MRS. SHAYNE’S ADVENTURES IN GEOTHERMAL, PART 2
November 16, 2011
I CAN’T REALLY EXPRESS TO YOU HOW LOUD THINGS ARE AT MY HOUSE RIGHT NOW. YESTERDAY MORNING THIS THING SHOWED UP IN MY YARD:
AND IT HAS BEEN DRILLING 300′ HOLES IN THE GROUND FOR EIGHT HOURS YESTERDAY AND PROBABLY ANOTHER FOUR HOURS TODAY. THEY JUST STARTED HOLE NUMBER FOUR, OF FIVE.
THIS IS ABOUT TEN FEET OUTSIDE MY OFFICE WINDOW. IT’S LIKE A QUARRY. OR THE WORLD’S HUGEST ROOT CANAL. I FEEL LIKE MY HOUSE IS UNDERGOING DENTAL WORK.
If you have any curiosity about exactly how crappy your house is, call your electric company for one of those energy evaluations. A guy came out, took dozens of photos of all my egregious gaps, cracks, bad insulation, and open chimney flues. Can I help it that we have single-pane windows? Just so critical and naggy, crikey.
Actually, the guy could not have been any kinder. He’s a songwriter (of course; this is Nashville) and writes poetry, dances. I felt terrible that my house was so subpar. But I was glad that it gave him a lot of material to work with.
The most humiliating part was the silent way my inspector took in the vista of my attic ducts. He was struck dumb. “Aluminum foil,” he finally said, pointing to one area that looked like a Halloween spaceman costume. “That’s actual aluminum foil. And this,” he said, lifting the edge of another piece, “this is wool. Like from a sheep.”
I’m not making this up. We knitters joke about insulating our house with yarn? MY HOUSE IS INSULATED WITH YARN.
He also pointed out that savvy HVACers scorn square ducts as deeply inefficient, that air likes a tube, that my ducts are so leaky and ill covered that it’s a miracle we get our house above freezing, ever. I don’t even know how we get through a damn day around this place.
Anyway. In for a nickel, in for a dime. I figured if we were going geothermal, it didn’t make sense to send all that earthly air through bad ducts. The cost of patching up the leaky seams and adding more insulation wasn’t exactly cheap, so guess what I’m getting for Christmas: new ducts.
Yesterday, the duct specialists came in and just beat the hell out of my ducts:
Which was great. I think the catharsis aspect of this project may be what is most satisfying. Just blow it up, everything. Drill down to magma; take the roof off. I don’t care. Let’s DO THIS THING.
Day One went really well, in a man-there’s-a-lot-of-stuff-going-on way. Not to jinx anything, but there was not a single 50-foot fireball from the drilling rig. We didn’t “hit gas,” as I feared. We didn’t hit anything except limestone. I’m going to miss that Ingersoll Rand T4W when it finishes Hole Number Five. A rig like that costs at least $170K used. Yes, I looked into buying one.
What are these holes for, anyway? They’re going to run pipes down into the holes, connect them into a closed loop filled with lemonade or Diet Slice or Oil of Olay, bury it all, then tie all that into a new heat pump. I can’t really get into the details too much today, except to say that this is the part of the story where you say, “Got to make a mess to clean up a mess.”
PS My geothermal blanket project continues. I love making this blanket. It’s just a stashbuster, no pattern, just mitered squares and garter stitch squares. The stakes are so low that I can’t really go wrong. I’m not sure I’m going to love this blanket when it’s done, but I do love making it. You know?