Why is Well-Connect a better option than conventional geothermal systems?

Well-Connect uses the same technology as traditional geothermal systems, but traditional geothermal systems are generally designed to handle 100% of the heating/cooling needs of your home at all conditions. The Well-Connect is intended to handle the majority of the hours in a year that your home needs heat, and allows your existing furnace to operate when the heating demand exceeds the capacity of the Well-Connect. Also, traditional geothermal systems are permanently installed, cost significantly more than a Well-Connect, and require 4 to 6 times as much water as a Well-Connect if an “open loop” system is employed. If your well cannot supply the required water for your domestic needs and the traditional geothermal system, a costly ‘closed loop’ heat exchanger may need to be installed on your property; these complete systems can cost in the range of $20,000 to $45,000 including installation. In addition, if a traditional geothermal system is used in a replacement or retro-fit situation, the existing duct system must be modified to accommodate the differences in air flow, air volumes and air temperatures produced. None of that is necessary with a Well-Connect installation, which can generally be done for a quarter of the cost of a traditional geothermal system. Finally, a Well-Connect installation is usually completed in just one day, and starts saving you money immediately.

How do I know if my well has the capacity to supply Well-Connect?

As mentioned above, a very low water flow is a key advantage of the Well-Connect system. Specifically, Well-Connect only requires 2 gallons of water per minute to operate properly. Most wells are capable of supplying 10 to 15 gallons per minute, all depending on the size of the feeding aquifer and system components. All of the water used by the Well-Connect eventually goes back to an aquifer.

Determining the true yield of a water well requires a licensed well driller or plumber with very specialized equipment. However, there is a simple test a homeowner can do to affirm with reasonable confidence their well is capable of supporting a Well-Connect.

To do this, lay out a garden hose from an outdoor faucet to some location where it can discharge water without creating a nuisance. Turn the faucet on just enough to get approximately two gallons per minute flowing out the end. (This is for a 1.5 ton Well-Connect. If you are considering the 2.5 ton model, aim for 3.5 gallons per minute.) At 2 gpm, it should fill a one gallon milk jug in about 30 seconds. At 3.5 gpm it should fill the jug in about 17 seconds.

Then… just walk away and let it go for 48 hours. Live your lives as you normally would, taking showers, washing dishes, doing laundry, etc. Look for any unusual variation in your water pressure and water supply. If the water stops flowing, or if the well pump doesn’t seem to be able to fill the pressure tank and shut off, you may need to stop the test and consult a well driller. However, if after two days you haven’t run out of water and the well pump is still cycling on and off as needed, the well will likely have no problem supporting the water needs of a Well-Connect.

Should you determine your existing well’s capacity is not sufficient to supply both the Well-Connect and your household needs, there are several possible remedies. One is the use of a ‘water manager’ holding tank to provide the extra capacity for intermittent household needs. Another option is to return the water used by the Well-Connect back into your well; this application is known as a Vertical Standing Water Column (VSWC), but it can only be used if the well meets certain minimum depth requirements. Ask us about more information on well use with geothermal and an explanation of VSWC.

Since Well-Connect uses well water, am I wasting any water? And what happens to the water after it runs through the Well-Connect?

A Well-Connect system wastes zero water. The water is simply the transfer medium used to carry heat from the earth to your home (and vice versa in the summer to cool your home). The water is as clean when leaving the Well-Connect as it was when it entered. 100% of the water is returned to the ground and eventually to an aquifer (simply via gravity).

Will the Well-Connect unit cause any problems with my existing well pump?

Well pumps are typically designed to cycle as many as 300 times per day. A properly installed Well-Connect should never require more than 150 pump cycles per day. As an alternative, a constant pressure pump can be installed, which also improves the overall efficiency of your water supply system and the Well-Connect system, generating additional savings to you.

Do I need to have "high water quality" to use a Well-Connect?

No. Well-Connects are designed to work in a wide variety of water quality characteristics. Well-Connect uses a cupro-nickel heat exchanger, which is impervious to corrosion under most circumstances, and an industry-exclusive Freeze Clean feature which easily removes deposits without the need for harsh chemicals. That being said, there are situations – such as if the water is highly corrosive or contains large amounts of iron bacteria – in which it may be inadvisable to install a Well-Connect system. However, most commonly, if the water is suitable for drinking it is likely safe for a Well-Connect.

How is a Well-Connect system good for the environment?

Unlike almost all other rural home heating technologies, Well-Connect doesn’t burn anything and therefore there are zero local emissions. Installing a Well-Connect is the equivalent of eliminating one automobile from the road in terms of emissions reductions, or the environmental equivalent of planting ½ acre of trees. The heat delivered to your home by the Well-Connect is recognized as “renewable energy” and is truly sustainable. The system removes heat from the earth in the winter and puts heat back in the summer. Installing a Well-Connect is one thing individual homeowners can do to protect the environment. When a lot of people do a little bit it grows into something BIG.

