New Hampshire residents are always looking for ways to cut down on their home heating costs and with advancements in heat exchange technology in geothermal heating systems. More and more people are looking into this clean energy option as an alternative to oil and propane.
Geothermal home heating systems use the earth’s naturally constant temperature to heat and cool a home. Water or another kind of fluid runs through pipes from the home and into the ground through a geothermal well. While the liquid is flowing deep within the ground, it adjusts to the temperature around it. In the winter, this temperature is warmer than the air above ground. It is drawn into a heat exchange system and the warmth is concentrated and distributed through the home. In the summer, the system works in reverse, drawing warmth from the home into the ground and drawing the cool temperature from the soil.
There are two types of geothermal systems. The most common type is a closed-loop system, otherwise known as a standing column well system. Deep holes are drilled into the aquifer and pipes are dropped into the holes until it meets the water. The water is drawn up through the pipes and circulated into the building, where it meets the heat pump exchanger. The heat pump exchanger transfers the warm energy into the home or building’s heating system and the water is then returned into the ground. This type of system is used in about 80 percent of the geothermal wells in the Northeast and is very similar to a conventional drilled well for drinking water.
The other type is called closed-loop vertical. To install, a drill digs a series of bore holes in the ground and long plastic pipes are inserted. These pipes are filled with a water solution, typically non-toxic antifreeze, and then sealed. The fluid then flows in and out of the home, transferring heat energy.
What you need to know before you drill a geothermal well
Standards for drilling geothermal wells are written by the New Hampshire Well Water Board and include recording and reporting requirements for certain projects, such as where multiple deep wells are drilled on the same site. These wells must also comply with EPA regulation of injection wells and must be registered with New Hampshire’s Underground Injection Control (UIC) program in accordance with Administrative Rule Env-Wq 402 Groundwater Discharge Permits and Registrations.
Homeowners constructing a geothermal well for residential use must file a Geothermal System Registration for Single-Use Residences form with the state. This one-page form must include the system type, location and whether it will be used to supply drinking water. The form can be filled out by the homeowner the drilling company.
If you are constructing a geothermal well for a business or school, you must file a Geothermal System Registration for Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) Facilities form. This must be filled out by the well driller or system designer and include site plans showing where the well is located, as well as other design details.
Skillings & Sons has installed geothermal wells for residential homes, schools, and businesses across New Hampshire and Massachusetts. If you have questions about whether your property would be a good fit for a geothermal system, contact us at 1-800-441-6281.