A Down-Home Recipe for Comfortable, Energy-Efficient Living


houseMix well with respected geothermal contractor. Result: A beautiful home that is both comfortable and energy efficient.

Alan Blum can’t say enough good things about Advanced Custom Geothermal (ACG) of Kiel, Wisconsin, as he has renovated the classic farm home he purchased for his family to eventually live in.

“Dan Walsdorf (co-owner with Sean Steffes of ACG) is always there to back things up. I couldn’t ask for a better contractor. ACG gets a five-star rating,” says Blum.

house2Blum first met Dan when he sought his advice about the home’s propane furnace since ACG had serviced it in the past. Blum was happy to discover that ACG had growing geothermal capabilities and first-hand knowledge since it uses a geothermal system to heat and cool its facility.
But before talking about the benefits of geothermal, Walsdorf advised Blum to have an energy audit completed on the home. An energy audit determines where a home is losing energy – and money – and evaluates what measures can make the home more efficient. A more efficient home then will typically need a smaller heating and cooling system.

Besides having the audit and making the energy-efficiency updates, the Blums have gutted both floors and the attic and added new windows, drywall, paint and wood floors throughout.

For the geothermal system, the Blums wanted “zoned comfort.” Dan recommended the WaterFurnace 7 Series which allows for up to six zones of various sizes. It also has a variable capacity feature that lets it adjust output to the level needed rather than just the high and low speeds of typical systems.

The Blums were also pleased to find out that the WaterFurnace 7 Series is incredibly efficient. As the only unit to surpass both a 41 energy efficiency ratio (EER) and a 5.3 coefficient of performance (COP), it has twice the efficiency of traditional air conditioners or heat pumps and 30% better efficiency than current geothermal units.

The geothermal system’s loop – 600 feet of pipe in each of eight 300-foot trenches — was installed horizontally near the house. The loop extracts heat from the earth in the winter, brings it into the home’s indoor unit which then compresses the heat to a higher temperature and distributes it through the home. In the summer, the system extracts heat from the house and releases it back to the earth through the loop.
The Blums have many other great benefits to look forward to in their geothermal home. There will be good indoor air quality. That’s because a geothermal system doesn’t require combustion and, as a result, does not produce deadly carbon monoxide.
The system should have a long lifespan compared to the 15-year lives of traditional heating and cooling systems. Geothermal systems generally last more than 24 years.

Heating and cooling expenses will be better than the expenses for traditional systems. Dan, with his knowledge of the home including its electric stove and water heater, reviewed the energy audit. Using energy modeling of cost savings based on typical weather, he calculated that the heating and cooling expenses for the home would drop from $5,390 a year to just $1,963.
The savings have already begun. The Blums were able to take advantage of a federal tax credit, available through the end of 2016, that amounts to 30% of the installed price of the system.

Sounds like a recipe that could become your family’s favorite.