Cheapest way to switch to geothermal

Discussion in 'Open Loop' started by mike3325, May 29, 2010.

  1. mike3325

    mike3325 New Member

    At How to Drill Your Own Water Well there are instructions for drilling your own well. In many areas you can drill your own well and injection well and save a bunch in switching over to a geothermal heat pump. I did it. It works. Unless you happen to live on a river or lake where you can simply run a loop through the water, there simply is no cheaper way to switch to a geothermal heat pump.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2010
  2. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader


    I have been thinking about this all weekend, and here is my toned down response. While I can appreciate your "get it done" attitude, you do not know what you do not know.
    I accessed the state of Alabama drilling requirements on line and you sir are in gross violation of numerous statutes. I am a libertarian at heart, but when your actions can impact others we must look to the greater good.
    Some low points:
    lack of grout
    extracting water from a confined aquifer and injecting it in a shallow aquiclude/aquifer
    lack of liscensure
    lack of permiting
    lack of common sense
    When you posted your project on the "world wide web" it certainly includes the regulators of the state of Alabama. You sir have documented in great detail the disrespect that you have for them and their statutes. In effect you have convicted yourself if they choose to bring charges.

    I would ask that this thread remain open for discussion, but the offending link be removed so it does not encourage others to fly in the face of other peoples access to a safe and plentifull water supply. Actions such as this only encourage the further regulation and restrictions on a resource that should remain available to all.
    Thank you and good day.
  3. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Hey Eric,

    can you also post the un toned down response?:D:D:D
  4. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Thanx Phil

    And to you Dewayne, I am in a 12 step program to manage the untoned version of myself,:eek: but thank you for asking.
  5. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    At a time when tax credits allow purchase of things geo for 70 cents on the dollar one needs to be careful not to be "....pound foolish".
    Risking prosecution and restitution for "risking contamination of an aquifer" could be very costly indeed.
    The other side of this conversation is the "why hire the contractor who's going to charge me a bunch of money when I can do it myself...." opinion (not saying that's Mike's just that it is out there).
    More than once in a geo price discussion we have mentioned that licensing and registration and liability insurance and workmens comp. and permits and rules and laws... are all burdens of the honest contractor that a DIYer may choose to ignore. I could install geo cheaper as well if I were cavalier about the laws.
  6. pjssailor

    pjssailor New Member


    This forum has been so helpful to me that I hesitate to get in the middle of this one - but -----.
    Yes Mike has a proffessionaly drilled permitted deep well that was probably put in to supply the home with water that was discharged to a septic tank and field. he is now using it to suppply water to a 4?? ton water source heat pump. It seems to be saving him a nice 30 or 40% of his cooling bill (he may have too big a pump to run and start as often as it must to be as efficient as it could be). He has figured out a clever and cheap way of drilling a 30 - 40 ft well and shares what he has learned in doing that and helping other learn to do it at no charge over the net. He bought his Heat pump through a local dealer and had it installed by that dealer so I have every reason to think it is all very legal. If I figured anything was illegal about it I would either call Mke privately and warn him or call the dealer. I sure as hell would not have a fit in public. In fact, I am much more worried about any one who worried about something that trivial all weekingd than about Mike dumping a hundred or so gallons of DRINKING WATER tested and safe some 30 feet or so in the ground. I think it would be very difficult to make a solid case he is doing anything illegal. And if it ever went to trial I sure would hope that at least one redneck peer on the juror had enough common sense to refuse to convict. I am about 75 miles from him and like him our private water supply wells tend to be over 80 ft in limestone probably coming from near the North Alabama or Georga borders. Any water we dump will find its way to the gulf pretty quickly. And Mikes dump is just a little wamer than the permited and legal drinking water he is pumping.

    Frankly, I think we all need to sheath our talons and tackle some real problems. Like finding ways to to put you guys back to work full time doing affordable systems. You know it is a far different thing to add $15,000 to a 30 year mortgage on a $300.000 dollar up scale house on a $100,000 lot in an upscale neighborhood than to add 15,000 to the cost of replacing an old air cooled unit in a 30 year old neighborhood where most of the houses have garages converted to living space and is worth $75,000 or less occupied by an old couples lucky to be drawing $2,000 a month combined SS and retirement, out of which Medicare costs them $100 and does not pay much of their drugs. Do wonder they are scratching around trying to find a cheap way to lower their electric bill by drilling their own injection well or getting one of you experts to help them program the red box thermostat. I don't blame you for not wanting to spend much time with free help but they do not deserve you venting your anger on them just because you are having trouble makeing the kind of money you used to.

    I have just finished extensively remodeling 1000 sq ft and building another 1200. One of our objectives was to have the end product look in and out like it had all been done at one time to a high standard. From the comments I have gotten from people I don't even know we suceeded. Amazingly, I so upgraded the old that my 20 year 2 ton air cooled heat pump it keeping all of it comfortable even in the heat of the summer while we are figuring out the next step. Along the way I delt with a engineers, archectects, bulders, suppliers and all the trades. Nearly everyone in or near the construction business was looking for work.But some were busy. Their secret? not sure I know but many were the people I wanted to hire myself. They tended to have smaller crews (or none) and had impecable reputations and were well liked by one another.(The builder liked the electrician and the supplier - etc and they all seemed to be doing a little more for a little less. My Archetec was very busy while I fired an engineer that was not. (he wanted to charge 3 times as much and deliver an over engineered product that was very difficult to build. And he had little work). When I advertised for help, I was flooded with people but I always seemed to want to hire the ones I could not get for a week or two till they finished a job they were already one.

