Does Anyone Drill Their Own Wells For Geothermal?
Does Anyone Drill Their Own Wells For Geothermal?
Funny you should ask.
Some contractors do, but it is a rare bird. Geothermal heatpumps are a marriage between two very technical trades, hvac and the ghex. One trade cannot exist without the other and a company that can do both well is rare.
The rub here is that for the majority of hvac geothermal pro's, what they really do not know about the ghex would scare you into not going green. but I digress.
IMHO you are better off getting involved with a ghex that does it well and leave that to them, just as the ghex constructors leave the manual J,and d to the hvac trade.
Waterpirate, The Problem Is That There Is A Well Driller In My Area That Thinks He Can Install Geothermals Without An HVAC Contractor. What They Do Is Bid Drilling Your Well, And Then Tell The Owner On The Side That They Can Do It Cheaper, And Not To Use You Just Get Them Instead. It Is Not Something That I Particularly Care For. We Have Looked Into Doing Well Rehab For Other Parts Of Our Business, And I Found Out That The Equipment Required To Rehab Along With Most Techniques, Happen To Cross Over To Drilling Wells. For Example, You Can Get A Drilling Rig Slightly Larger Than A Service Truck That Drills 300 To 450 Feet Deep, At All Angles. One Man Operation, Mud And/Or Air Rotary, With DTH Hammer. Makes Fast, Easy Holes. Insert Pipes After Fusion, And Grout. Of Course I Simplified The Process A Bit, But The Basic Thing Is That It Isn't Rocket Science, Just Requires Some Brains And Brawn.
That is a interesting take on the proccess. I will respond that it is very dificult to clean up a dirty pool. I.E. trades working in other trades without the correct lisences or depth of experiance.
I would also say that a proccess allways looks easy from the other side of the fence. You offer an explanation of drilling that is the same as my saying " all I have to do is go down to the supply house, let them do the manual J, install a $hit load of flex duct and hook it up to the package unit in the basement.
There is a reason that liscenses are so hard to get and usually require an aprentice period under a master. Practice makes perfect and even then there is no gaurantee.
It is hard to tollerate unfair jack legg practices but eventually it will bite them in the a$$ and they will suffer the burden.
As to the rig you looked at that did mud+air+DTH. A machine that will do multiple functions will not do any one function really well, and drilling solo is the best way I know to get yourself really hurt. I am not trying to discourage you from your aspirations, but if I buy a van with some gas and a set of gauges I am no compressor side hvac tech.
Yes I Do Understand That Nothing Is As Easy As It Seems. There Are Many Things To Go Wrong, But As They Say, No Risk No Reward. I Would First Hire The Licensed And Experienced Driller, Procure The Equipment, Then Apprentice To Him, Then Get NGWA Certified. I Would Primarly Use The Compact Equipment To Drill Geo Wells, And Some Rehab/Redrilling Work. I Already Do Some Of The Work Such As Sizing The Systems, Piping Them, Pulling And Setting Pumps, Ect. The Downside To Licensing Is That Even Though Someone Is Licensed, That Is No Guarantee That They Will Do Acceptable Work. Some Of The Drillers In My Area Are Only Good At Drilling. They Try To Put Pumps On Poly Pipe Over 600 Feet Deep,(160 PSI At That!) No Cable Guards, No Tape On The Wire, undersized Tanks, Ect. One Guy Around Even Uses Black Steel Instead Of Stainless Or Brass. The Same Guy Just Hammers The Old Pump Down The Hole If He Drops One, And Sets The New One On Top. Never Records Any Info On The Pump, Or Depths, If Changing The Switch Doesn't Work He Just Pulls The Pump. It Has Come Back To Bite Him, But People Keep Calling Him Because He Is The Cheapest Guy Around. Sometimes He Won't Answer The Phone Or Even Show Up When He Says He Will.
That is how things get started usually. I need a quality product to support my business and can not get it, guess I will go looping!
I would not bother with the NGWA, it is a dinosaur orginasation hanging on by here fingernails and not recognised by commercial engineers or local inspectors. IGSHPA is the standard on certs, and recognised nationallly by everyone.
The biggest problem with finding a good driller, either for you to hire or to train you is that the good ones are allways busy and well paid. Very rarely do you find a good driller who is also a good looper, they are really to different types of drilling.
Drilling water wells takes a lot of skill, patience, and experiance. Drilling loops demands speed, efficiency, and nerves of steel. Drilling loops is not the noble art of water well drilling, it is full on production drilling.
Dewyne Dean of Pallace Geothermal, Geodean on here and elsewhere is a Hvac owner who could not get his drilling done and he 4 years ago purchased a rig, trained his guys and went drilling. He would be a valuble resource for you to talk to about what it took for him to transition into the other trade. He like I does residential and commercial.
I have been in the drilling business for all my life. I wish drilling was as easy as buying a service truck sized rig that does mud,air, and dth then just go punching holes in the ground. I am not trying to discourage you either, but don't dive into the pool until you know how deep it is first.
As a geo contractor we do our own loops and do them well but if it's boring or drilling no way, that's when we let the pros do their thing and we do ours. I have zero plans to do anything beyond ground loops in trenchs that we or the homeowner dig. And even on that end we always subcontract the digging no plans to get that equipment. It down the road in 5-10 years if geo is still doing well after tax credits then maybe.
Mr. Sky, I See That You Use Hyperloops. How Well Do They Work For You? Also Have You Ever Used Rehau Helix Probes?
Hyperloops are working well so far. I have yet to find a US distributor that can get a Helix and there is not much information on them. I know they have a test house in Wisconsin too.
Approx how deep and how many feet of hyperloop per ton is required? For a small lot is it a better choice than drilling?
The best GSHX that you can install is the cheapest one for your OA that works on the peice of dirt where you are standing. Unless the lot is to small, a horizontal, vortizontal, or hyper loop, should be cheaper to construct and install than doing air rotary rock drilling. YMMV
Mr. Waterpirate, you are indeed correct. My dilemma is that I have a small lot, and drilling below 20' is prohibited. I am wondering if I have enough space to use helix probes or hyperloops