Wood is relatively inexpensive versus heating oil, propane, or electric. Shouldn’t I consider an outdoor wood furnace?

Outdoor wood furnaces can cost $10,000 to $20,000 installed and while they do provide lower operating costs than fossil fuels, they are still significantly more expensive than a Well-Connect system, and require you to load wood daily and monitor the system 24/7. For many months of the year an outdoor furnace generates much more heat than you can use, and therefore waste energy. Further, many outdoor wood furnaces negatively impact the local environment. One outdoor wood furnace can generate emissions that are equivalent to 205 oil furnaces and 8,000 natural gas furnaces. And keep in mind, an outdoor wood furnace can’t provide air conditioning; a Well-Connect will provide cool dry air for your home all summer.

Lastly, firewood has a value of $80 to $100 a cord. If you like to cut wood for exercise, then sell the wood and use the proceeds to pay the cost of running a Well-Connect– you may well have money left over! Plus you’ll never have to carry in wood or carry out ashes, and your home and the air you breathe will be cleaner.

How can you heat my home with a unit that puts out just 18,000 or 30,000 Btu/hr? My existing furnace puts out 80,000 Btu/hr.

Most fossil fuel furnaces are significantly over-sized for the home in which they are installed. Here’s an actual example: An 1800 square foot house in Traverse City, MI has a design heat load of 36,000 Btu/hr when the outdoor temperature is 1˚F. Over the course of one year, heating will be required in the house for 6,958 hours to keep the temperature inside at 68˚F. The actual adjusted heat loss* of the house will exceed the capacity of an 18,000 Btu/hr Well-Connect for only 821 of those hours. That means even the smallest capacity Well-Connect is able to provide all of the needed heat 88% of the time, and most of the needed heat the remaining 12% of the time, with the furnace only making up the difference between the Well-Connect capacity and the total heat load. This will reduce the annual heating costs by over 65%.

The larger capacity Well-Connect would provide all of the needed heat 99.5% of the time and reduce the annual heating costs by 70%.

*Loads Adjustment Factor

This factor is only used for heating calculations. As stated in Manual J, this number is a value that is required to make the design heating load hours correlate with the effective heating load hours experienced under actual operating conditions. The typical value is 0.77.

Where in the home can a Well-Connect be installed?

There are several options! See our installation page here.

How long will it take to install and can I do it myself?

Typical installations are completed in 1 day. 220 Volt power is run to the Well-Connect location along with a water supply line and a water discharge line. The water is discharged to a small pit at a location acceptable to the homeowner, or to a nearby ditch, pond, or other body of water. ‘Do-It-Yourself’-ers can often handle the installation of a Well-Connect.

Click here to see our installation page & video.

Where is Well-Connect manufactured?

Well-Connects are manufactured in the USA. Specifically, in Alpena, Michigan by Terra Caloric, LLC. The Terra Caloric team has decades of experience designing and installing energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

What is the warranty, and what service is required?

Warranty and Service

Your Well-Connect system comes with a full manufacturer’s warranty, covering all parts in the sealed refrigerant system and the service labor allowance, for 5 years from the date of installation. All other parts and service labor allowance are covered for 2 years from the date of installation. Well-Connect comes with a “100% Satisfaction Guarantee”.

The expected life of your Well-Connect System is 20+ years when installed by a licensed contractor, operated under normal conditions and serviced annually like a conventional furnace. Our warranty is virtually identical to the best warranties in the industry, so you can rely on the smooth functioning of your system to make your home more comfortable.

Service

Well-Connect requires very little in the way of servicing. Once it’s installed it should run smoothly, heating and cooling your home for 20 to 30 years or more. Since Well-Connect burns no fossil fuels there is no pilot light, gas valves or switches, or heating elements, the parts most likely to deteriorate and fail in conventional systems.

There are only 2 primary (and simple) maintenance actions you need to keep in mind:

  1. Replace the air filter (filters can be purchased at most hardware stores)
  1. Replace the batteries in your thermostat annually or as needed.

Depending on your water quality, you may need to have a ‘Freeze Clean’ performed periodically. This process removes any minerals that can accumulate from your water. A local contractor can perform this for you, or there are instructions in the manual, plus we have a short video to reference. The process is simple and takes about 10 minutes.

If servicing is needed your local HVAC contractor can do it for you. A detailed operational manual comes with every Well-Connect and is attached to the system during installation for easy accessibility should a contractor want it. Our service response team is available by phone to speak with you or your contractor, should any questions arise. With Well-Connect you don’t get a call center in some foreign country, you speak directly to an experienced technical expert with personal experience building, operating and installing the Well-Connect system. So you get the right answers you need with no run around.

Like all HVAC systems an annual service check-up is a good idea, ideally before the heating season. Your local contractor can check and test the system to be sure everything is operating as designed, and the unit is ready to perform consistently throughout the heating and cooling seasons.

This sounds great! How can I get one?

Call (989) 356-2113 or write to us at:

info@terracaloric.com

We’d love to hear from you!