    From what I have learned at this forum, if I were qualified and looking for work I would consider offering to do some consulting service for Do it yourselfers. Or write a good book 'HVAC for the do it yourselfer". I useD 3 plumbing books and 2 elecrical books to help me remember things I had not used for years as well as try to be a little more up to date and saved myself a most of the high priced skilled labor. Both passed careful county inspections with only one small problem each (and I caught one mistake just before I called for inspection. And I am in a county knon for tight inpections - particularly homeowners. Anything to make a few bucks would be better for me than nothing. But that's me.

    I'll add one more log to the fire. Re workmans comp and etc etc. Around here I have found a some people have formed little LLC's. In Florida up to 3 "owners" can get an excemption certifificate. So now the homeowner hires the company and writes checks to the company and the company pays the owners. That allows the "owners" to charge a little less, write a lttle more off and still take home perhaps a little more.Of course most of the owners are one the job swinging a hammer.

    But the bottom line is pretty simple - Mike is a nice guy - recently retired - having a little health problems right now. He just meant to be helpful. I doubt what he is doing is illegal despite your research. But if it is, I think he deserves some friendly help and guidance. Aftrer all that is all he was trying to do. Frankly I have difficulty seeing much harm in 200 gallons of potable water a day being dumped this close to the gulf. It might just help push some of BP's oil balls out to sea and save some of our manaties.
    they like the warm water.


  7. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Wow Lloyd.
    I'll take these one at a time and try to be just as dispassionate as I was when responding to Mikes offering.
    1) There are people who spend whole careers worrying about water. In my area they are called the DEQ and well drillers. They make the rules that legitimate contractors have to live by. Not a driller myself, I am not schooled in all the possible maladies so I did not comment directly on drilling (the others covered that well enough). Being in code enforcement for a long time however, I am very schooled in what it can cost a homeowner that does not follow the rules. I offered the "risking contamination of an aquifer in quotes" as a hypothetical charge, not a schooled assessment of what mike was doing.

    2) I probably should subdivide your next comments but they were lumped together in your tirade. In one paragraph you suggest we "sheath our talons" and then suggest we are not working and grumpy about it. Then mention you do not blame us for not wanting to offer free help. What do you think we do here?
    Your talons need to be sheathed and my free advice (as well as Eric's and Dewayne's) is well documented with thousands of posts here and elsewhere.

    3) Once upon a time I did sub contract installations and worked 7 days a week with a helper. Some months into it (and exhausted), I let my helper go, raised my prices 20% lost some business and began making a little more money in 5 days.The self employed prefer to do less for more (doesn't everybody?).
    While some may make less money for more hours, many a low margin guy is the first out of business when there is a hic-up in cash flow and not necessarily the one you want backing your job. The question is which did you hire? The ones who charged too little to ensure they could stay in business, or the one that sensibly downsized for the times? If it is the latter, you simply assume they are making less. Those who sensibly downsize, cut overhead proportionately with lost sales keeping their pay static while their duties switch from administrative to field work (better described as doing different work for lower gross reciepts but equal or greater net pay).

    4) In your next point you did a terrific job of identifying how business people can dodge workers comp insurance while astonishingly indicating no grasp of what that means to the consumer. If one or all of your 3 partners get hurt working on your home- YOU PAY (your homeowner's insurance). Do you think a good business person has no plan to pay their hospitalizition if injured? These guys have a plan alright and you're it.

    We get that Mike is your buddy, but attacking people who freely give their time here and criticizing a well driller for caring about dringing water?!?! Really?
  8. rollandelliott

    rollandelliott New Member

    thanks Mike

    this is a great post! I love DIY people. thanks Mike.
  9. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Do tell what part of this you like?
    I am sorry I was on vacation in fla. when pjssailor posted or I would have restated "you just don't know what you don't know about aquifers" unless you have been educated. I will be happy to provide that service in regard to depletion of natural recources and cross contamination of source point aquifers. Wikipedia and 5 minutes of time would have prevented a "tirade" about health,age,and people who mean well.
  10. rollandelliott

    rollandelliott New Member

    i like diy people, just like the posts states. especially those that share their knowledge, if you disagree that is fine. this is just a forum.
  11. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I am a diy person, does that mean you like me? I also have been known to share.
  12. StevieB

    StevieB Member

    I guess I am a do-it-yourselfer. Over the years, I have been schooled in and have done many complex machining jobs. Along the way, I became a certified welder. I also received my Industrial Electricians Certificate and worked for some time in the construction trade.I got a job working at Heil Quaker and learned the HVAC industry. I finally got an EE degree and have been working for about 15 years for a large automation control company. What I am trying to say is my do it yourself attitude from my early years has put me into possession of many skills that now make me a good living. Things I don't know at first, I learn by doing twice. DIY is an industry of its own. It will around as long there is something to be done.
  13. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader


    This is just for perspective.

    A forum such as this is built on social capital. Know what you're expounding and you'll get the respect. Put your time in, and it somehow it pays off? What comes with this is a responsibilty to point out the errors or risks associated with thoughts or actions.

    A DIY can build a heat pump with car engine if they want. Those make a living doing this have to come up with a more marketable product.
  14. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    This so casually discards well articulated warnings about the "casual" well driller, it suggests indifference to all the same things as the OP.
    "Hey; what do rules and the neighbors drinking water matter to me anyway. I like DIY."

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