This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Geothermal well

The other day I heard heavy machinery in an old, residential neighborhood, so I stopped to see what was happening. A well was being drilled, which seemed very strange. Why would someone inside the city limits be drilling a well?
The owner of the property explained that it was not a water well, but a heating well, a well that would use the ground for heat exchange. Heat is extracted from the ground and moved into the house during the winter, and during the summer heat is extracted from the house and moved into the ground. (The principle is the same one used in a refrigerator or an air conditioner.) Because this house had a limited back yard, the owner needed to drill vertically to get enough surface area for the heat pump to be effective. The big well driller was needed because there is limestone a few feet (7, 11?) below the surface, and a smaller drill that had attempted to drill the holes had not been effective with the limestone. In this case, six holes will be drilled, and the heat exchange pipe will go down and up each of those six holes.

I recall that a few year ago a new home in the area of Bunkum Road and Airport Drive had a heat-pump system installed. Because it had a large back yard, there was no need to drill deep into the earth. Instead the back yard was dug out several feet deep, several hundred feet of piping was laid out, and then the soil was replaced.

Using a heat pump for heating and cooling has expensive set-up costs, but the operating costs are low. I wonder how common it is in Rensselaer.


Michael J Oakes said...

I heard there was some confusion about whether it is legal to dig wells in the city limits. Apparently not if you us it as a water supply. But it is okay for thermal heating/cooling. At least according to this property owner who checked things out in advance and then had to deal with police and utility people stopping by to check things out.

Anonymous said...

One very nice home on Eger road that was part of the home tour sponsored by the charitable sorority active in Rensselaer 2 or 3 years ago (Psi Pi Iota Sigma Kappa Delta Omega?) has geothermal heat as well

Mac said...
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