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Mrs. Shayne’s Adventures in Geothermal, Part 6

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Dear Kay,
Before we begin, I would like everyone to fire up the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing “Hallelujah” as the soundtrack to this blog entry.
Because, honey, on Tuesday, November 29, at 10:42 am CDT, I was singing the fire out of this song, right after Tim The Genius Of The Wires came upstairs and pointed at my heating vent. And nodded.
“Is it . . .” I asked.
“That’s geothermal. Right there.”
It looked so different, this heat. So loamy, so earthy, so deep. I’d never seen air like that before.
I know that Tim was tired of me asking him every fifteen minutes whether my life had changed forever. So many times he had answered, “No ma’am. You’re still a knitting blogger.” “No, Mrs. Shayne. You still talk to those cats.” “I’m sorry, Mrs. Shayne, it’s just not your time yet.”
But last Tuesday, well. It was my time.
It’s different now, so different. Someday, with the passage of the seasons and the increased energy efficiency of this house, maybe I’ll be able to explain how. Or maybe the damn thing won’t work. All I know is that something profound has happened in this house. Something profoundly tubey.
I just finished reading Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!. The weirdest guy in the book, Ivar, lives in a sod house dug into a hill on the Nebraska prairie. I wish I had read this book about four weeks ago, because Ivar figured out how to harness the earth’s constant temperature in a way that probably took half as long and I’m guessing a bit less expense than this little project.
Behind the Furnace Door
As a final climax to this project, we go now into the red-hot center of this project: the furnace room. I know it’s what you’ve been waiting for. Fasten your seatbelts.
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Here’s the heat pump. Please don’t ask me how it works. It makes a whispery hum and looks really busy all the time.
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This is the gizmo that sucks the juice through the loop that is buried in my yard. If you get too close, it will suck you in like Augustus Gloop going up the tube by the Chocolate River.
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This is where you can get a mammogram, right there in my basement.
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This is the tankless water heater. I promise you, there is no tank on this thing. That blue tank somehow keeps it all from blowing up. I am not going to read any more of the warning labels on this stuff. I want to forget that any of this equipment is even in my house.
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This is a free bonus faucet they gave me for agreeing to install this system two weeks before Thanksgiving.
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This is the scariest thing I have ever seen. Remind me never to look up again, ever. Where did those Ethernet cables come from? Is that Wikileaks guy spying on my system?
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For those of you who actually want to understand how geothermal systems work, God bless you and here’s a good description.
Thank you all for joining me on this journey of catharsis and renewal. I’ll set up a GeothermCam so you can watch my system at work, 24/7. That may be the only thing more fascinating than following this saga of installation.
Meanwhile, Please Join Us for a Big Night of Knitting Fun
We’re teaching a class! Here in Nashville! One night only, Feb. 28, as part of the Evening Classes at University School of Nashville. All course fees benefit USN’s scholarship fund. If you live anywhere within 500 miles, come be a part of this epic evening. We had so much fun doing this last year that we can hardly wait. Snacks, door prizes, who knows what will happen.
Registration opens tomorrow, Wednesday, December 6 at 9 am CDT. Here’s the course registration page. We’re Course #710, “Composting for Fun and Profit.” JUST KIDDING.
There are four other great knitting/felting classes being offered, so the clever knitter could stack up an entire winter’s worth of great classes with great teachers. Plus: it’s all for a good cause, which is nice.
Off to go blast the Hallelujah chorus again. Hallelujah!
Love,
Ann
PS Because it’s holiday time, here’s a festive boxed gift set of Mrs. Shayne’s Adventures in Geothermal:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

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45 Comments

45 Comments

  1. I am so glad you didn’t have a mental break during the installation!

  2. Hallelujah indeed! Woohoo. We’ve just signed up to have cavity wall insulation blown into our cavity. Together we might just save the planet. Too bad not everyone at the climate change talks is with us on this. Humph. I bet they dont knit either.

  3. If one was (hypothetically) to squish all those big boxes of workings up together next to each other I think they would be about the same size as the ground floor of our house.
    Geothermal is not, I think, a go-er in London!
    But well done! I am terribly impressed.
    B x x x
    ps – will Merle sing about it? Perhaps we could geo-thermal most of Europe from underneath bits of Greece to help them pay their debts off?

  4. You had me at the mammogram!

  5. So glad that the work is done. When I was driving through a residental area from I65 to Bellevue on Thanksgiving weekend, I kept looking for houses with big piles of dirt/construction in the yard.
    Also, can think nothing better to beat the mid winter blues than taking a class with you two. But could you please provide some hotel info?

