Well Update

The Rig is down, I assume the drilling is done

Today as we left for work and school the drillers were already at the well head, hoping to finish up today.   They were at 620 feet with a flow of 5 gallons per minute.   He thought they’d probably have to go to 820 feet to get the right flow rate.   When I got home the trucks were still parked here, and the pump is still sitting on the lawn.   But the rig was down rather than up, so I’m assuming that the drilling is done.     I’m not sure — but the run off water was gone, and it appears that maybe they just need to put in the pump and get the water flowing.

Controls for the drilling rig

The installation of the heat exchange pumps will start on Monday, which will be a task.  We have to move the washer and drier so the workers can have access to the attic so they can install the duct work and air forcer.  The actual pumps will be in the basement by the well entrance, and the heat or AC will be piped to the attic, then sent around the house.

Given all the wild weather and indications of global warming in recent years, I do think it’s prudent to do what we can to decrease our carbon footprint.   There is still a lot of skepticism of global warming in the US, but the general view internationally (even in China now) and among climate change scientists is that the evidence suggests a strong likelihood the CO2 is a human cause of warming and it could be devastating for the world economy and humans.

To be sure, the skeptics have plausible alternative theories and there is no proof either way.   If one has already decided pro or con, it’s often unlikely that evidence will change their mind — interpretations can be twisted and different bits of evidence focused upon.   To me, though, just the strong possibility that we’re harming future generations with our energy usage and green house gas emissions is enough to suggest I do something to change my habits.   There is no down side except a large initial investment, and the up sides include less vulnerability to oil price increases, cheaper energy long term, and having a cool bit of technology in the house.   Assuming, of course, it works as it’s supposed to!   So stay tuned for further updates!

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  1. #1 by pino on June 4, 2011 - 22:45

    Given all the wild weather and indications of global warming in recent years, I do think it’s prudent to do what we can to decrease our carbon footprint.

    Have you tried to determine the “CO2 period of return”?

    That is, you exert a certain amount of CO2 in order to make money. You can figure out a CO2 per $ value. THEN you have to count that CO2 against the price of the installation. Further, you have to figure out the amount of CO2 it required to install the system from the perspective of the vendors. That truck look big. Really big. How much CO2 was released just to dig the well?

    But whatever, I’m not an alarmist, so I’m not looking to flame.

    On the other hand, I’m REALLY interested to know about the financial break even point. Would be really cool to know if you make money off this thing.

  2. #2 by Scott Erb on June 4, 2011 - 22:59

    The trucks are big, but in the grand scheme of things driving twenty miles each way doesn’t burn that much excess (and at least they kept the trucks parked here). Compared to the hundreds of gallons of fuel oil each year, I’m sure sometime early in the first winter we’ll past the installation costs. (We use probably between 800 and 900 gallons of fuel oil a year; this should dramatically reduce it, we’re hoping down to about 100 gallons,) Otherwise it’ll be the electricity used produced via natural gas to run the well and heat exchange pumps. They’re pretty efficient, I hear. I’ll keep track, a lot of people around here are very curious. I do know a physics professor here with a loop system who seems very satisfied. We’re doing a standing column well, so I may try to make some comparisons. Financial break even will, of course, depend on oil prices. At some level it’s also insurance against a worst case scenario. I don’t think fuel oil will be $10 a barrel in the next five years, but it might. I’m insuring myself against the direct economic impact of such an event by purchasing something that will likely pay off between eight and 15 years. Given the level of uncertainty in the Mideast I think that’s a reasonable price.

    • #3 by pino on June 5, 2011 - 16:14

      The trucks are big, but in the grand scheme of things driving twenty miles each way doesn’t burn that much excess (and at least they kept the trucks parked here). Compared to the hundreds of gallons of fuel oil each year, I’m sure sometime early in the first winter we’ll past the installation costs. (We use probably between 800 and 900 gallons of fuel oil a year; this should dramatically reduce it, we’re hoping down to about 100 gallons,)

      Fair enough.

      I’m insuring myself against the direct economic impact of such an event by purchasing something that will likely pay off between eight and 15 years. Given the level of uncertainty in the Mideast I think that’s a reasonable price.

      Another good point. Insurance is a product worth buying on it’s own merit-even if we never get all of our money back.

      Even if one were unconvinced on global warming, I think it’s undeniable that we pay for oil use to large degree in American blood spilled in middle east. This is worth doing for that alone.

      Totally agree! Anytime we can trade an expensive unstable product for a less expensive stable one, we should!

  3. #4 by brucetheeconomist on June 5, 2011 - 04:55

    So will water be pumped out of the well and used to extract or add latent heat and pumped back??

    Good to put your money where your mouth is.

    • #5 by Scott Erb on June 5, 2011 - 07:11

      Yes, that’s how it works. The water gets pumped back so we don’t deplete the water table. I’m still not sure of all the practical implications of the new system, but will blog about its strengths and weaknesses!

  4. #6 by brucetheeconomist on June 5, 2011 - 04:57

    Even if one were unconvinced on global warming, I think it’s undeniable that we pay for oil use to large degree in American blood spilled in middle east. This is worth doing for that alone.

  5. #7 by renaissanceguy on June 8, 2011 - 14:17

    I agree that it is a very wise thing to do, no matter what.

    I find it funny that you are working out a system to heat your house and also concerned about Global Warming. If the earth really does warm up, then heating our homes won’t be as much of a problem or an expense.

    • #8 by Scott Erb on June 8, 2011 - 14:23

      Global warming actually is only an increase in the average temperature of the planet (something that has been undeniably happening in the past fifty years — in direct correlation with CO2 levels, interestingly). However, locally there will still be winters and summers, and the average for the planet isn’t spread out evenly. AIf, for instance, the gulf stream slows in the Northeast due to melting polar ice caps, then where I live might actually be colder, even if the planet as a whole is warmer. There is, of course, a lot of uncertainty which is why there is a lot of controversy. But even if there were a significant increase in the average in the next ten years — 2 or 3 degrees — that still wouldn’t make Maine winters warm!

  6. #9 by renaissanceguy on June 8, 2011 - 14:28

    Scott, I know. It was a lame joke.

    If Global Warming were happening, it would be nice if it could happen in the northern regions only.

    • #10 by Scott Erb on June 8, 2011 - 14:43

      I remember in Minnesota a comic back in the 90s when global warming was a relatively new topic, said, “heck here in Minnesota we want global warming — we’ve got our aerosol cans out and are spraying them at the sky!”

      OK, he’d mixed up global warming and the ozone hole, but it was still funny.

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