A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac


December 10, 2008
Emilie Phillips

We got an estimate from one of the contractors yesterday. He has done a bunch of very well sealed houses. However, his price came out a bit too high, and it seems like he would be inclined to build a different type of house than we want — extremely energy efficient but otherwise conventional.

Do any of you guys know how much a hydronic ground source heat pump costs? The prices we can find online include full geothermal system installation and are insane ($30k). I wouldn’t think the pump itself would be that expensive since it is just an air conditioner run backwards.


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Comments (4)

    • Re: ground source heat pump

      We have been generally planning on a hot water backup heating system, so the heat pump would a be a replacement for the boiler, and the contractor would still be doing all the plumbing.

      From what we can tell, all the piping and trenching for a closed loop geothermal system is quit expensive. The other option that might be affordable is an open loop system where you use water out of your well and release it back to a drain well. This only works if you get enough flow out of your well, so we would need to ask the neighbors how their do.

  • A refrigeration engineer once answered this for me, because their original attempt at a heat pump was an air conditioner run backwards and customers were rather disappointed with them. I’ve forgotten the details, but the major points were

    1) It has to be much better built because it runs a lot more than an air conditioner (full year, the inside-outside temp difference is higher in winter, and it has to work in winter temps). Commercial air conditioners are designed for that, but are more expensive than what you’d get for your home.

    2) Something to do with the phase change makes a heat exchanger that works in both directions harder to do well than one optimized for each direction.

    3) It’s a niche market, so there’s less off-the-shelf components, and custom ones cost more but would be cheaper if the market was bigger.