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Geothermal for Snowmelt

Rob Blair
Rob Blair Member Posts: 227
Okay guys, after the bashing that was given over the last snowmelt deal I want to ask the geo guys about using it for snowmelt.

I am looking at a 3000+ square foot snowmelt. Design btus at 270K. Can it be done within a reasonable cost. It is a dog kennel in which the owner spent over $4000 last winter (it was mild) to clear the snow and ice.





  • Rich L.
    Rich L. Member Posts: 414

    In my expeience Rob, Geo is not a practical match for snow melt. The energy just isn't there to get the heat to the slab. I'm not saying it couldn't be done, but up front costs would be staggering. BTW I'm a big fan of Geo, just not for snow melt. If anyone has tried it, I'd love to hear about it.

    Good luck, Rich L
  • It can be done...

    And reasonable cost is a relevant term.

    Do the math.

    270,000 / .8 = 338,000 btuH (in refrigerant BTU's going from 40 degree Earth to 120 degree F fluid temps).

    338,000 / 12,000 btuH = 28 tonnes of compressor required.

    Each ton (in these parts of the country) will require one vertical bore hole approximatley 200' deep, approximately 10' on center.

    Last time I checked I think we were being charged around $12.00 per vert foot.

    so, 28 VBH @ 200' each @ $12.00/foot = $67,500.00 Should I keep going or do we need to break out the portable defibrulator... We've not even started talking about the cost of the mechancial package or the electrical power requirements. And all of this so you can get electricty therm down to 1/3 of its original therm cost? Around these parts, electricity at 100% efficiency is around $2.10 per therm, so that would be $.70 per therm. Natural gas is around $.90 per therm. All that expenditure to save $0.20 per therm is going to be tough to justify...

    Sounds like a need for better control to me...

    Are they idiling the slab?

    Another way to look at it, is that during the summer months and all other non snow months, the slab will act as an excellent solar collector that COULD produce more energy than it uses, at a significantly higher COP than if it were pulling btu's out of the ground for use as DHW preheat...

    Gotta start thinking outside the proverbial box.

    Is wood (biomass) an option?

  • Rob Blair
    Rob Blair Member Posts: 227
    Thank you Mark.

    Yes I got a ballpark price of $100K. We are just in the research stage right now. Wood is out of the question and natural gas is not an option. I was thinking that the geo could be used as a heat source for the building in the shoulder months, or may'be all winter, with the snowmelt as priority, with some other heatsource as backup for the building when the snowmelt is on, and AC in the summer.

    Too crazy?

  • steveex
    steveex Member Posts: 95

    I like to keep real simple, a rakpak 624,ooo btu can be put indoor or outdoor, mod gas valve set at 130 deg. low cost item, will melt your snow within 2 hours. and the rest of your money give them pv panels to save on electric.
  • steveex
    steveex Member Posts: 95

    My goal is to melt as fast as possible.
This discussion has been closed.