What to ask before you buy geothermal - Shoppers Checklist
Last Post 26 Sep 2014 02:49 PM by greg mulder. 112 Replies.
Printer Friendly
Sort:
PrevPrev NextNext
You are not authorized to post a reply.
Page 3 of 6 << < 12345 > >>
Author Messages
engineerUser is Offline
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:2749

--
10 Apr 2010 09:52 AM
That's just a bit rich, don't you think?

You are a two-post Johnny-come-lately new member with a clear commercial interest in geo and you waltz in and impugn the competence of 'most installers'?

While we provide reasonable assistance to DIYers and your company may be a reasonable source of supply for those looking to roll their own, your tone leaves a bit to be desired...

...as do your grammar and usage - what does "Hai, Geothermal Heat Pumps are much energy sufficient" mean, exactly? If written English isn't your strong suit consider seeking proofreading assistance before you post.

I browsed your site and out of idle curiosity attempted to price a 3 ton FHP, but no model-specific information appeared, so you may want to work on that as well.

Curt Kinder <br><br>

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is - Winston Churchill <br><br><a href="http://www.greenersolutionsair.com">www.greenersolutionsair.com</a>
joe.amiUser is Offline
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:4377
Avatar

--
11 Apr 2010 11:28 AM
Posted By ingramswater on 10 Apr 2010 01:49 AM
Alert !

Geothermal Heat Pumps are mostly installed by the wrong persons who knows little knowledge about it ! So as a consumer we must pay attention to the every thing during installation !

Regards
Geothermal Heat Pump


Kinda supports our posistion to screen installer first and foremost everything else is further down the list. By the way their is a place here where you can advertise, this isn't one of them.
Joe
Joe Hardin
www.amicontracting.com
We Dig Comfort!
www.doityourselfgeothermal.com
Dig Your Own Comfort!
TechGromitUser is Offline
Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Send Private Message
Posts:634

--
17 May 2010 12:26 PM
Posted By engineer on 10 Apr 2010 09:52 AM

...as do your grammar and usage - what does "Hai, Geothermal Heat Pumps are much energy sufficient" mean, exactly? If written English isn't your strong suit consider seeking proofreading assistance before you post.



Maybe he's a Nigerian Geo installer.  Send me $500 and I'll mail you a geo system with complete easy to follow instructions. Read my testimonials:

I can barely operate a screwdriver, but with Niger-Geo's easy to follow instructions, I installed a quality Geo system for under $1,000.  I'm saving thousands of dollars every year! I can't believe it was that easy.  - John Delirium Tremens, Hallucination, WI.

I'm wheelchair bound, but with the Niger-Geo's quality Geo system, I was able to connect it right up to my washer machine.  Every time I set it to the spin cycle, i can just see the savings. Thanks Niger-Geo!  - Christopher Reeve, Krypton, CA.  

Palace GeothermalUser is Offline
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:1609

--
17 May 2010 04:09 PM
did the offending post get deleted?
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
VolleyballUser is Offline
New Member
New Member
Send Private Message
Posts:73

--
20 Jun 2010 12:49 PM
As a new to thinking about geo person, I patted my back for having already asked most of the questions plus others in my interviews. I am wondering if the list could be expanded to having some weight factors. Like the stages answer, would it make a big difference for all install or is it more important for a larger vs smaller system, maybe have multiple zones or floors weigh in.
joe.amiUser is Offline
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:4377
Avatar

--
21 Jun 2010 09:40 AM
Posted By Volleyball on 20 Jun 2010 12:49 PM
As a new to thinking about geo person, I patted my back for having already asked most of the questions plus others in my interviews. I am wondering if the list could be expanded to having some weight factors. Like the stages answer, would it make a big difference for all install or is it more important for a larger vs smaller system, maybe have multiple zones or floors weigh in.

Among my goals as a co author of the list was to make it extremely clear that if you took care of making sure you selected a good contractor everything else would take care of itself.

