November 2012 ESPCO Newsletter


I could not be any more pleased to announce that you can now register for HeatSpring geothermal training through a new affiliated training website link at

The alliance gives students who have attended one of my ���Introduction to Geothermal Heat Pumps’ classes a direct stream to their continuing education and quest for International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, IGSHPA, certification as well as North American Technician Excellence, NATE, certification.

I start every five hour introduction to geothermal class with the same statement…‘at the end of today I wish I could tell you that you are going to leave here a geothermal expert…you will not’. My introduction class covers a wide range of geothermal components but it is impossible to cover everything in five hours. The best I can do is establish a good foundation of knowledge, dispel some common fears and apprehensions, and lastly, point the attendee in the right direction toward the ‘next step’ in their geothermal education. The next step is a multi-day class that offers the opportunity to be tested for IGSHPA and NATE certifications…I believe both to be essential to establish yourself as ‘the geo guy’ in your market.

HeatSpring Learning Institute is the real deal. How do I know? I started my geothermal learning with their ‘IGSHPA Geothermal Installer Certification Training’ class years ago. I was lucky enough to attend a class conducted by Ryan Carda, a young HeatSpring instructor from South Dakota. Ryan is much younger than I am, (everyone is younger than I am), but his geothermal resume could be that of someone my age or older. He has a Master of Science, (M.S.), engineering degree from South Dakota State University and is the co-author of the IGSHPA Residential & Light Commercial Design & Installation Guide that you will receive when you attend the certification training…this is the guy who literally ‘wrote the book’ on geothermal design and installation!

I have met and gotten to know many brilliant people in the HVACR industry over the years but it is rare when one can instruct a class where each attendee feels that he / she is getting ‘special’ attention from the instructor…Ryan Carda does just that. Ryan has been a part of some of the biggest geothermal projects in the US as well as typical residential applications and he brings that wealth of experience to each class he conducts.

The IGSHPA & NATE certification test is no joke…100 questions and you must earn at least a 90% to pass…no exceptions! I half joke in my ‘intro’ classes that I now regret not listening more intently to old lady Gillacuddy in sixth grade science class when she was teaching us about geology…you remember…soil, rocks, sand, clay, all that stuff. There is a heavy duty geological aspect to geothermal design and it represents a fair amount of the certification test questions.

The HeatSpring certification class will provide you with all the text material and classroom review for you to confidently take the certification test, and should you pass, establish yourself as the ‘geothermal expert’ in your home market.

Those of you who are already well along the way in your process to further break away from the pack of geothermal installer competitors in your market can find advanced classes and classes specific to the needs of a driller or geothermal designer. Please go to the link right now and invest in your own future by signing up for a HeatSpring Learning Institute class which is now proudly affiliated with me and ESPCO, Inc.

You can link to HeatSpring affiliated classes at my website, by placing your curser on the menu bar tab, ‘training events’ at the top of the home page and then clicking on ‘affiliated training’ or from the ‘links’ page under the ‘affiliated training’ header.


The first week in October I spent in beautiful south Florida conducting ‘Introduction to Water Source Heat Pumps’ classes. Although I was speaking about water source heat pumps its hard to have that conversation without addressing ground source heat pumps.

I was surprised…more like astonished, to have a number of installers and technicians in the classes say to me that ‘geothermal doesn’t work here in Florida’. They all seemed to have an example installation to tell me about when making their point.

I only had three hours with them for each class so I had to stay on point, (that being water source), but it was bugging me why they felt like they do about geothermal…it had no basis in fact in my opinion.

I returned to New York and started to research this phenomenon that I experienced in Florida. I quickly got to the bottom of it…the guys in Florida were basing their geothermal designs on 50 degree ground temperatures…and the ground ain’t 50 degrees in Florida!

I know why this happened…the 50 degree temperature is kind of thrown around as a ‘constant’ in many geothermal conversations…like no matter where you are on earth, you dig a few feet down and it will be 50 degrees…well, it just ain’t so!

The fact is that Florida has ground temperatures that range from 67 degrees in the northern part of the state to 72 – 77 degrees in the southern parts. So does this mean that ‘geothermal doesn’t work in Florida’…hell no!

Look, Oklahoma is the geothermal epicenter here in the US with the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, IGSHPA, located on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater OK. The ground temperatures in Oklahoma are not all that different from northern Florida…about 62 degrees.

