Front Yard Geothermal: Digging
Monday, Halloween, was a busy day at our house. My daughter Antonia was sick, so I worked at home and got to see most of the action. It began the vacuuming of the slurry ponds and ended with the loop field connected into our basement. (Click here for the previous week's work, drilling).
By the end of the day Wednesday the installation was complete. Most of my pictures are from Monday though; the basement work on Tuesday and Wednesday was not nearly so dramatic.
To start with a picture from Monday morning would be in order. This is how things stood after the drillers had finished up:
The areas enclosed by erosion fence are the slurry ponds. The stuff inside is goopy wet clay and rock that came out of the well holes. It looks a bit like a milkshake, but if you scoop down into it, it's heavy (like rock!)
The day began with a bit of snag. Mark (Mark Doll, our contractor from Professional Geothermal) had talked to the excavator and decided the slurry ponds were not a big problem. However when the excavator (Jim) arrived on site, they realized it was a problem. So Mark found a company with a machine that "vacuums" up this stuff. They then take it to a place where it is used in making something else (concrete? I forget now). Here are some videos of that:
And in more detail:
It was very noisy! However after an hour or two the slurry was gone. Then it was time for the trenching:
By the end of the day Monday, things were back to a messy-but-stable state again, the trenches filled in, and things ready for the inside work. I'll post pictures of that later. For now, the thing to know is that by Wednesday night the inside work was done. Since then, we have been off fossil fuels for our heating and hot water. Our electric usage has increased dramatically (as expected). It has varied with outside temperature, but it's around 18-30 kWh per day, where it had been 4 or 5. But we have only used 0.1 therms of natural gas in 6 days (previously it was around 1.5 therms per day in this weather, and more than 0.1 therms per day in the summer just for the hot water).
This Friday the landscapers are supposed to come. I'll do one last post about that.
Front Yard Geothermal: Drilling
The "loop" is a pair of black tubes, a bit bigger and stiffer than garden hose, joined at the end to make a "U". This "U" joint goes at the bottom of the well hole, and the 2 ends stick out the top. Next week they will be connected with the tubes from the other wells and fed into our basement.
Front Yard Geothermal: It Begins
You would think after looking forward to it for so long, I'd actually be there when the truck drove onto the front yard. Shopping for a geothermal contractor began in early July, we sent a deposit in early September, I blogged my excitement in October, and at last, the truck was here. But I was at work.
I knew they might be here today, and I could have been home. But I expected to get a call from Bruce, the driller, when they arrived. Plus, I didn't want to get my hopes up. Things come up. Lately things especially seem to come up with Bruce's equipment -- exploding tires, mysterious fuel pump issues, running into a deer...
So I was really surprised when I came home to this.
Front Yard Geothermal: Anticipation
[Update 10/12/11: Well, now it looks like next week we are finally getting geothermal... Our driller is a bit behind on some other jobs.]
This Next week I plan to look down a hole 180 feet deep, explode a mud bomb in my front yard, and lose 5,000 pounds.
We're finally getting geothermal.
Web Site Upgrade Coming
A quick heads up -- I'm working on an upgrade to this website. As with most software upgrades, I will consider it a success if it does not make things too much worse than they are now. Not much should change, but I want to be on the next version of our content management system (Joomla) in order to eventually:
- Add a way to comment on articles.
- Support the development of a way to record your own carbon footprint over time, so you can produce something like (but cleaner and simpler than) the Arney Household Carbon Footprint graph.
- Allow for easier security updates.
- Possibly add a forum for discussions.
Once I get this done I hope to have more time to write and keep the content of the site fresh. Thanks for your patience!