Q: What is Well-Connect?
A: Well-Connect is a water source heat pump designed to provide efficient heating and cooling all year long. It is designed for rural homes that have a well and where either propane, fuel oil, electric resistance or wood is used as the heating source.
Optimized to use a minimum amount of water from an existing well, Well-Connect is ideal for use in rural areas to deliver as much clean, economical heat and cooling as possible to a home. It works with an existing heating system, it does not replace it, to greatly reduce the expense associated with burning fossil fuels.
Q. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WELL-CONNECT HYBRID GEOTHERMAL AND OTHER GEOTHERMAL SYSTEMS?
A: Most geothermal systems are installed with closed loops that are buried in the ground (loop field) which requires extensive excavation. They are excellent systems overall, however, they are very expensive. Other geothermal systems use an existing water well (an open loop). Well-Connect also uses an existing water well. Unlike other well based systems, Well-Connect applies a hybrid approach. It is designed to handle the vast majority of your home’s heating and cooling needs and allows your existing furnace to supplement when needed (typically the coldest days). This hybrid approach minimizes the amount of well water flow rate required (about 20% versus other well based systems) and minimizes the up front installation cost of the system while still delivering significant energy savings for both heating and cooling.
Well-Connect is the only patented system (United States and Canada) designed to operate simultaneously with an existing fossil fuel furnace (hybrid geothermal).
Well-Connect provides significant savings like a traditional geothermal system but it can be installed for a quarter of the cost.
Q: CAN WELL-CONNECT IMPROVE THE COMFORT OF MY HOME?
A: Well-Connect owners typically rave about the improved comfort of their home, year-round. Almost all homes have an existing furnace that is designed to keep your home warm even when it’s negative 30℉ outside. The reality is that it is negative 30 degrees F outside less that 10% of the time in Michigan. Traditional heating systems are over-sized for most days and turn on and off frequently which results in noticeable temperature fluctuations in a home (cold, then warm, then cold, then warm…). A Well-Connect is sized to match the heating needs of a home for the majority of days and is therefore smaller (less capacity) than the existing furnace. As a result, a Well-Connect runs longer cycles which keeps the temperature in the home typically within 1 degree, making the home more comfortable overall. Further, since it is a smaller system than the home’s existing furnace, it operates much quieter. And finally, the same Well-Connect can reverse its cycle and air condition a home all summer. It also does an excellent job at dehumidifying a home.
Q: How does it work?
A: Well-Connect is a water source heat pump. It works by channeling water through copper coils that draw heat without using chemicals or otherwise affecting the water. Once heat is extracted during the minimal 2 gallon per minute flow through the pump, the water is released back into the ground where it filters through the soil and returns to underground aquifers.
Your refrigerator is also a heat pump and uses the same technology as a Well-Connect on a smaller scale. It pumps heat from inside the refrigerator to the outside of the refrigerator.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, geothermal ground source heat pumps are one of the most energy efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems available.
Q: WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF WELL-CONNECT HYBRID GEOTHERMAL?
A: Well-Connect is clean, affordable and makes your home more comfortable. Most people purchase a Well-Connect to save thousands of dollars on their heating and cooling costs but find the improved comfort of their home is what excites them the most, all while reducing harmful emissions from their fossil fuel furnace.
Well-Connect uses three assets already in a person’s home — their current heat source, electricity and well water. The system utilizes the groundwater already coming into the home via the well to extract heat in the winter time and to absorb heat in the summer time. By using the groundwater, it achieves an energy efficiency of more than 400 percent all year long.
Q: HOW LONG WILL A WELL-CONNECT SYSTEM LAST?
A: The expected lifespan of a Well-Connect is 25 years. There is minimal maintenance required to keep the system operating efficiently – basically replace the air filter as needed and flush a water filter periodically.
Q. HOW DOES A WELL-CONNECT COMPARE TO AN AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMP?
A: A Well-Connect costs about the same to install as an air source heat pump but is twice as efficient on average and much more efficient during the coldest and warmest days of the year (when you need it the most).
Q: What well capacity does the Well-Connect require?
A: A key benefit of Well-Connect is that it requires a low water flow. A typical well is capable of supplying 10 to 15 gallons of water per minute. A Well-Connect only requires 2 gallons of water per minute to operate. All water used by the Well-Connect goes back to the earth as clean as it was before it passed through the system.
Q: WHAT HAPPENS TO THE WATER AFTER IT RUNS THROUGH THE WELL-CONNECT?
A: All water used by the Well-Connect is returned directly back to the ground, as clean as it was when pumped from the ground. Specifically, the discharge water is piped to a drain tile, which is typically buried under ground. It is not piped to an existing septic or drain field.
