Heat Exchangers: Drilling vs. Trenching

Discussion in 'Geothermal Loops' started by de_nogent, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. de_nogent

    de_nogent New Member

    Heat Exchangers: Drilling vs. Trenching

    In your opinion:

    Which is most efficient?

    What are the equipment and installation costs?

    What are the pros and cons?

    I would appreciate any resources on this information. Comments, questions, suggestions?


  2. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    1) neither is more efficient than the other if designed and installed correctly.

    2)this really depends on what your site is like and what equipment you have available.

    We have done jobs where drilling was the only option, where drilling cost less than horizontal, and where drilling made no sense at all as the cost of horizontal was much less.

    3) vertical
    less space needed.
    cons: might cost more

    pros: might cost less
    cons: takes more space.
  3. waterpirate

    waterpirate Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I would add that a "good" geo driller with adequate equipment is much harder to find than a "good" horizontal installer. That does nothing to address the install cost of either method.
    As far as equipment goes getting a solid geo rig on the road and working with all the support eqipment can easily go over 1 mil new. Drill rigs are leased not rented and do not come with operators.
    A horizontal can be installed with a back hoe or trencher your brother in law borrowed from work depending on soil type. Back hoe, track hoe, trencher, can usually be rented by the day and it is much easier to find a good operator that will lend a hand.
    The real efficiency comes from the design work that has little to do with the install as long as the plan is followed, either can be botched horribly and yield poor results.
    Hope this helps
  4. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Well said , Eric.
  5. teetech

    teetech Member Forum Leader

    I'll second that!
    Kudos to both of your replies.
    That question is asked a lot and a hate when someone says vertical is more efficient.
    It only serves to muddy the waters and confuse prospective Geo owners.
  6. de_nogent

    de_nogent New Member

    Thanks, everyone, for the help!

    I'm interested in learning more about the drilling method and borehole heat exchangers (i.e. compact directional drill) as it minimizes property damage and requires less land area and labor. The drilling labor may be more expensive, but I imagine there is less liability and clean up costs. Surely drilling would be a more time-efficient process as well.

    Would you agree with these statements? Am I right, or am I wrong?
  7. TieInMaster

    TieInMaster New Member

    I install both vertical and horz loops. I do not drill however I have helped when needed.

    They both are efficient.

    Sadly I have seen a lot more corners cut on the drilling side grouting and hole depth being the biggest.

    The loop is sized for your house weather is drilling or trenching does not matter.

    We have done verticals for houses to condos to hospitals. Same as trenching or lake loops.

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