Author Archives: rick

Thank You!

We really appreciate our customers and most have become friends over the years. One of the best perks of being in geothermal is providing a real asset to someone’s home. Geothermal heating in Wisconsin is not only tangible but effective for both money savings of which everyone is on the prowl, and honest to goodness comfort in your home.

We want to give a shout out to friends of ours. Joel and Batima contracted Alternate Energys to provide a geothermal system for their home years ago. Like many of our customers, they have carved out a unique place within Alternate Energys. Here is what they wanted to express – and this was genuinely out of the blue.

We love Alternate Energys!

Living in our 1931 remodeled farm house in a summer like this with a system installed by Alternate Energys has been nothing less than sweet.

No matter how hot the days and nights were, all we felt was the gentle cool air from our geothermal system.

Having such a luxury makes us feel very thankful that we can live with this privilege.

Life just doesn’t get any better than living with a trouble free geothermal energy system.

Thank you Alternate Energy for being a part of our days ………….and nights.

Joel and Bettina

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Focus on Energy Rewards

Keep an eye out for new Focus on Energy GEOTHERMAL incentives coming back to Wisconsin. Several meetings have taken place to bring back the rebate program through Focus on Energy that supports geothermal energy for homeowners.

Currently homeowners can take advantage of standard heating, cooling and hot water production incentives – all of which Alternate Energys provides. We ensure your installation qualifies.

Focus on Energy Website: http://www.focusonenergy.com/Residential/Residential_Rewards_Program/

For the 2012 program, incentives are as follows:

  • 90% AFUE furnace with ECM (natural gas, propane, or oil-fired): $125
  • 95% AFUE furnace with ECM (natural gas-fired only): $275
  • Natural gas space heating boiler 90% AFUE: $300
  • Natural gas space heating boiler 95% AFUE: $400
  • Indirect water heater for space heating boiler: $100
  • Tankless water heater: 0.82 EF or greater: $100
  • Storage water heater: 0.67 EF or greater: $50
  • Condensing storage water heating 90% TE or greater: $100
  • Electric water heater 0.93 EF or greater: $25
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Alternate Energys on MSNBC

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Alternate Energys 2007 Commercial

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Save Money – Save the Planet

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Pond Loop

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Horizontal Loop

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Images from the Vogel home installation, Kiel Wisconsin.

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Geothermal and Hot Water Baseboard Heat – Don’t Do It!

Just talked to another guy today about hot water baseboard heat and geothermal. Does it work? KINDA works. It will ‘probably’ work as long as it doesn’t get colder than 25 degrees out. Reason being is that baseboard radiant heat is designed around 160 / 180 degrees. Geothermal maxes out at 120 / 140 degrees. It’s the chink in its armor.

Now, to be fair… If you install twice or three times the fin tube required (off the cuff) to heat a house with 160 / 180 degree water you may be able to handle the homes heating load.

Not to say Geo may not be the way to go. Other options still exist. Can you install or do you have duct work? If so, install a forced air Geo system or a combination unit. In-floor radiant works great in conjuction with Geo. No matter the situation, if you are burning LP or Fuel oil, you will have a very respectable return, even IF you have to spend additional dollars to get the right system.

Rick

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Geothermal Works – Guaranteed!

There are many conventional HVAC contractors, builders, even home owners out there that will tell you all the reasons why geothermal DOESN’T work. You must get the facts. Talk to people who install it, understand it and most importantly, live it. You can easily design and/or install the top of the line geothermal ‘box’ in a bad situation and it will NOT perform. Likewise, you can install a piece (lower end, low COP, low Performance) Geothermal box in a great situation and it will perform above specifications. It’s not the ‘box’s’ fault. It’s the installation. It’s almost ALWAYS the installation.

You will know the contractors who ‘live it’ versus the ‘pretenders’ when you talk to them. When looking for factual information, spend more time with the guy that understands COP’s, Cost per Million BTU’s, Local cost per KWH, Equipment Balance Points, Cost Comparisons – If they know what they are talking about and being honest, you’ll FEEL it. It’s human nature.

If you’re looking for info, a good place to start is at IGSHPA (International ground source heat pump association)

Don’t let someone talk you out of saving some serious $$$$

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Poor Geothermal Installations

Alternate Energys, Inc continues to receive phone calls from unhappy ‘Geo’ customers wanting us to explain, fix or re-design there installed system and in worst case scenarios replace the Geo unit with a conventional gas system.

COMPLAINTS:

  • High electric bills
  • System is noisy
  • Multiple failures
  • Poor comfort levels
  • Installing contractor is unable to service due to lack of knowledge or support
  • Installing contractor will not return phone calls
  • Unable to maintain temperatures in the home
  • Home owners don’t know how to operate their system
  • System installed was not what the home owner was expecting

These are all situations caused by a lack of knowledge and installation error NOT caused by the box itself, no matter the brand. This is why Alternate Energys prides itself on training, training, and training. We have 5 staff members with the IGSHPA (International ground source heat pump association) certification. We also have countless weeks of brand specific training on service and proper installation techniques and we include our outside sales & design staff. I would challenge you to find ANY other Geothermal contractor in the State of Wisconsin with the same. As I have said before, ‘It is our Passion’.

Like in any facet of business, there is a learning process. We’ve been through that process with over 160 units installed and all operating properly, saving our customers a great deal of $$$ and to back it up, we have a lengthy referral list which we are happy to provide to anyone. We stand behind our work with a 100% guarantee and a TRUE, lifetime warranty on all workmanship provided. With that being said, I am very proud to say we have NEVER had one of our systems removed. (Not to say we haven’t been through the learning process, WE HAVE!) Point is…we’ve been through the learning process!!! MOST IMPORTANTLY, while ‘learning’ we have never charged more than the quoted amount, many times to the dismay of my lovely bride.

In closing, how do you find the right Geothermal contractor?

You just did!

Follow these simple guidelines:

  • 50 installed systems or more (That’s what it takes if you have the passion)
  • Offering a referral list (and call them)
  • Sales, design, installer and helper are all IGSHPA certified personnel (training, training and training)
  • Do they believe or is it just a ‘job’? (Geo really does work)
  • Do they install their own loop fields (the loop field is the heart beat of the system)
  • Do they track energy consumption (how do you know if it’s performing to spec)
  • Do they perform Load Calculations (and believe them?)(Homes are tighter now, lowering the normalized ACH. It’s no longer .3 or .5 ACH)
  • Do they ‘over-size’ (CYA) (Bigger is NOT better in the Geo world)
  • Do they design a system based on the needs and wants of the customer (Not just what Geo system ‘they’ are familiar with)
  • Do they offer a 10 year, parts and labor warranty (these are 30 year systems)
  • Are they all inclusive (excavation, electrical, light weight over pour, spray-foam insulation, duct sealing, dual fuel systems, radiant systems, describing pro & cons)
  • Do they offer ‘legitimate’ cost comparisons and explain them (I can make a mountain of manure look like a flower garden)
  • Do they offer dual stage equipment (this should ‘almost’ always be mandatory)
  • Are they familiar with utility programs (this is important in system design regarding savings)

Please feel free to contact us if you have a POOR GEOTHERMAL INSTALLATION, or you would like a price from a company that truly understands and has a passion for Geothermal systems.

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