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  • Feb 5th, 2018 3:30 pm
[OP]
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Jul 10, 2006
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Geothermal question

So I live near orangeville in a house heated with electric baseboards, I know this sucks. I was thinking of getting a furnace this coming year. Gas isn't an option but propane or geothermal is. Would geothermal be the better option? I have heard it costs a lot for operating the pumps? Is this true? Which should u go for?
"Truth is High, Higher Still is Truthful Living" Guru Nanak
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May 16, 2011
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I paid ~$40,000 for my geothermal switching from oil 3.5 years ago. You're going to spend a lot on getting ducting installed unless you happen to have a bungalow with an unfinished basement.

My house is fairly large and the previous owner would spend $3000-$4000 on oil to heat the place per year in combination with a wood stove.

It costs me about $1,500/year to heat the place using geothermal and the cost to air condition the place using geothermal is practically nothing (and I like it cold in the summer!).

My house is a ~4,000sq foot house that is fairly old (half of it was built in 1860) so it's fairly inefficient. A newer house would easily have way better numbers.

Also keep in mind that there are new government incentives for converting to geothermal. I would have saved about $10k on mine if I had just waited for the incentives.
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Thank u for the reply. We do have a bungalow built in 1991 with partially unfinished basement. Guess it's time to renovate :)
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Jan 19, 2011
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Your best option is an electrically powered ground sourced geothermal heat pump system. They are extremely efficient, and after installation your annual heating expenses compared to electric baseboard will be reduced anywhere from 40% up to 70% or even more.

The big advantage is your new geothermal system both heats in winter, and cools in summer, and the reversed AC mode is more efficient and lower cost to operate than an 'air source' air conditioner.

Finally, the cost of solar installation (ground mount and roof mount, or a combination of both) is becoming more cost competitive, so ultimately installing a net metered solar installation means you can produce your own hydro for as little or a fair bit less than Ontario Hydro will be able to sell it to you in the future.

Really the future is electric, home solar and wind, and oil and propane will be things of the past soon.
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fieldhousehandyman wrote:
Jan 19th, 2018 10:42 pm
Your best option is an electrically powered ground sourced geothermal heat pump system. They are extremely efficient, and after installation your annual heating expenses compared to electric baseboard will be reduced anywhere from 40% up to 70% or even more.

The big advantage is your new geothermal system both heats in winter, and cools in summer, and the reversed AC mode is more efficient and lower cost to operate than an 'air source' air conditioner.

Finally, the cost of solar installation (ground mount and roof mount, or a combination of both) is becoming more cost competitive, so ultimately installing a net metered solar installation means you can produce your own hydro for as little or a fair bit less than Ontario Hydro will be able to sell it to you in the future.

Really the future is electric, home solar and wind, and oil and propane will be things of the past soon.
I have geothermal and solar, but at this point I wouldn't be quite as enthusiastic about them. With the dramatic increases in Hydro prices in Ontario the cost of running a geothermal system isn't cheap. A propane furnace is much cheaper to install. A lot of the decision comes down to a prediction about future hydro vs propane prices.

Currently the best option for solar is net metering which has a low ROI and you have to have the system in place for a LONG time even to achieve that. And there isn't much evidence that you'd get your money back if you sold your house. I really wish it made economic sense to do it but IMHO it doesn't.
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May 17, 2012
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OP, JWL makes a good case against Geothermal. It's not all it's cracked up to be with current and future hydro rates and the fact our climate is a bit too cold without an auxillary source or running the auxillary heater on the system on the coldest of days

I would go propane in your shoes (and/or Wood Stove). If your house is super airtight / efficient then maybe on the geothermal.
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esoxhntr wrote:
Jan 28th, 2018 10:01 am
OP, JWL makes a good case against Geothermal. It's not all it's cracked up to be with current and future hydro rates and the fact our climate is a bit too cold without an auxillary source or running the auxillary heater on the system on the coldest of days

I would go propane in your shoes (and/or Wood Stove). If your house is super airtight / efficient then maybe on the geothermal.
We do have a tight house, we have a hrv system to help cycle the air. If we went he other al we would also have to put in new ductwork :(
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esoxhntr wrote:
Jan 28th, 2018 10:01 am
OP, JWL makes a good case against Geothermal. It's not all it's cracked up to be with current and future hydro rates and the fact our climate is a bit too cold without an auxillary source or running the auxillary heater on the system on the coldest of days.
The only times we have Aux Heat go on are when we've had a problem with the furnace (something broken) or if we've let the temperature dip during the sleeping hours AND it is really cold out (then it might come on for 20 minutes). We do have a new house.
ashs wrote:
Jan 28th, 2018 2:46 pm
We do have a tight house, we have a hrv system to help cycle the air. If we went geothermal we would also have to put in new ductwork :(
You'd need the same ductwork with any forced air system like geothermal or propane (really anything other than sticking with electric baseboard). If you have some sort of ducting for the HRV it may be usable for the new system.
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JWL wrote:
Jan 28th, 2018 4:31 pm
The only times we have Aux Heat go on are when we've had a problem with the furnace (something broken) or if we've let the temperature dip during the sleeping hours AND it is really cold out (then it might come on for 20 minutes). We do have a new house.



