Geothermal heating and cooling

On Friday, July 3, the big machines again swung into action at Bunny Vista. This time, Lewis and crew were digging two 300- foot trenches, each one to contain three loops of tubing, for the geothermal heating and cooling system. Shelby, who several months ago helped gather the sandstone from the old barn, arrived with his trackhoe at 6:30 a.m., and the men were working hard by 7:00a.m.

Shelby dug two 300-foot ditches with the trackhoe.

Shelby dug two 300-foot ditches with the trackhoe.

Geothermal heating and cooling systems use ground-source heat pumps, similar to conventional heat pumps, to heat and cool efficiently. Geothermal heat pumps, taking advantage of the relatively stable temperature of the earth, pull warm air inside during winter and cool air inside during summer. Kelley and I decided to install geothermal heating and cooling, because, although the systems are initially more expensive than some other forms of heating and cooling, they are very energy efficient and have low operating and maintenance costs. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that geothermal heat pumps can save 30 to 70 percent on heating costs and 20 to 50 percent on cooling costs over conventional systems. The EPA also say that ground-source heat pumps are the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective heating and cooling systems available.

Eric Thompson, owner of Earthstar Energy Systems in Waynesboro, designed the system that we will use. In addition to the geothermal heating and cooling, we will use solar panels to provide most of the hot water for the house.

Lewis and Braxton unroll the tubing in the first trench. There are six lines of tubing in each trench.

Lewis and Braxton unroll the tubing in the first trench. There are three loops of tubing in each trench.

Tubes--three loops of tubing in each 300-foot trench

Tubing

Backfilling the first trench.

Back filling the first trench.

A different view from Bunny Vista

A different view from Bunny Vista

Lewis in the second trench

Lewis Wright

Three loops from each trench, heading into the mechanical room of the house.

Three loops from each trench, heading into the mechanical room of the house.

Kelley says the crew finally finished up at 7:00p.m.–a long, hot twelve hours of hard work. Today, they used Aaron’s Bobcat to smooth over some of the rough ground, and Kelley seeded and watered.

The sun sets on Bunny Vista.

The sun sets on Bunny Vista.

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4 Responses to “Geothermal heating and cooling”

  1. Daniel Says:

    I’m also installing Geothermal Heat/AC/Water Heater at my house, and I’m using wells to run pipe the correct length in the ground instead of the trench and coil method.

    What a mess, but hopefully the efficiency will be worth it!

    My system will be running in a few weeks, and I’ll let you know the results…..

  2. Susan Says:

    I think Kelley and Eric Thompson consulted and decided that the trenches would be most cost effective for us. The trenches were enormous, but it’s looking better now.

    I heard that you were getting a geothermal system, too. I hope that we’re cool in summer and warm in winter and that we’ll have lots of hot water.

  3. Robin Blanton Says:

    Those are some mighty big holes 🙂

    I think this is extremely cool! I believe your house is going to be very comfortable.

  4. Louisville Home Energy Systems Says:

    You seem as if you are in the know about cost efficient, environmentally friendly home energy systems. Can you please explain to me how solar panels work to heat your water? Thanks!

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