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Anybody have any PERSONAL EXPERIENCE with geothermal heating/cooling?

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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 07:00 PM
Original message
Anybody have any PERSONAL EXPERIENCE with geothermal heating/cooling?
I've read some info but would like to hear from anyone with a residential unit. Some local schools have installed this system for their cooling/heating needs (though I'm told in these southern climes, some will use traditional cooling systems to supplement it). I was a little shocked at all the hole drilling that had to be done for these schools - at least 1000 wells - which is pretty disturbing.

At any rate, I'm only interested in experience with residential units because I am looking for alternatives as my current traditional heating/cooling system ages and needs replacement.

I'm curious about the comfort levels, and any other issues that might have come up with its use/maintenance.

Thanks.

BTW - Here's one article about this system:

http://www.reddawn.com/featart11-98.html
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 07:02 PM
Response to Original message
1. I once showered in a geyser. Does that count?
It was awesome, though it left me smelling a bit sulfury.
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ret5hd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
2. Neighbors had it done...about a 2300 sq ft house...
only 2 holes...and they are permanently hidden under the driveway.
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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Only TWO holes?!
That doesn't jive with some of the info I've read (like the article I posted which mentions 50 but no house sq. footage). That's good to know!
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
3. Sitting in a geothermally heated/cooled house right now
We rent out the basement, and it is very comfy, both winter and summer. Winters here in Arkansas are relatively mild; we do have a small wood burning stove for backup heat in the winter, but we seldom use it (maybe 2-3 days during the year). The cooling is great--and that is a big plus here. Even without the fans blowing the air around, it can stay around 69-70 here. We have a south facing greenhouse which during the winter adds a certain amount of passive heat. During the summer, the trees on the side of our mountain shade it and so it doesn't get oppressive.

My landlord has had the unit in place since the house was constructed about 20 years ago. She has had to have the unit that circulates the air serviced about every 3-5 years.

Some friends of ours built their own house and put in their own geothermal heat tubes, and it is quite comfortable there. They don't have a fan unit to blow the air around like we do, but they have lots of windows, and the house is "sunken" in that there is a retaining wall around the south/east ends not far from the house. Seems to me they said it helped with retaining heat/cold. They are not on the side of a mountain but on top, and there aren't many trees around their house. It remains comfortable enough that they don't have to worry about their computers overheating--and since the husband writes computer programs for a living, you know that is a priority.

Hope this information helps.
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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Wow...thanks! That is exactly the kind of info I'm looking for!
You are so lucky, and the area you live in sounds heavenly too.
AND this reminds me that I could supplement this system with better passive design changes to my home as well.

Do you know how many holes/wells were drilled and the general square footage? Also curious about the building materials of the house itself.

Thanks again!
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. I know the trenches here are quite extensive
and I know my friend dug in quite a bit under his house site to get them in place. But I really don't know the square footage. This house is stucco (you could try papercrete-great insulating properties, and you're recycling big time), and the friend's house is made of wood. Both have lots of windows-this house has them mainly facing the greenhouse for light. There are no windows to the outside in this basement apartment, btw. I do know it is something that one person with the time and a small backhoe can do--the friend's house burned, and he lived in a tiny camper over a couple of years to get the whole house done, which he did entirely on his own.
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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 08:51 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Sounds like they may have put in a horizontal system rather than a vertical
one which would require drilling. I'll look into papercrete. So far, as far as building materials go, I like the characteristics of Faswall.

I'd love to hear from someone who has a geothermal system built into a pond. That sounds interesting and could serve multiple uses (the pond as water source).

I'd also be curious if a water supply well for the house could share the same hole with a geothermal unit by just making it a little wider, rather than digging separate holes for each?

It sure sounds like geothermal doesn't take too long to pay for itself.
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PsN2Wind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
7. Check the Oregon Institute of Technology
A lot of the campus uses geothermal for heat. Some of the streets in Klamath Falls where the Institute is located use geothermal to melt the snow off. Also many residences in the town are heated by geothermal with one hot water well and a closed loop in it which circulates the water used for heating.
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Nay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 07:59 PM
Response to Original message
8. We have a 2500 SQ FT house and installed a geothermal system
about 6 years ago. It cost About $12,000. We are extremely comfortable, summer and winter, and comparable houses belonging to neighbors and friends have double to triple our utility bills.

To install the tubes through which the liquid flows, they dug up our *whole* backyard and part of the front yard. It was a mess, and our cat was so traumatized he disappeared for 3 days. . .but we love it. We have the blower to circulate air.
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lastknowngood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-15-07 10:24 PM
Response to Original message
10. If your lot is large enough this is the answer I am using it on a small
scale in Arkansas, where I intend to retire, and it works great. Takes a little shade tree mechanic skills but very low tech with few moving parts.
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