This topic is very broad and the answers can branch off in many directions. So, to start, here is a short list of practices that can lower your retrofit install costs: Cheap equipment, HVAC contractors that are not knowledgeable or take short cuts, loops that are too short for your homes load, improper installs, no customer assistance before or after the install, etc.
Unfortunately, these are the pitfalls many homeowners fall into because some unscrupulous contractor has promised such a comparatively low bid. The old adage rings true — you get what you pay for. If you have already fallen for this unethical ruse, I'm sure it didn't take long to feel the ramifications.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's narrow the focus a bit. There is a large segment of homeowners that disqualify the geo option because of the design or finish of their home. They look at their drywall finished basements, too-small furnace rooms or inadequate access and see their bank account being drained by the cost of renovation or repair work needed for a typical geothermal system install. They understand the components that generally make up the price of geo, but are unwilling to pay for or deal with the hassle of revamping the interior of their house. In some instances, these costs can be prohibitive.
If you are in this group, don't give up on enjoying the comfort and efficiency you desire! There is a geo application for you that eliminates the extra money normally associated with your situation. The answer is an 'Outdoor Geothermal Split System'. It is great for retrofit because it greatly reduces work inside your home. In most instances, the need to alter the interior is eliminated. This remarkably compact unit sits outside in place of your old a/c or heatpump and the flow center attaches to the side. This eliminates the need to bring the piping from your loop system into your home. The Outdoor Geo Split can be used with your existing furnace or air handler, or these components can be replaced with new.
The bottom line — this amazing application tears down many retro-fit roadblocks that have discouraged homeowners in the past. There is no added cost to renovate, patch or repair your home's interior, just the monthly savings and comfort of geothermal.
This expert insight brought to you by Russ Scott, general manager of Scott-Lee Heating Co. and an Enertech Global LLC geothermal dealer.
Russ Scott has worked for more than 16 years at Scott-Lee Heating Co., and is now the general manager of the business his father co-founded. He received business and creative writing degrees from St. Louis University, is on the S.M.A.C.N.A. - St. Louis Board of Directors, is a Contractor Rep on the Local 36 Apprentice Committee and is involved with the local H.B.A. and A.C.C.A. chapters. Russ enjoys sharing his knowledge of all high-efficient HVAC systems, especially geothermal heat pumps.