Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
Frank Bernheisel
Posted 07.12.08
Just Outside Washington


our home geothermal heating-cooling project

Kathy and I are having our house converted to geothermal heating and cooling. The way this works is that a heat transfer fluid, similar to the antifreeze/water fluid in a car, is pumped down the wells and either picks up heat or deposits heat -- depending on whether it is heating or cooling.

This fluid comes back into the house and through the inside unit to either heat or cool the air in the hours. It is a closed loop system so the fluid just goes around and around.

Because the ground temperature is always about fifty degrees, the system is much more efficient that a conventional air conditioner that is pumping heat into summer air that is ninety or more degrees.

This will be a two-zone/unit system -- one for the second floor and one for the first floor. This involves three wells being drilled in the front yard, each 300 feet deep. These are done.

drill rig

The alternative was a trenching system in the back yard but the wells are cheaper and less disruptive. First we waited for the County to issue permits and then the drilling rigs came and started drilling. The drilling rigs are gone and the next step is to connect the six pipes through a manifold to feed the two systems. Now we are waiting for the County inspectors.

After that will come the installation of equipment in the house. The old furnaces and air conditioners will be removed.

    Last Wednesday our neighbor came over and said she does not have any water. I said: "You are on city water, aren't you?"

    "No, I have a well, she says."

    I think: Is it possible that the new drilled wells have created a hydro-depression cone that pulled the water out of her shallow well that is only 40 feet deep? Fortunately,it was only a circuit breaker that had tripped.

Our new geothermal system should reduce our consumption of natural gas and electricity by sixty-six percent. I would like to thank all you taxpayers for your contribution to this project through the thirty percent federal tax credit that you have so generously provided for these systems.

I will post more pictures and information as the project progresses. Also, the energy use will be compared with our history to see if the savings really are as advertised.