Mashburn Well Drilling, Inc.
Your Trusted Source for Geothermal Drilling
It can be a hassle when it comes to repairs and maintenance for your furnace and air conditioner. However, when it comes to home heating and cooling, there may be a better option. Geothermal heating and cooling uses the natural energy from the earth to cool and heat your home, and it could save you money on utility bills. At Mashburn, we provide geothermal drilling and geothermal loop installation to customers in Central IL. Read on for more details or call us for information!
Geothermal energy is heat energy generated and stored in the Earth. Thermal energy is the energy that determines the temperature of matter.
Geothermal drilling is the process of creating boreholes in the earth to extract the earth’s heat.
Geothermal Drilling - How It Works
Homeowners in virtually every region of the United States are enjoying a high level of comfort and significantly reducing their energy use today with GeoExchange (geothermal) heating and cooling.
This marvelous technology relies primarily on the Earth’s natural thermal energy, a renewable resource, to heat or cool a house or multi-family dwelling.
GeoExchange heating and cooling is cost effective because it uses energy so efficiently. This makes it very environmentally friendly, too. For these reasons, federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, as well as state agencies like the California Energy Commission, endorse it.
Furnaces must create heat by burning a fuel–typically natural gas, propane, or fuel oil. With GeoExchange systems, there’s no need to create heat, hence no need for chemical combustion. Instead, the Earth’s natural heat is collected in winter through a series of pipes, called a loop, installed below the surface of the ground or submersed in a pond or lake. Fluid circulating in the loop carries this heat to the home.
In summer, the process is reversed in order to cool the home. Excess heat is drawn from the home, expelled to the loop, and absorbed by the Earth. GeoExchange systems provide cooling in the same way that a refrigerator keeps its contents cool–by drawing heat from the interior, not by injecting cold air.
Geothermal systems do the work that ordinarily requires two appliances, a furnace and an air conditioner. They can be located indoors because there’s no need to exchange heat with the outdoor air. They’re so quiet homeowners don’t even realize they’re on. They are also compact. Typically, they are installed in a basement or attic, and some are small enough to fit atop a closet shelf.
GeoExchange systems don’t have to work as hard (which means they use less energy) because they draw heat from a source whose temperature is moderate. The temperature of the ground or groundwater a few feet beneath the Earth’s surface remains relatively constant throughout the year, even though the outdoor air temperature may fluctuate greatly with the change of seasons. At a depth of approximately six feet, for example, the temperature of soil in most of the world’s regions remains stable between 45 F and 70 F. This is why well water drawn from below ground tastes so cool even on the hottest summer days.
In winter, it’s much easier to capture heat from the soil at a moderate 50F than from the atmosphere when the air temperature is below zero. This is also why GeoExchange systems encounter no difficulty blowing comfortably warm air through a home’s ventilation system, even when the outdoor air temperature is extremely cold.
Conversely, in summer, the relatively cool ground absorbs a home’s excess heat more readily than the warm outdoor air.
Making Hot Water
GeoExchange systems can also provide all or part of a household’s hot water. This can be highly economical, especially if the home already has a GeoExchange system, hence a ground loop, in place.
Because GeoExchange systems heat water so efficiently, many manufacturers today are also offering triple function GeoExchange systems. Triple function systems provide heating, cooling and hot water. They use a separate heat exchanger to meet all of a household’s hot water needs.
The Earth Connection
Once installed, the loop in a GeoExchange system remains out of sight beneath the Earth’s surface while it works unobtrusively to tap the heating and cooling nature provides. The loop is made of a material that is extraordinarily durable but which allows heat to pass through efficiently. This is important so it doesn’t retard the exchange of heat between the Earth and the fluid in the loop. Loop manufacturers typically use high-density polyethylene, a tough plastic.
The length of the loop depends upon a number of factors, including the type of loop configuration used; a home’s heating and air conditioning load; soil conditions; local climate; and landscaping. Larger homes with larger space conditioning requirements generally need larger loops than smaller homes. Homes in climates where temperatures are extreme also generally require larger loops.