Brand, which to me would include model (stages) is at the bottom of the list.
IOWs
most design was intentionally avoided for the purposes of this list.
Why you ask?

'Cause if you get the right contractor everything else is taken care of.

re zones; not a fan, but if you must, most agree a 2 stage unit is necessary.

good luck,
joe
Joe Hardin
www.amicontracting.com
We Dig Comfort!
www.doityourselfgeothermal.com
Dig Your Own Comfort!
tinoueUser is Offline
New Member
New Member
Send Private Message
Posts:96

--
21 Jun 2010 10:35 AM
Joe - I agree with that sentiment - that the right contractor is the most important criterion, however, the manufacturer support is a critical consideration.

I'll use a concrete example. Recently, there's been a discussion from a home owner who bought a house that had a Water Furnace system. A Water Furnace rep came into the discussion very quickly and vowed to make it right. That is the type of outstanding customer/dealer support that is rare. Some other manufacturers have reputations for being very difficult to work with, often not returning contractors calls, and definitely wouldn't be getting involved with an end user.

I've been involved on both sides of these types of issues As someone who, for many years, owned a company that made and supported products, I know first hand that the quality of the rep/contractor is key, but you have to have a good company backing the product or you're going to be out of luck.

I know on these discussions, we tend to shy away from mentioning manufacturers by name, and often for good reason. But I think it's important that we are honest with one another. There are good manufacturers and there are bad ones and both should be called out.
joe.amiUser is Offline
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:4377
Avatar

--
21 Jun 2010 11:01 AM
tinoue,
You agree that the contractor is most important.
Why do I not cite one product as superior to another?
I would submit that the only time there is a need for the customer to recieve support from the manufacturer is when there is a breakdown in the relationship with the installer.
I applaud WFs involvement in the social media that you refered to, but even they will tell you that they can't fix a heat pump, they can only refer you to dealers. If they happen to have a dealer breakdown in an area there is sometimes little they can do.

So what's the best heat pump? Whatever the best contractor in your area sells.
j

Joe Hardin
www.amicontracting.com
We Dig Comfort!
www.doityourselfgeothermal.com
Dig Your Own Comfort!
AltonUser is Offline
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:2160

--
13 Jul 2010 04:26 PM

Joe,

I agree with you that the contractor is a vital link.  However, I think mechanical reliability of the product should also be considered.  Some products are more prone to failure.  So I think the mean time between failure should also be considered when making purchasing decisions.  In most cases, the end user has no way to determine failure rate.  Only a few HVAC manufacturers have told me their failure rate and I am often the person that does the specifying for the project.  If all data was published for the public to see then quality might improve and deciding which system to purchase would be easier.

Another thought for the end user with an uncaring or unknowing HVAC dealer:  There are some dealers that will travel out of their territory to help solve problems. 

Residential Designer &
Construction Technology Consultant -- E-mail: Alton at Auburn dot Edu Use email format with @ and period .
334 826-3979
joe.amiUser is Offline
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:4377
Avatar

--
14 Jul 2010 12:10 AM
Posted By Alton on 13 Jul 2010 04:26 PM

Joe,

I agree with you that the contractor is a vital link.  However, I think mechanical reliability of the product should also be considered. 
1) Some products are more prone to failure. 
2) So I think the mean time between failure should also be considered when making purchasing decisions. 
3) In most cases, the end user has no way to determine failure rate. 
4) Only a few HVAC manufacturers have told me their failure rate and I am often the person that does the specifying for the project. 
5) If all data was published for the public to see then quality might improve and deciding which system to purchase would be easier.

6) Another thought for the end user with an uncaring or unknowing HVAC dealer:  There are some dealers that will travel out of their territory to help solve problems. 



