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Thread: Can I add solar power to my existing Geothermal closed loop system?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member treeguy68's Avatar
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    Default Can I add solar power to my existing Geothermal closed loop system?

    I had geo installed in my 1903 constructed home in Iowa. The house is well insulated so this is not an issue. For a background, I have been in my house for 4 years. The first year we used what was here, a high efficiency propane furnace for heat with condensor/acoil for cooling. Heating was much more reasonable than I had ever thought and only used $800 worth of propane compared to my neighbors newer smaller home $1400. I was happy without truly knowing it. Summer on the other hand was outrageous for cooling! $250-$400 a month for cooling.

    I had a professional contractor install the latest greatest geo unit after 2 summers and 1 winter in the house. I had a total flip flop, I could store meat in the house in the summer for around $70 a month, but my heating is unbelievable at $275-$400 per month, this is keeping the house at a mere 62 degrees. I am wondering the possibility and thoughts of either connecting a wood boiler system to the existing geo unit(this is a hard sell to my wife even tho I own and operate a tree service) or adding a solar water system to the geo. Also if a tank would be needed with solar or if the existing closed loop can be effecive for storage of heat. In my head this should be possible, maybe with covers for the units and valves to be opened/closed for the changing of seasons to avoid baking the family in July 105 temps.

    Good and bad is I was a commercial plumber for 2 years a very long time ago, and now an artist which gives me the capability to think I can do most any of this myself. I do live in the country and out of any city annex so regulations are very minimal, but I still want things done right. Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Default

    I suspect the solution isn't to hack even more hardware into the system, but to diagnose what's wrong with the geo system (or it's design.) House that can be heated with $800 of propane in a season at recent-years propane pricing would normally cost under $300 per year (not per month) to heat with ground source heat pumps (GSHP), and is should be able to keep up with the average load, even if it was intentionally undersized for the peak load.

    If it's spending ALL or MOST of it's time running on the auxilliary heating strips rather than getting the bulk of the heat out of the GSHP it would perform about as you described.

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