You'd need the same ductwork with any forced air system like geothermal or propane (really anything other than sticking with electric baseboard). If you have some sort of ducting for the HRV it may be usable for the new system.

The hrv system does have duct work. Smaller then the usual.
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esoxhntr wrote:
Jan 28th, 2018 10:01 am
OP, JWL makes a good case against Geothermal. It's not all it's cracked up to be with current and future hydro rates and the fact our climate is a bit too cold without an auxillary source or running the auxillary heater on the system on the coldest of days

I would go propane in your shoes (and/or Wood Stove). If your house is super airtight / efficient then maybe on the geothermal.
You can just oversize the geothermal unit. My aux heater kicked in once this season (the day it was -40C with windchill in the GTA) and like I said before in this thread - my house is far from new and airtight.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd still get geothermal because I'm lazy and on snowy days the propane truck has trouble getting around in the country.

The way I work it out is that I paid $40,000 for geothermal or I could have paid ~$10,000 for propane. The cost of propane for my neighbors is $3,000 a year to heat their house (it's about half the size of mine) and I pay $1,500 a year. The repayment on it is 20 years if electricity and propane prices stay the same (good luck with that happening) which isn't really smart business other than the fact that I don't have to do anything like refueling and in a zombie apocalypse I can run the entire house off of solar.
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Jul 11, 2017
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Have you considered mini split heat pumps, or even a woodstove or pellet stove? Depending on the layout and insulation you should be able to heat the bungalow with a good pellet stove for around $6/day. Personally if I was in your situation I'd put Both. Use the mini split early spring well into late fall, then when it gets into the frigid temps kick on the pellet stove! Another plus is that you'd also have AC with the mini split! If wood isn't for you you could add a propane stove or forget about the second source of heat and use the baseboards as backup.
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Apr 18, 2017
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with electric baseboards, it's relatively easy to figure out your heating needs and costs.

there are 3412 BTU's in a kwh.
After taxes and fees you are likely paying around 12 cents per kilowatt hour.

A GSHP with a COP of 4 would reduce your heating costs by 75% but is expensive to install.
an air source is much cheaper to install, and would reduce your heating costs in 1/2.


As for Propane?
At 24000BTU's per liter, 95% efficiency....
At 70cents a liter,
you might save 15% over what you are paying now with electric baseboards.
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Bella125 wrote:
Feb 3rd, 2018 8:15 am
Have you considered mini split heat pumps, or even a woodstove or pellet stove? Depending on the layout and insulation you should be able to heat the bungalow with a good pellet stove for around $6/day. Personally if I was in your situation I'd put Both. Use the mini split early spring well into late fall, then when it gets into the frigid temps kick on the pellet stove! Another plus is that you'd also have AC with the mini split! If wood isn't for you you could add a propane stove or forget about the second source of heat and use the baseboards as backup.
Have heard good things about minisplits. Pellet doesn't make sense because we have so much wood. About 30 acres. Maybe wood as the backup.
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qman23 wrote:
Feb 4th, 2018 3:48 am
with electric baseboards, it's relatively easy to figure out your heating needs and costs.

there are 3412 BTU's in a kwh.
After taxes and fees you are likely paying around 12 cents per kilowatt hour.

A GSHP with a COP of 4 would reduce your heating costs by 75% but is expensive to install.
an air source is much cheaper to install, and would reduce your heating costs in 1/2.


As for Propane?
At 24000BTU's per liter, 95% efficiency....
At 70cents a liter,
you might save 15% over what you are paying now with electric baseboards.
Thank u for the info. We are leaning towards a heat pump or mini split, we're just worried about how much electricity they use to operate.
"Truth is High, Higher Still is Truthful Living" Guru Nanak
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ashs wrote:
Feb 4th, 2018 9:55 am
Thank u for the info. We are leaning towards a heat pump or mini split, we're just worried about how much electricity they use to operate.
Totally get it, Ive been there. Many years ago, I'd made up a spreadsheet of all the total costs of different fuel costs, including tank rentals, delivery fees, inspection, cleaning, and capital depreciation/repairs over 20 years.
That have me a cost per BTU for all the fuel types.
The cheapest at the time was actually Corn! It was selling for $100 / ton at the time.

Second place by a large margin a was heat pump, but it was expensive to install.

I also took into account stability of prices, all of which fluctuated dramatically over the years except electricity. It was very stabile over years, govt price protection as an essential service caused it's price increases to be moderate and lagging all other energy sources.

After 100 years, who would have thought the Ontario govt could muck things up so badly?

Anyway, it's operation costs are still cheaper by far than other energy sourses.
For capital costs help, Green-on energy program through the govt is buying votes right now with up to $20000 dollar rebates on GSHP,
Or
Up to $5800 for air source.

Good luck.

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