Q. How big is the system?
A: Check out our spec sheet for information.
Q. WILL MY WELL PUMP BE AFFECTED?
A: As a rule, an additional pressure tank is installed with the Well-Connect. This additional tank is sized to minimize the pumping frequency thus keeping the pump cycles within the pump manufacturer’s rated frequency. Specifically, most pumps are designed to cycle 300 times per 24-hour period. With a Well-Connect the maximum frequency is 144 times per 24-hour period.
Q: WHAT IF WE DON’T HAVE HIGH WATER QUALITY?
A: A Well-Connect is designed for use with well water with components in the system that can handle nearly all water quality issues. The only water issue that must be avoided is if a well supplies any iron bacteria (an orange, stringy substance).
Cost & Pricing FAQ
Q. HOW MUCH CAN A WELL-CONNECT SAVE ME AND HOW MUCH DOES A WELL-CONNECT COST?
A: Well-Connect pays for itself. In most cases, a rural homeowner will save between $1,000 to $1,800 annually on their heating costs versus propane, fuel oil or electric.
The Well-Connect will typically air condition a home all summer for less than $100.
Most of our Michigan customers 100% finance the system through the Michigan Saves Home Energy Loan Program (www.michigansaves.org). Factoring in incentives, the average monthly loan payment is around $80 and the monthly average propane savings of $100 or more covers the loan payment.
Our installers can provide you an on the spot quote when they visit your home.
Q. I’VE HEARD GEOTHERMAL SYSTEMS WILL INCREASE MY ELECTRICITY BILL DRAMATICALLY. IS THIS TRUE?
A: Not with a Well-Connect. A Well-Connect uses just 1,300 watts when operating which is less power than a hair dryer. A typical Well-Connect will consume about 6,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per winter. Many electric utilities have discounted rates for heat pumps. So, for example, if the electric rate is $0.09 per kilowatt hours, then the annual heating cost with a Well-Connect would be about $540. A homeowner will typically see a reduction of about 900 gallons of propane and at a current price of $2.00 per gallon of propane that’s a reduction of $1,800 for a net savings of $1,350 or about 75%.
Q: WHAT IF I DON’T CURRENTLY HAVE DUCT WORK IN MY HOME?
A: In this case, a ‘self-ducted’ version of the system can be installed. Specifically, duct work is added to your home to supply heating and cooling from the Well-Connect. Typically 1 or 2 supply runs and 1 return run is all that is needed.
Another option is to install the Well-Connect as a ductless, free-standing, setup.
A quick visit to your home will allow our installers to determine if these options will work for you.
Q. CAN A WELL-CONNECT BE INSTALLED DURING THE WINTER MONTHS?
A: Yes. It can be installed any day of the year.
Q. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO MY WELL?
A: Nothing. All of the installation is within the home, except for the discharge line. We simply tap into the existing water line in your home.
Q. What model Well-Connect is best for my house?
Well-Connect is available in 2 sizes. The smaller model has a nominal heating and cooling capacity of 18,000 BTU/hr and needs 2 gallons per minute of water flow. The larger model has a nominal capacity of 30,000 BTU/hr and needs 3.5 gpm of water flow.
Every home is unique and has its own specific heat loss/ heat gain profile. How much heat leaves a house each hour during the heating season and how much heat enters that house each hour during the cooling season is determined by two factors: the outdoor air temperature and the construction features of the house. The outdoor air temp is easily determined, but the construction envelope of a house can vary widely based on age, square footage, orientation, insulation values, number and type of windows, etc. Sizing a specific heating or cooling system for a specific house requires a detailed heat loss/heat gain calculation that analyzes all of those variables for the house in question.
The Well-Connect Hybrid application is designed to provide the vast majority (>75%) of the heat needed by a house, with the existing heating system providing supplemental heat only as needed to maintain the setpoint temperature during conditions when the heat loss of the structure exceeds the Well-Connect capacity. That might occur when it is 30 degrees and very windy or 20 degrees and less windy. This “balance point” will be different for every home, but real-world experience has provided some averages that can be helpful in selecting the best Well-Connect for a given home.
Structures of 1500 sq. feet or less will generally see the best results using the smaller Well-Connect, while homes larger than 2500 sq. feet are usually best served by the larger model. Homes between 1500 and 2500 sq. feet can go either way, with the choice mainly influenced by construction details of the home, or well-water and/or discharge water considerations.
Most Well-Connect Hybrid systems set at 70°F begin calling for some supplemental heat input when the outdoor temperature drops into the 25°F to 30°F range. In the Upper Midwest region, it is above 30°F during 76% of the heating season hours and below 25°F for just 15% of the season.