New and Improved Drilling Rigs Reduce Geothermal Installation Costs

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One truism: home energy costs will only increase. One United States government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, estimates annual residential energy costs averaged over $1,800 in 2005. Americans are turning to geothermal energy for their residences. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that homeowners install around 50,000 geothermal heat pumps each year.

Geothermal heat pumps offer advantages over alternative energy sources. Geothermal energy is consistent, because the ground temperature remains the same. Clouds and inclement weather obscure solar power units. Wind speed and duration are unpredictable.

The in-home hardware takes up less space, and operates at a lower noise level. Outside the house, the heat pump is smaller than traditional compressors. Geothermal heat pumps do not have many moving parts, which reduces vandalism and theft. The in-ground structure and material is friendly to the environment. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that most materials used in-ground for geothermal heat pumps will last fifty years. 

New homes are prime candidates for geothermal energy. Most existing homes can be retro-fitted for geothermal heat pumps.

Technological improvements for drilling rigs have driven down the costs. Several trucks were necessary to transport the pile driving equipment. The rigs had to be assembled on-site with cranes and heavy equipment movers. Roadways had to be cleared ahead of arrival for the width and height of the installation equipment. The ground at the residence was torn and ripped by the heavy equipment. The installation process was noisy and created pollution.

Drilling rigs now are more compact. Some are mounted on tracks and have mobility. Others may be attached to tractors and positioned by a one or two person crew instead of five or more. The smaller size of these rigs means more residential areas are more accessible.

This is especially important to retro-fit a house. The new drilling rigs require less overhead clearance and do not tear up the ground. They can be driven into narrow spaces and need a smaller landing pad.

Modern drilling rigs can handle most types of soil and rock. Many have enough power to drive through hard substances like limestone, and can also dig through clay or even into underground water tables.

The improvements in drilling rigs for residential geothermal energy systems are impressive. However, follow the advice of the US Department of Energy and seek the guidance of professionals familiar with the terrain and operation of drilling rigs.

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Source by Dave Greene

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