Alton,
I'm torn between giving up the point or delight that I can reiterate. I have numbered your points to best respond.
1) Good contractors know that return visits cost more than quality products. Therefore good contractors select the brand that best achieves their goals and minimizes return visits. So.... selecting a good contractor means you get a good product.
2) Manufacturer is not the only factor in equipment failure, in fact the most common denominator in heat pump failure is poor installation.
3) True; consumer will have a much harder time determining product failure rate than who is a quality contractor. References might suggest a problem with unit but rapid and satisfactory contractor response.
4) Define failure rate. The manufacturer certainly will. Of course they won't include improper installation as it is not their fault. Are you suggesting there is a stand alone superior heat pump? I don't agree.
5) Which data? Failure rate? As defined by manufacturer? You? Again most of the problems I see with any brand of heat pump are installation and job design. How does manufacturer, salesman or installer quantify that?
6) If end user follows our advice here when they buy the system, they are much less likely to have to search for a caring or knowing HVAC dealer as he/she is already in their employ.

Not only are most systems sharing the same compressor manufacturer and many the same coax manufacturer, two of the "big boy's" flag ship units shared the same engineering team.
There is near parity in the industry, with few exceptions. The largest disparity is designing/installing contractor.

I will continue to suggest that competant design and caring installer trump brand. I don't sell brands that smell like trouble nor will the contractor in your town that comes highly recommended by friends neigbors etc. I have however carried or dropped brands based on customer intangibles such as distributor support which varies regionally. I have installed 4 different brands. Never have I made a selection based on price. One I never installed was disqualified due to the regional reps behavior, another due to reputation for trouble. One that I dropped was due to the distributor's sluggish service response when a unit failed combined with manufacturer's "no replacement" policy.
The brand I currently carry has a few features I prefer. What I like most is a policy that encourages (encourages) change out, not repair, of major problems on delivery.  Every brand has them, this is the only one that doesn't want me to fix them. Better for my customer, better for me. 

Those who continue to insist on brand focus, fail to recognize that a poor design or installer can make the end user's experience bad....regardless of brand or equipment quality. Once product is delivered (to dealer), manufacturer no longer controls quality.


Joe Hardin
www.amicontracting.com
We Dig Comfort!
www.doityourselfgeothermal.com
Dig Your Own Comfort!
AltonUser is Offline
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:2160

--
14 Jul 2010 07:53 AM

Joe,

Well stated.  I now understand your point of view much better.

Residential Designer &
Construction Technology Consultant -- E-mail: Alton at Auburn dot Edu Use email format with @ and period .
334 826-3979
VolleyballUser is Offline
New Member
New Member
Send Private Message
Posts:73

--
14 Jul 2010 08:22 AM
Joe, It is hard to say

1) Good contractors know that return visits cost more than quality products. Therefore good contractors select the brand that best achieves their goals and minimizes return visits. So.... selecting a good contractor means you get a good product.


Like all type of equipment brands, you only see so many dealers in an area. Maybe brand X may be 1 guys first choice but some competitor has that already and brand Y wants a area rep so they offer you a good deal.
Or maybe you feel getting more service calls keeps you in business.

A lot of manufacturers and dealers have gone out of business because their stuff was too good.

And what about the company? If your dealer only has one geo guy and they are suddenly gone, where does that leave you? The company might still exist but the know how is gone.
VolleyballUser is Offline
New Member
New Member
Send Private Message
Posts:73

--
14 Jul 2010 08:28 AM
For anyone who knows.
How long after production ends does a manufacturer say they will stock parts and offer support? These are low production items so there might not be many spares made. I am in the computer business and remember when they were unique and trying to fix something. You knew what was wrong but parts were not avaialble
joe.amiUser is Offline
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:4377
Avatar

--
14 Jul 2010 09:21 AM
Volleyball,
Brands are available in more than one name. So if I can't get a "Carrier" because the territory is taken, I can buy a Climatemaster, Comfortaire, Bryant etc. and it is the same unit.

Can you name me one HVAC manufacturer who has gone out of business because their "stuff was too good"?

