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Friday, May 24, 2013

Um... Is this normal?

Is it normal to have a deep and meaningful relationship with a heating and air conditioning system?  I would bet it is not....but let me explain...

Our Geothermal system went in this week.  You may ask... what is a geothermal system?  It is our new heater, air conditioner, and water heater.  Say what!? How is it different than a typical heating and air conditioning unit?  While my husband could type up a nice detailed explanation for you, I am more inclined to post this video for you to help explain how it works.  :-) I don't know about you, but I am more of a visual person anyway.

Did you make it through the whole video? -it was a little lengthy, sorry.

So basically the system uses the ground temperature, which stays at a generally constant temperature of ~55 degrees, and transfers heat to or from the system to heat/cool your home.

 I think most people can see the benefits of geothermal, but why did WE chose it?  There are several reasons:

1. Currently we have an old oil burning furnace that is likely original to our home.  Oil burning furnaces are way out of date, so it really needed replacing, and we certainly were not going to replace it with another oil furnace. Natural Gas would have been the first choice, however, it is not provided out where our house is located.  Sure, we could have done an electric or a propane furnace but when you compare them with a geothermal system, there is really no contest in our minds.

2. It is SUPER energy efficient.  Compared to an oil furnace, we will save an estimated $2000 a year with our geothermal system.  Even with Gas, its about $1000 in savings.  If you are interested, you can find the cost savings calculator that I used here.
3.We have to replace our furnace AND add air conditioning AND a new water heater, so we really were starting from scratch.  One unit offers, both heating AND air conditioning and with an added part, you can utilize the system to heat your water.  We've been told, in the summer, when you are adding heat to the unit from your house, you basically get FREE hot water. You can't beat free!
4. We live next to the river which provides the perfect opportunity to install an open loop system, which is a less expensive installation approach. 
5.  We sprang for the extra option of being able to control the humidity levels in our your home.  No more dry static-y air for me in the winter! Woohoo!

6. Although the upfront cost is higher than traditional heating and cooling systems, over time, you more than recover the cost.  What also helps is that there is a 30% tax CREDIT for the cost of installing the system.  (And if you are like me and always have to ask your husband which is better - a tax credit or tax deduction?:  the answer is tax credit) That is a HUGE amount of money that comes right back into our pockets bringing the total cost of installation down to a more manageable price.  Not only do we see a tax benefit once but we also get a property tax deduction every year because of our geothermal system! Are you sold yet!? We were.

I think you can probably hear my excitement! And of course not every family is in the right situation for adding a geothermal system to their home.  Again, if we did not see ourselves living in this house long-term, we would probably go for something with less cost up front.  But we anticipate seeing that money back in energy savings.  We have been sooooo happy working with the guys over at Crystal Valley.  They have been great at helping us with the geothermal learning curve.  We really appreciate their thoroughness and professionalism. 

So that's that! We won't kick start the system until probably more like August/September after all the dry wall is know, after the heat of summer is over.  Looking forward to that!

Other exciting milestones from the week:

The load bearing wall came down and the big beam went up!!!

Before: living room looking toward dining room and kitchen

 After: living room looking toward dining room and kitchen

We finalized and ordered our kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity!

We got the dumpster!... and its filling up fast!

It's been an exciting week! But, if you can believe it or not, we have more demolition yet to do.  Bathroom, watch out, we're coming for you! I'll be back next week with another update! Hope you all have a great Memorial day!