  6. So glad that the work is done. When I was driving through a residental area from I65 to Bellevue on Thanksgiving weekend, I kept looking for houses with big piles of dirt/construction in the yard.
    Also, can think nothing better to beat the mid winter blues than taking a class with you two. But could you please provide some hotel info?

  7. After enjoying the Hallelujah Chorus, I was struck by inspiration. Would you and Kay ever consider doing some kind of web class that we could Skype into? Is that even technologically possible, or am I just under the influence of too much Handel?

  8. The mammogram line should have come with a warning label :)
    You sound positively giddy, and rightfully so. Well done! Now sit back, grab some knitting, and enjoy the good things usually found only in the Bowels of the Earth!

  9. Oh happy day!
    And if I can possibly travel to Nashville in February, I WILL take your class.

  10. Wow. That’s all I have to say. Just Wow!

  11. Wow! I am mightily impressed!! (And that doesn’t happen very often) Not impressed with the components (altho the mammogram station is pretty great) but with the fact that you had the absolute courage to actually do it!!! It is just so cutting edge…. Nicely done.

  12. “You still talk to those cats.” LOL!!!
    Glad to see that your house has been restored to some semblance of order.

  13. Wow! Look at all those…tubes and ducts and things. Shiny!
    (ps – I totally covet the tankless water heater. So awesome)

  14. Subject: Hallelujah Chorus from Alaska
    This video from the small Yupiq Eskimo Village of Quinhagak, Alaska, was a school computer project intended for the other Yupiq villages in the area. Much to the villagers’ shock, over a half million people have viewed it.

  15. So good to see it done. Living in a rental, I get energy-efficiency envy (E to the third power), with my cheapo electric heat, big ass old water heater, etc.

  16. Love that huge choir. And your air, so divine! I myself had a nice gentleman bashing around my chimney (ooh!) and then was able to burn one of those fake logs in my fireplace without the house filling with smoke. Which doesn’t really compare, I know.

  17. As a knitter, engineer, and breast cancer survivor, I LOVED this post! (If you can’t get your mammograms at Ann’s house, please get’em somewhere!)

  18. This post is just chock full o’ goodness. The Hallelujah Geothermal, with excellent text and pictures, was just a starter. (I could practically feel the warmth!)
    THEN you went on to the veryveryvery fun-sounding USN Mason Dixon knitting class! I even have several of the pre-requisites; $35, knitting experience, and a desire to attend. The only thing I lack is is the “within-500-miles-of-Nashville” residency requirement. :(
    Finally, USN Evening School sounds like all kinds of good learning fun. “Where Knowledge is Broadened, Community is Strengthened, and Opportunity is Found,” and where “deepest thinkers and most creative figures” can be found. I truly, madly, deeply love Open University/Adult Education/Chatauqua/Community College learning opportunities, and this one sounds like it could be full of rich possibilities!

  19. I really did play “Hallelujah” in the background in your honor. I bet you’re so glad to have it all DONE!
    And I truly have found the whole process fascinating. I keep calling my husband over to check out the progress. It’s the most fun he’s ever had reading a knitting blog. :)

  20. Chocolate rivers, Juice flowing through loops of pipe, free mammograms?…Where do I sign up?

  21. Dear Ann,
    You had me at “you still talk to those cats.” As interesting as I find all this geotherm talk. And I do find it interesting. Believe me. Before the crash. Before the split. I cut out the article in the Times about those crazy NYC folks doing it in downtown Manhattan and causing all sorts of inconveniences and spending all sorts of money. Why wouldn’t you do it if you could? It just makes sense.
    But I have a problem and perhaps you or others who talk to cats can help me solve it. I’ve got these two cats. And I love them. But I can’t have them in my new apartment. I couldn’t have them in any of the apartment’s I looked at. And, as an aside because it’s not like this is an entirely new development although it’s only been known for a year and a half, my 16 year old is allergic to cats. Oh, and Lucy, the 6 year old black and white coon recently developed diabetes. Yeah. I know.
    Mia is 4 and is a short hair black cat. Both are extremely sweet though not so much that they would be mistaken for being easy. They live in lower Westchester and do not need to relocate together. They currently live with a lab named Carrie. She’s going too by the way but staying in the family. It’s always the animals who suffer in a divorce. Just so you know, I’ve cried so much I can’t any more. So now I’m just doing crazy things to try and find them homes. Jump to writing about it on a knitting blog. Forgive me if I’ve overstepped. For the record, Lucy loves yarn in a way that does not tangle it. That’s a plus!
    Enjoy your well earned heat and your class. Wish I could be there. I look forward to meeting you some day.
    Liz

  22. This is life altering. I must have this. Don’t know how I’ll pay for it, but I must have it. My house wants this, I feel sure. Your photos of the equipment have mesmerized me. And of course, the picture of the astonishing geothermal air clinched the deal.