How do you suppose a dealer could program junky equipment NOT to fail during warranty? That kind of service call costs me money.
Service calls do not keep me in business, sales do. There is no comparison in hourly margin.
Service is simply a sales vehicle. We are there when it is time to replace equipment. All equipment fails eventually, we simply have to wait and continue to please our customers so that their choice is easy once the time comes.

...and the company with one geo guy?... I really can't think of a way to cover all the what-ifs on a 10 point suggestion list.

"These are low production items so there might not be many spares made."....no not really. Climatemaster, Watefurnace and Florida heat pump sell millions of units. Bard, Econar and some of the other smaller players use the same, blower motors, compressors, etc. By and large the most unique thing from one brand to the next is the paint job.
Even in the younger DX market, replacement units have been paired with 20 year old loop fields and perform fine.

Comparing geo to computers is a poor analogy. A modern geo has much in common with a 1950's model. I could repair a 50 year old unit with modern components.
You think my laptop has much in common with the first computer?

I've spent several hours on this very site cutting through bull, or "salesman's focus". "Best peak efficiencies", bull, near parity in average efficiency. "Best warranty", bull, base warranties have near parity, only insurance plans vary significantly in underwriter and coverage. "Longest lasting", bull, same components put together same way, sometimes by the same people or design team. "Vertical loops are better than horizontal loops are better than open loops", bull, all perform well if designed and applied correctly. The list goes on.
So what's left to really make or break your experience??????

Designer/installer. Until you get it out of your mind that there is something hugely unique from one brand to the next, you will never understand why I and other pros here, suggest dealer is most important.

Alton,
thanx.

J



Joe Hardin
www.amicontracting.com
We Dig Comfort!
www.doityourselfgeothermal.com
Dig Your Own Comfort!
joe.amiUser is Offline
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:4377
Avatar

--
14 Jul 2010 09:21 AM
dup



Joe Hardin
www.amicontracting.com
We Dig Comfort!
www.doityourselfgeothermal.com
Dig Your Own Comfort!
VolleyballUser is Offline
New Member
New Member
Send Private Message
Posts:73

--
14 Jul 2010 10:01 AM
With warrenty as little as 1 year, the failure rate under warrenty could be low. Even 10 year warranties. When I spoke computers, I am not talking the toaster you use. those are consumables. I am talking business machines. While they got their parts from sometimes the same company, it is not that they would work in different brands. Can I go to water furnace and get a board for a hydron or carrier? I expect that my unit will be with me for several decades. Unless they become commodity items and very cheap like computers did over the last decade, I will want to get parts for it. I know I can get aftermarket logic boards for trane conventional furnaces that I think are better than the original for $70. Will that be an option for me in 15 years for most of the geo systems?
I agree your dealer is mega important. But if they cannot get a part or are are not there, the home owner is the one without a conditioned space. Who want to wait 3 weeks or more? And who has the money it takes to replace, especially if they are retired? If your laptop was $6000, how long would you want it to last?
geomeUser is Offline
Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Send Private Message
Posts:987

--
14 Jul 2010 10:06 AM
Posted By Volleyball on 14 Jul 2010 08:28 AM
How long after production ends does a manufacturer say they will stock parts and offer support? These are low production items so there might not be many spares made. I am in the computer business and remember when they were unique and trying to fix something. You knew what was wrong but parts were not avaialble
Generally, not limited to geothermal, some companies have established policies on how long they will support and have parts available after a model has been discontinued, and some companies do not.  If the manufacturer doesn't publicize this information, you would need to ask if they have such a policy.  Of course, even if there is a policy, it could be reduced or extended.