So the question is, ‘what happens when you design a geothermal system based on 50 degree ground temperatures and you actually have 67 – 77 degree temperatures’?

Well, in a nutshell…‘it don’t work so well’!

Here’s why:

The foundation of a geothermal system is its ability to extract heat from the earth in the winter time and reject heat to the earth in the summer time. If we don’t put enough tubing in the ground based upon the typical ground temperatures for the region, we will have low Entering Water Temperatures, EWT, in the heating mode and high EWT in the cooling mode. Think about it, if we have insufficient tubing making up our Ground Heat Exchanger, GHEX, then the heat of extraction and heat of rejection will be compromised.

Let’s look at some real numbers to drive the point home:

A two ton geothermal system based on 50 degree ground temperature will require two vertical boreholes of approximately 172 feet deep with roughly 345 feet of ¾ HDPE tubing, (single loop/ borehole), for a total of 690 feet of tubing.

Let’s take that exact same system but now use 67 degrees as our ground temperature…we now require two vertical boreholes of approximately 373 feet deep with roughly 747 feet of ¾” HDPE tubing, (single loop / borehole), for a total of 1494 feet of tubing…twice as much pipe than required for the 50 degree ground temperature!

Can you now see why I kept hearing ‘geothermal doesn’t work in Florida’?

This is no reflection on the installers and technicians of Florida…they were probably only doing what they were told to do in a geothermal product presentation. As I mentioned earlier, I’m afraid the ‘50 degree ground temperature theory no matter where you are on earth’ has been misused and abused by many ‘talking geothermal’ and for those who applied it in regions with severe differences it created problem systems.

Can these problem systems be fixed…sure! I bet I don’t even have to tell you what to do…its ‘drill baby drill’! Adding a couple more boreholes with the appropriate tubing is the answer!

I was at a meeting of geothermal sales professionals in Orlando, FL as my final assignment the same week I was conducting the WSHP classes. I was asked to give a presentation describing the classes I conduct and their curriculum. One of the reps stopped me and described how some geothermal installers in his market were blowing his guys quoted job costs out of the water because they were using less tubing in the ground. He asked me ‘what the result of this would be to the end user’, (homeowner).

I have to admit that initially I thought the question so elementary that I figured I must have heard him wrong…I over-complicated the answer when it was really very simple…‘it ain’t going to work so well’ for all the reasons I just described.


The first two ‘Introduction to Basic Hydronics’ classes had to be canceled due to hurricane Sandy’s merciless devastation here in the NY / NJ area. I am glad to report that the Armstrong representatives, Thermco in NJ and Rathe Associates in NY, fared relatively well through the hurricane and we have rescheduled the first two dates as follows:

SUBJECT: Introduction to Basic Hydronics
DATE: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Armstrong Pumps & Thermco
228 Scoles Ave.
Clifton, NJ. 07012
TIME: 5:30 – 7PM
CONTACT: 973-777-6700

SUBJECT: Introduction to Basic Hydronics
DATE: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Armstrong Pumps & Rathe Associates
LOCATION: Rathe Associates
1650 New Highway
Farmingdale, NY 11735
TIME: 5:30 – 7PM
CONTACT: 800-841-3367

Please stay tuned for new dates for the ‘Intermediate Hydronics including ‘Green’ System Pumping and Light Commercial Applications’ which we expect to take place sometime in January, 2013.


You can download some great geothermal design software called ‘LoopLogix’ at the

Heat Controller website here.

LoopLogix won’t calculate the heat loss / gain of a structure, you still have to do a traditional ACCA manual J calculation and input the structures loads into LoopLogix. The software will design every type of ground heat exchanger you can think of including vertical borehole closed loop U-tube, well water open loop systems, horizontal trenched and backhoe applications as well as Slinky and pond applications.

The best GHEX for your geothermal application is the one that installs for the lowest cost…with LoopLogix you can compare the materials required and borehole depths against any of the other application I mentioned above with the simple click of your mouse…you enter your design information just once and then you can click back and forth between any number of GHEX applications…how cool is that!

LoopLogix will allow you to compare your proposed geothermal system, (installed cost, return on investment, etc.), against the homeowners existing system and any other system that he / she may be considering from your competitors…up to six systems can be compared! It will produce a printable presentation that you can edit any way you wish including your company logo.

See you all soon!