Thread: DIY heat pump??
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Old 09-20-2008, 07:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by conradpdx View Post
Depending on your location but many people actually put their exchangers into ponds and lakes. In fact, I believe these are typically the most effecient heat pump systems typically. Since, I don't live so close to a body of water I never researched this type of heat pump but if you have rights to that lake and it never completely freezes you could probably save a ton of money with a heat pump.

I did look into burying my coils when I replaced my 60 year old oil furnace with an electric heat pump this last spring and the cost went from $12,000 (with complete electrical upgrade) to something like $25,000-$30,000 guess from the estimator (he said he wasn't sure cause it's so expensive he's never actually sold one). Most of that cost is in the massive amount of copper pipe needed.

But I'm happy to say that the new heat pump not only saved us in heating fuel costs, but the old heater used so much power for the fan and ignition and ditching the two window AC units that even our electric bill dropped by about $100.00 a month. Not bad, and it's all electric so it's the most adaptable of systems on the market when it comes to future energy. (Sorry gas and oil---you're all dinosaurs).
It's good to hear from someone with a heat pump! Glad it working out so well for you. I fear this oil burner I'm using is about to bring me into a world of woe.. Luckily, it can also burn coal, wood or junk mail..

I've just spent a lot of this afternoon reading about closed loop systems.
The pond loops seem to be one of the easier installs.
But, all of the hardware is kinda costly. Plus, it takes 'trained experts' to install it all for you, that runs the bill way the heck up..

It's like solar PV stuff. You price out the kit and it's $9,500 but the the total after installation is $22,000

Here's a sample ECONAR GeoSource Geothermal Heat Pumps: DualTEK of what I've been reading about. The manuals at some of these sites are very informative.

The Average year-round air temp here is 48f. And I read that's also supposed to be the average ground water temp. It's just a bit higher at the end of summer.
But, I don't think it will get down to 45 by the end of winter.

If they are using ground loops for heat up in Canada, I'm sure it will work down here..

I'm starting to think if a guy just wanted to do a closed-loop system on a small scale, like 10,000 to 20,000 BTU/h, he would likely have to DIY..

If the day comes when we can't get some heating oil delivered, it might be
nice to use some KWHs without getting a massive electric bill hit.

I have a spot in the low lands of my backyard where I could dig a 90'L x 8'W trench. I'm not sure how deep I could get before it got too muddy to work.
If I could get it down to 4 feet+, I think it would work okay.
Mud might be a good sign. If the pipes are deep in mud that's below a foot below the frost line..?.

I've looked at a couple of old ACs and I think it might not be real hard to tweak an old 18,000 BTU Kenmore into use as a heat pump.
I see them for sale around here all the time. Even a new one isn't that costly if you by it in the fall.

During the hot humid summertime, that closed loop could be connected to a easy DIY dehumidifier/cooler for my basement shop!

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