Take the 2-minute tour ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am very interested in learning more about Geothermal solutions for my house.

What are the best resources for learning about and planning a Geothermal systems for a residential house?

Also, does anyone know any resources for DIY Geothermal solutions? I was kind of hoping to start by tinkering with a smaller scale system to maybe use along with my current HVAC system.

share|improve this question
    
When asking users to contribute to a list of answers, the question should be marked community wiki. I converted this post. –  Robert Cartaino Aug 4 '10 at 16:17

3 Answers 3

Talk to some local installers first.

Unless you have a background in HVAC, I would say installing a geo is NOT a viable DIY project.

share|improve this answer

I'd start with the Wikipedia article on Geothermal Heat Pumps which is pretty good at giving the overview.

It's a bit hard to do a 'small scale' system which you might expand later if you are laying pipe in the ground or in a pond. You probably don't want to do that twice. But an open system might give you a chance to play with the ideas. If you search around online there are a lot of DIY projects that can allow you to experiment with geothermal. Despite the the comments of others, it's not rocket surgery ;) You could build a small heat exchanger or put in a small open loop system in front of your existing HVAC and let the open loop geo system do most of the work and have the existing system only kick in if the temp gets out of bounds.

What IS hard is DIY a system that will be efficient and save you money. Experimenting and understanding how geotherm works is a great project where you can learn a lot. But it's hard to beat the efficiency of commercial systems.

It is a good idea to talk with local installers, but be careful of which ones you talk to. If they are not specialists in geothermal they may not have good info. Make sure they have experience designing and installing and then get info appropriate for your geography.

share|improve this answer
    
I didn't say it was impossible, just not viable as a DIY project. As you mentioned, you have to consider the efficiency you can achieve versus the cost of a DIY system. Another thing to keep in mind is re-sale. I'd be very scared of buying a house with a home-made geothermal system. –  aphoria Aug 4 '10 at 19:01
    
It wouldn't bother me too much... unless the house was near an active volcano ;) –  Wayne Werner Aug 4 '10 at 20:08
    
@aphoria - the resale point is a very good one. –  JD Long Aug 4 '10 at 20:56

I was looking into geothermal heat pumps a couple of years ago, although I eventually ruled the technology out for my current home due to high costs for a vertical loop dig (we are in a suburban home with not much land, so a horizontal loop was not an option.)

While I was researching geothermal heat pumps, one of the companies I came across and was considering for the equipment was WaterFurnace International. WaterFurnace has a good knowledge center for residential home owners, at their web site. I suggest you check it out.

(Aside: I remain fascinated with the technology and hope some day to implement it with a future property. In the meanwhile, I settled for a Carrier hybrid system combining a highest-efficiency natural gas furnace and an air-source heat pump, with intelligent electronic control.)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.