ACG aims for efficient home solutions
By Eric Mathes
Mark Sherry photo
Dan Walsdorf (left) and Sean Steffes, owners of Advanced Custom Geothermal in Kiel, go over the plans for an upcoming installation.

As temperatures drop through a record-setting Wisconsin winter, Advanced Custom Geothermal owners Dan Walsdorf and Sean Steffes continue to help customers stay warm.

Sean said, “This winter has been especially cold and we’ve been very busy servicing heating units throughout the area.”

Residents in Wisconsin are seeing first hand the importance of a properly maintained home heating system.

During this winter’s extreme temperatures, customers with propane furnaces have gone through more gas than normal. The increase in demand lead to a subsequent spike in liquefied petroleum gas.

It is times like this when Dan and Sean find themselves laying the ground work with customers for geothermal systems.

Dan said, “It goes to show how volatile the LP market can be. Sure, electric may go up, but not by 500 percent overnight.”

The elasticity of the gas market has led customers to seek more financially sustainable heating units, which leads to a conversation about geothermal.

Some contractors will often pair a geothermal unit with a gas furnace acting as a backup system, but Dan believes this idea acts more like a crutch than anything else.

He said, “That type of installations may appeal to customers because of the low installation costs, but operational costs over the winter will prove to be more expensive.”

ACG’s philosophy is to provide customers with a heating system that is more financially and efficiently responsible down the road.

Continuing the education curve

Since the business began in 2007, ACG continues to educate customers on a daily basis about geothermal systems and how it can work for them.

“We are educating people everyday about geothermal technology,” Sean said. “We appreciate talking with people about the system and its advantages.”

A geothermal system circulates a water-based solution through a buried loop system of polyethylene tubing to take advantage of the moderate and constant temperature of the earth. A single piece of equipment has the ability to heat and cool a home while providing some or all of the home’s domestic hot water needs as well. Even in northern climates such as Wisconsin, about 10 feet below the ground the temperature is consistently around 55 F. Making use of this constant is why geothermal systems can save 40 to 70 percent on monthly utility bills.

Advanced Custom Geothermal does much of its geothermal work for contractors, often in new home construction throughout northeast Wisconsin but also as far away as Wausau, Waterford, and Germantown.

Making use of the earth’s temperature for heating dates back to prehistoric times, but it was in the 1980s that earth loop systems began to be used.

Helping to make their job easier in the past year was the addition of a directional boring machine. No longer does the company have to subcontract out the excavation process of certain loop types.

Just as it sounds, the equipment allows ACG employees to bore holes horizontally or at other angles underground. The use of the machine allows it to install loop fields in wooded lots without removing trees. The machine also now offers ACG another service which it can do for anyone needing directional hole boring done.

“Often people are hesitant about something that is different,” Sean said. “We are always working to make a shift in the perception and we are glad that it’s catching on with some momentum.”

ACG strives to offer the most efficient heating and cooling options available.

The WaterFurnace 7 Series™ provides homeowners the ultimate in comfort and performance and represents Water-Furnace’s finest products. It is the geothermal industry’s first fully launched variable capacity unit.

WaterFurnace’s new variable unit has Aurora communicating controls which work in unison with InfiniSpeed technology.

Providing high levels of comfort

A variable capacity compressor, variable speed loop pump, and variable speed blower motor combine to offer the high level of comfort experienced.

Best of all, 7 Series units use the stored energy in a person’s yard to provide savings up to 70 percent on heating, cooling and hot water.

“This unit helps build efficiency in our customers’ homes, plain and simple,” Sean said. “We strive to install efficient products that have better life spans to help our customers save money.”

Dan explains that even though there is some apprehension with certain people about changing to a different system, the biggest proponent is to lead by example.

He said, ‘“I tell people about how I got into geothermal. My story isn’t that different from my customers’. We believe in it, we live it, and we use it all the time. We continue to be our own example.”

A diverse heating and cooling company, Advanced Custom Geothermal provides services such as installation and repair of conventional gas and oil furnaces and boilers; conventional, split-system and miniduct air conditioners; and air-to-air exchangers, gas fireplaces, humidifiers, duct cleaning, and ultraviolet light air purifiers.

The business also does commercial refrigeration installations and repairs, such as to walk-in coolers and other needs for restaurants, gas stations, taverns and other applications.

But as its name implies, geothermal is the cornerstone of ACG’s business.

“We specialize in it,” Dan said. “We’re the geothermal destination and if you want a system that works, come to us.”

ACG is a member of the Wisconsin Geothermal Association and a member of the Fond du Lac Home Builders Association. ACG has also partnered with Focus on Energy, Energy Star, and is an accredited business by the Better Business Bureau.

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