The new owners of this home in Dover, MA wanted major renovations completed before they moved in. A 5-week construction time widow was given to the general contractor which included gutting several areas of the house. The renovation included the complete removal of the oil fueled hot water baseboard heating system and the installation of a geothermal HVAC system.  Two days before taking possession of the house, EnergySmart was contracted for the design and installation of the geothermal system.

We found their home to be an ideal candidate for geothermal because:

  • The existing heating was at the end of its life expectancy;
  • No gas service is available on the street making oil or propane the only other options;
  • The homeowners wanted air conditioning installed anyway;
  • Space was available for drilling;
  • The walk-out basement made equipment delivery very convenient; and
  • In addition to the 30% Federal Tax Credit for geothermal installations, the homeowners obtained a 0% interest loan through the Mass Save Heat Loan program

Drilling consisted of two 6-inch diameter borings that were 25 feet apart.  Pipes were installed into each of the borings and sealed in place with geothermal grout. The pipes were brought into the house through four 2.5-inch cores through the concrete foundation approximately 4 feet below grade. Two lines were connected to each geothermal heat pump. One heat pump would condition the basement and the main floor while the other would condition the second floor.

New programmable  EnergyStar heat pump thermostats with LED display replaced their old thermostats.  The existing boiler, baseboard radiators, and oil tank were removed.  A complete forced air ductwork system was installed. We completed the installation 2 days ahead of schedule and the home was a cool 72F on the 90F move-in day.

Benefits of converting to geothermal:

  • Same piece of equipment provides heating and cooling;
  • Oil bills are eliminated;
  • It comes with air conditioning without the need for a noisy outdoor condenser;
  • Adjustable fan speed allows for superior dehumidification in the summer;
  • New ductwork allows for more even heating and cooling; and
  • 50%+ savings in annual heating and cooling bills.

If you would like to see more photos and videos of this geothermal installation in Dover, MA, please visit our Facebook Fan Page and our YouTube Channel. You can also learn more about the cost and financing of this system in this video produced by 360Chestnut.



  1. Bart Miles says:

    http://www.greenenergyefficiencycentr… – Learn how geothermal heat pumps work and how they can save you money generating heat from the ground.The Green Energy Efficiency Centre is based in Ballymore Eustace in Co. Kildare. It features a working geothermal installation including a heat pump.

  2. As with any heat pump, geothermal and water-source heat pumps are able to heat, cool, and, if so equipped, supply the house with hot water. Some models of geothermal systems are available with two-speed compressors and variable fans for more comfort and energy savings. Relative to air-source heat pumps, they are quieter, last longer, need little maintenance, and do not depend on the temperature of the outside air.

  3. Charlie Reitzel says:

    Great article. I’m curious, what was the estimated payback period for the retrofit? There are a couple different versions of that number that will be helpful to all readers: 1) with and without Federal 30% credit, 2) with 0% or “market” interest (say 3-4%).

    I think the other important question is what are the expected maintenance costs? Pinhole leaks due to acidification of the coolant will pre-maturely break down the system. But how do we test the PH? How often? If there is a failure, can one of the loops be replaced without re-drilling?

    Thanks for any info!

    1. Energy Smart Alternatives says:

      The estimated payback period varies widely by job depending on the complexity of the installation and the infrastructure already in place. The example shown is only to be a guide so you can work the numbers out for your own situation. Please note that the 30% federal tax credit expired on December 31, 2016 with no word to date (June 27, 2017) as to whether it will be re-instated. You might consider cash flow rather than payback. In some cases the operating cost of a geothermal system plus the loan payments are less than keeping an old heating system. Also, keep in mind conventional heating and cooling systems have no payback at all.

      Acidification is not an issue on our systems because we use ethanol based antifreeze in a pressurized loop. This means that there is no air in the system. We do not test pH.

      If a small leak is present, there are additives available that can stop the leak. There is no way to replace loop pipes without re-drilling.

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