GEOTHERMAL REVISITED: A look back at Bill Judd’s System
~ By Holly Haining-Zulieve
We thought it might be a useful exercise to catch up with customers previously featured in Customer Corner articles. We wanted to learn how various systems have been performing and share the results with all of you.
BILL JUDD – SUMMARY:
Bill’s story was first featured in the January 2013 issue of PIPELINE, but the relationship actually began in 2008, soon after Bill had purchased the post & beam farmhouse on the Damariscotta River. Coincidentally, we also had installed the plumbing for the original owner when the house was built in 2002. Bill bought the house with the intention to transform its mechanical systems according to his own specific energy efficient requirements and we were pleased that he asked MCES to orchestrate the process. The old boiler was replaced with a new, highly efficient NTI propane unit, and then added a mini split heat pump to the sunroom to supplement the room’s solar gain and radiant floor heat on the coldest days of the year. Finally in 2012, MCES installed a geothermal heating system – the piece de resistance to Bill’s vision.
HERE’S THE REST OF THE STORY
Recently, I paid Bill a visit to find out how things were going with the new systems since my interview with him five years ago. He reported that things had, in fact, gone well and according to the plan. He said that the house has remained comfortable primarily due to the geothermal system that supplies all of the heating and domestic hot water, including radiant heat in the basement and first floors and a ductless heat pump on the second floor. Bill also burns an average of two cords of wood per year in his centrally located woodstove. According to Bill, all systems have been working together by harmoniously performing their specific functions, so-much-so, that these days he rarely thinks about it.
Bill says that in 2014, within the first 24 months after the geothermal system was installed, a “few bugs” had to be worked out. We solved the problem with the addition of a small pressure tank, and upgrading from a relay unit to a new control switch that allows for better communications between the geothermal & propane units. Happily, since those changes were made none of the mechanical systems have required no further attention.
Today, with all of the homes heating being driven primarily by geothermal, Bill enjoys bumping up the thermostat much higher than before. Because propane is only needed during sub-zero temperatures, Bill’s combined utilities costs have gone down.
FUN GEOTHERMAL FACTS:
• Geothermal systems produce zero carbon monoxide and greenhouse gas emissions.
• Depending on current fuel costs (that fluctuate wildly from year to year) operating efficiencies have been known to provide up to 70% savings versus traditional heating and cooling equipment.
• A geothermal system operates the same whether you are in Maine or Miami. Heat is moved into the earth in the summer, and removed from the earth in the winter.
• Geothermal requires very little maintenance; because geothermal systems have one-third of the moving parts as traditional HVAC equipment.
• It takes one unit of electricity for a geothermal heating & cooling system to move up to 4 units of cooling or heating from the earth to a building.