  23. My house is half-buried on 3 sides, and harnesses the power of the earth to be cold ALL YEAR LONG. In Seattle where it IS cold ALL YEAR LONG. Talk about taking coals to Newcastle. At least the cats think my lap is their own personal Jesus.

  24. Ta da! Congratulations! Enjoy your geothermal heat!

  25. Oh gosh, I can finally breathe freely again. For YOUR sake. Hallelujah.

  26. HALLELUJAH!!! And wish I could join you for your class…

  27. So what is the heat like? Warmer than what you had? Cozier? Does it, um, smell the same? Cleaner?
    Just wondering ’cause thinking of of doing this geo thing some day…

  28. Ann, hallelujah chorus and mammograms in one post. Big snort! Glad the geothermal is working.
    Liz, in Westchester, check out petfinders, and best wishes.

  29. Yay! We’d considered geothermal at some point, and didn’t get further than thinking “that would be neat” before deciding that the price will be too high until more folks start doing it. So, thanks!! Let us know how low your heating bills are now.

  30. Well, Ann, I’ve enjoyed the Geotherm Saga so much. I’ll miss it now that it’s over. The whole thing was really interesting and I, too, would like to know how it changes your heating bills. Have you finished your novel?

  31. Thanks for sharing geothermal wonderfulness with us. I had solar hot water panels installed on my roof a few years ago and the dog walkers still look up and gaze in wonder. But the houses are so close together in my 1920′s Asheville (NC) neighborhood, that geothermal would be beyond spendy. Reminds me…need to call the furnace man to have to 50 year old oil furnace tuned up…

  32. I am registered for your class, Yea! Road trip! Thanks for mentioning it. Now, back to the growing pile of schmattas.

  33. Ann,
    How about making the class an online as well as physical class and opening it up for anyone to sign up for…you’d make way more money and we could all join you!
    I just heard about a college prof that opened up his class to anyone that wanted to take it online, free. He expected a few hundred people and got 140,000!!!
    Think about that…

  34. The blue tank prevents water from back flowing to the the rest of your pipes if there is a pressure spike. When the city installed one outside our house, we didn’t know that failure to have one of these would cause pressure spikes to disperse in our home’s plumbing. It fried some part or another of each of our watery appliances– washer, dishwasher, humidifier, water heater. I want to say solenoid valve. Their deaths came in dribs and drabs and until the water heater died, we didn’t even know that there was such a thing as that little tank.

  35. Laughing so hard, I’m crying. I want a bonus faucet, too!

  36. Basement mammograms, indeed! You crack me up.

  37. now i know where all the star wars sets are stored right down in anns spooky basement

  38. Congratulations on the completion of your geothermal project. Do you feel all eco-friendly and up-to-the -minute in a technological kind of a way?

  39. I needed that laugh!! Thanks….I really mean it….for sharing the whole saga with us. By the way, have you read Willa Cather’s other sod house book….My Antonia? I have not read the one you mentioned but I bet they are darn similar. We should compare notes.

  40. I have enjoyed this geothermal journey of yours so much!
    I hope you will be toasty and warm for many years to come.
    Great fun writing…….you are a writer, a knitter second!

  41. I have enjoyed this geothermal journey of yours so much!
    I hope you will be toasty and warm for many years to come.
    Great fun writing…….you are a writer first, a knitter second!

  42. I have really appreciated following the install of GEO Thermal heaven. A new elementary school here uses the same type of system – nice to know how it works when you alrady have a house built.

  43. Ivar is not weird. Ivar is deep, and I wish I knew him.

  44. Guess what? I signed up to hang out with my Mason-Dixon friends in Feb! Tuesday is the only night of the week there are no activities to cart the girls to! Yay! See you then!

  45. I’m glad that this is working for you. I love the idea of geothermal (though I think my husband and I are contemplating solar panels first), and really need to look into things to take our house into greener pastures.