Case Studies

Geothermal Heating Case Studies: Spray Foam Insulation and Geothermal System for Harford, NY Farmhouse

Thursday, June 6th, 2013 by Matthew Crandall


Due to a severe lack of insulation and an outdated heating system, this Harford, NY home was costing its owners over $6000 a year in energy expenses!


This was a case where many solutions needed to be implemented to get the home where it needed to be.  The first thing we did is take out the home's old, bulky, oil tank, 70% efficient, Thermo Pride oil furnace and their old hot water heater and replaced them with a new 3-ton Earthlinked geothermal heat pump and a desuperheated heat pump water heater.  We also installed a 95% efficient 45,000 BTU, Goodman 2-stage propane furnace to act as the air handler and backup heating system.  To help manage the load of this new setup, we updated the home's existing electrical service to a new 200 amp panel and also installed a 7kW Generac back-up generator.

Next, we addressed the home's insulation deficiencies completely from top-to-bottom.  Our installation crew applied 5" of high-density spray foam along the attic slopes and added 12" of cellulose to the attic flat to air seal and insulate that space.  Moving down, we dense-packed the 1st floor and 2nd floor exterior wall cavities with cellulose to help reduce air leakage throughout the home's living space.  Finally, we concentrated on the crawl space by laying down TerraBlock insulation panel boards on the floor and covering them with a CleanSpace 20 mil polyethylene vapor barrier.  We then sealed it with 2" of spray foam insulation from the ground up to the floor joists, as well as along the box sills and rim joists.

The results of the improvements we made on this home will be felt for years to come.  The new geothermal heat pump, propane furnace and desuperheated water heater are much more efficient than the home's prior systems.  In addition, by air sealing and insulating the attic, exterior walls and crawl space, we minimized the amount of conditioned air leakage--which translates to less drafts, consistent room temperatures and increased comfort.  However, it's the combination of these treatments that will produce the most substantial outcome.  These homeowners had been paying around $6000 annually in energy costs.  After completing all of the work, they are expected to see an energy savings of about $4000 per year!

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