Geothermal Retrofit Provides Superior Cooling & Consistent Heating in 20 Year-Old OKC Residence
Residing happily in his 4,100 square foot Oklahoma City home for more than two decades, David Shear has no plans for moving on to “bigger and better.”
“I love this house, it’s got everything I need in exactly the right place,” said Shear.
However, when the opportunity arose two years ago to retrofit his home’s existing mechanical system, Shear was more than open to a change.
“I’m all about comfort, and while this couldn’t be a more comfortable home overall, the evenness of the heating and cooling just wasn’t ideal,” he explained.
According to Shear, several consecutive summers of extreme heat made it challenging for his home’s existing air-to-air system to keep the indoor climate at a comfortable temperature and humidity level. This, in addition to pockets of variable heat and cold experienced during the winter, prompted him to investigate geothermal as an alternative.
New Heat Pump System
“While this was my first experience with a geothermal system, I had a good amount of background on why it made sense from numerous angles, including its ability to provide comfortable, even heating and cooling,” Shear said. “That, coupled with the appeal of available government tax incentives, seemed to make geothermal an obvious choice.”
Shear worked with Oklahoma City-based Comfortworks, Inc. to replace his existing HVAC equipment with a five-ton geothermal system featuring two Tranquility® 27 (TT) Series two-stage geothermal heat pump units from ClimateMaster. The system is fed by four boreholes – two 300-foot deep and two 400-foot deep – that were drilled in the front yard. In addition, Comfortworks installed two hot water generation kits that enable the ClimateMaster heat pumps to satisfy approximately half the home’s hot water needs, with two 50-gallon high-efficiency hot water tanks supplying the remainder.
“The entire project took just slightly more than a week to complete,” said Chris Ellis, project manager at Comfortworks. “With the relative ease involved in a retrofit project like this, I believe more and more homeowners will realize that geothermal is an accessible and realistic option for them.”
Having lived with the new geothermal system through both a summer and winter season, Shear reports more than favorable results from the replacement project.
“The geothermal system is everything I’d hoped for and more,” he shared. “In the summer, the indoor air quality was nothing short of superb, with a steady temperature that was neither harshly frigid or lacking in dehumidification. The heating was also so even and comfortable, with no extreme hot spots that then cooled way down after a short period of time. Also, the system itself operates almost silently, and there isn’t the ‘roaring’ sound we were used to when it would first kick in.”
Shear also shares that the pre-programmed digital thermostat system offers ease of use and adjustment for everyone in the household.
“We no longer use gas in the house,” he said, “and with the all-electric system everything is controlled from a centralized location – literally with the push of a button.”
Maintenance is also nearly worry-free, only requiring filter changes every few months.
“We rarely ever even think about the operation of the HVAC system, except for how comfortable it is, or when friends come for a visit and comment on the comfort and quietness,” said Shear. “In fact, some of those friends have gone ahead with their own geothermal retrofit projects after seeing how well ours turned out.”
When asked what he would tell other homeowners investigating the installation of their first geothermal system, Shear shared, “With the tax incentives, energy efficiency and environmental favorability behind it, geothermal pretty much sells itself already. Add in the comfort, which is simply unmatched in comparison to forced air, and you just can’t lose.”