrary warranties.
joe
Joe Hardin
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www.doityourselfgeothermal.com
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08 Jul 2010 07:11 AM
Posted By arkieoscar on 06 Jul 2010 11:24 PM
would you buy an automobile with this kind of warranty?
I'll bite - From a quality manufacturer, yes.  I'd even take a 1 year warranty on a highly rated car with an excellent reliability rating.  I can get longer base warranties if I chose a car manufacturer with less than stellar reliability, but I prefer reliability over warranty.  I can also buy extended warranties with cars, and geothermal, should I desire it.  I paid more for a 10 year geothermal warranty because the technology and the installer were new to me.

Homeowner with WF Envision NDV038 (packaged) & NDZ026 (split), one 3000' 4 pipe closed horizontal ground loop, Prestige thermostats, desuperheaters, 85 gal. Marathon.
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12 Jul 2010 04:19 PM
Is the extended warranty with the dealer or the HVAC manufacturer?
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12 Jul 2010 04:29 PM
Great question. Maybe an installer can tell us if this is an either/or situation, or a combination of both (installer and manufacturer.)
Homeowner with WF Envision NDV038 (packaged) & NDZ026 (split), one 3000' 4 pipe closed horizontal ground loop, Prestige thermostats, desuperheaters, 85 gal. Marathon.
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12 Jul 2010 11:07 PM
Could be either. Sometimes 3rd party. A prominent carrier of extended warranties just dodged bankruptcy with a last minute investor.
If I had to prioritize I would say manufacturer Ex warranty is best.....others are a crap shoot....That is to say some good some bad. A detroit area large volume furnace dealer self insures, keeps a seperate account and vacations on the profits.
j
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www.doityourselfgeothermal.com
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