Case Studies

Halco Case Studies: Geothermal Installation in Trumansburg, NY

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 by Kelsey Wright


Making changes to your home is never easy, but Peggy and MaryLou of Trumansburg, NY were determined to bring their home, built around 1826, into the 21st century. Their first interest was in preserving the home as part of the underground railroad society (Peggy and MaryLou are working hard on getting this home recognized by New YorkState). Their second interest was in preserving the environment, which during a post-project interview Peggy stated, "[They have] always been concerned with those types of things." After hearing about Halco through another local customer, Peggy reached out to us to learn more about geothermal heating and to receive a quote on installation.


Home Energy Audit

After speaking with Peggy about her interest we sent a home energy advisor to work with the customers and perform a no cost home energy audit. Home energy audits are an essential part of making a home truly comfortable and sustainable. Information about the building construction, air infiltration, insulation and HVAC systems is gathered and from there the homeowners are given recommended improvements and estimates. Because these improvements make the home more energy efficient and affordable there are a number of rebates and incentives that are explained to the customer as well. MaryLou stated that during their home energy audit the advisor was, "A very good salesman," and she continued to affirm that his knowledge and enthusiasm inspired confidence.

Choosing Halco

At this time, Peggy and MaryLou had also sought out geothermal quotes from two other companies. Why did they choose Halco? Well, the first company wanted to remove the furnace from the home, where as our design team was able to build the furnace into the geothermal plan.  And the second company? The two just didn't feel they were as professional as Halco. Peggy acknowledged that the quality of the assessment combined with the obvious skill portrayed in the estimate "sealed the deal." She stated that through her first experience with Halco she knew the business model of the company was exceptional.

The Installation Process

We started work for Peggy and MaryLou during the cold winter and step one was to insulate the shell of the home. Insulation does more than reduce the amount of electricity used for heating and cooling, but it will also reduce the load put on the geothermal system during extreme winter and summer weather and keep the home airtight.

Upon arrival, our geothermal project manager, noticed that there was a water leak below the kitchen due to a frozen pipe. Being an unexpected speed bump, he directed the insulation crew to start insulating the opposite end of the crawl space as he worked to fix the pipe. By the time the pipe was repaired, the insulation team could move to the other side of the crawl space and no time was lost. Peggy mentioned her satisfaction in the manager's multi-skill set and his ability to troubleshoot when necessary. During additional work, "[Halco] found electrical issues and fixing it took four hours," Peggy stated. "This was done on a Friday night and they were at the house until 8 pm, but they weren't going to stop until it was finished," she said, referencing the teams ability to troubleshoot.

Once insulation was complete, the geothermal project commenced. The most common types of geothermal heat pump systems are horizontal, vertical and diagonal. For these customers, a 6-ton horizontal system was determined to be the best solution. Horizontal systems have the advantage of ease and simplicity of installation and although there was still snow on the ground, our ability to dig trenches for the geothermal system was not hindered. Inside the basement of the home the actual heat pump (including a compressor, and condenser/evaporator) was installed along with the retrofitted furnace that will serve as the air handler. Our technicians have worked with Peggy and MaryLou along the way to ensure they understand the system in it's entirety.

Overall Review

From start to finish, Peggy and MaryLou were very pleased with the project. Peggy stated, "Everybody came together when they said they were going to and they even called in advance." In reference to our geothermal manager she said, "He was not pushy about making suggestions, but had a way of explaining all of the things your company can do through recommendations." Peggy and MaryLou opted to add a dehumidifier to their basement after learning how it can control dampness and other moisture issues in their basement. "These are things that we would not have known otherwise," she added.

Overall, Peggy and MaryLou are very excited about their new geothermal heat pump. They are even more excited to see what the combination of geothermal with their existing solar can do to efficiency. What advice do these two women have for you? By all means, make sure you go with someone who is local. With a local company, you can rest assured that service calls and assistance is readily available.


For more details on how a geothermal heat pump works and the general requirements please visit: or contact Halco today!

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