WF, do you have a parts availability and support policy that you can tell us about?
Homeowner with WF Envision NDV038 (packaged) & NDZ026 (split), one 3000' 4 pipe closed horizontal ground loop, Prestige thermostats, desuperheaters, 85 gal. Marathon.
joe.amiUser is Offline
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:4377
Avatar

--
14 Jul 2010 10:28 PM
Posted By Volleyball on 14 Jul 2010 10:01 AM
1) With warrenty as little as 1 year, the failure rate under warrenty could be low. Even 10 year warranties.
2) When I spoke computers, I am not talking the toaster you use. those are consumables. I am talking business machines.  3) Can I go to water furnace and get a board for a hydron or carrier? I expect that my unit will be with me for several decades. Unless they become commodity items and very cheap like computers did over the last decade, I will want to get parts for it.
4) I know I can get aftermarket logic boards for trane conventional furnaces that I think are better than the original for $70. Will that be an option for me in 15 years for most of the geo systems?
5) I agree your dealer is mega important.
6) If your laptop was $6000, how long would you want it to last?
I'm already kicking myself for being baited, but here goes....
1) Junk is junk with no time line. If failure rate is high you can't rule out first year.
2) Don't recall discussing toasters. I'm talking heat pumps.
3) Waterfurnace obviously only sells Waterfurnace parts. Universal parts exist, but they are sold by different distributors. Do you go to Ford for a Chevy part or perhaps Pep Boys.
4) Aftermarket parts are available, but not through manufacturers.
5) Glad we agree.
6) My laptop was closer to $1,500, the commercial software again as much. The ROI much more dubious than an appliance that saves me thousands each year.

Can I replace a Waterfurnace circuit board with one made by somebody else? Yes. Because the components it controls are the same. It will take some wire nuts since the harnesses don't match, but it is not difficult for someone in the know.
You percieve the technology as unique. I see the unique harnesses as a nuisance.
j

Joe Hardin
www.amicontracting.com
We Dig Comfort!
www.doityourselfgeothermal.com
Dig Your Own Comfort!
VolleyballUser is Offline
New Member
New Member
Send Private Message
Posts:73

--
14 Jul 2010 11:35 PM
your laptop is a toaster. You can buy one anywhere any time. forget to bring to an important meeting in another state, pick one up at local box store, download your software and you are good to go. I've done a lot of board swapping being in the computer field for a long time, long enough that I use to repair keyboards. Actual part repairs. Better have schematics from both brands model to even attempt this.
So who sells parts for geo? Not reclaim shops who part out dead units, but new or rebuilt units. I can go to pep boys for a lot of a cars parts but not all.
The point about the $6k laptop is that as the price goes up, you are less likely to think of it as disposable. And laptops used to cost $6k.
If geo units drop down to $1500 in a few years, my concerns are voided. I don't see it happening.
A lot of this is all perspective. As a dealer, you want everyone to rely on you. And a good dealer will do their best to take care of the customer. But when it comes down to it, who is going to take the hit if things go wrong? The home owner. And there doesn't seem to be a mechanism that guarantees the home owner so we do feel the manufacturer is mega important too
joe.amiUser is Offline
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:4377
Avatar

--
15 Jul 2010 10:40 PM
Ok,
which is the best brand and why?
please also identify the faults of the others.
You know my answer to question 1. The best brand is the one that is sold by the best contractor in your town. Question 2 has a similar answer, they are not sold by the best contractor in your town.
What has your research (over the last 2 months) turned up that the pros here don't know?
I still don't sell toasters and am disappointed to learn my expensive lap top is equated to my 20 dollar toaster.
J
Joe Hardin
www.amicontracting.com
We Dig Comfort!
www.doityourselfgeothermal.com
Dig Your Own Comfort!
You are not authorized to post a reply.
Page 3 of 6 << < 12345 > >>


Active Forums 4.1
Membership Membership: Latest New User Latest: devoraharvey New Today New Today: 0 New Yesterday New Yesterday: 0 User Count Overall: 34765
People Online People Online: Visitors Visitors: 70 Members Members: 0 Total Total: 70
Copyright 2011 by BuildCentral, Inc.   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement