This week marked the beginning of some big projects for our new home. Our well was dug and our geothermal lines were buried alongside our home. In addition, our builder continued working on the subfloor of the main level and framing the load bearing walls in the basement.
We knew our well was being dug when we looked across the road and saw the drill towering over our building site. Since I have not lived in a home with its own well in some time, I thought I should find out what components make a well. My research proved a well is not as complicated as I first thought.
A well consists of a well casing, a screen and a pump. The screen at the bottom of the shaft, filters out the rocks and sand from the water table to ensure only water enters the well. The well casing is a steel or plastic pipe that runs the length of the well shaft and prevents surface water from entering the well. You do not want surface water in your well because you don’t want to drink the contaminants that surface water may include. Finally, a submersible pump is used to pump the water out of the well and into the home.
To create the well shaft, a rotary drill is used to grind out the earth until the water table is reached. The shaft is flushed with water as the drill grinds to remove the cuttings and prevent the well from caving before the well casing is in place. This fluid is called drilling fluid. (When we visited the building site after the drill the area was a muddy mess). Once the well is drilled and the well parts are in place, then the well is developed by backwashing the well with water. Backwashing pushes water through the well in order to remove the debris left behind during construction.
Once the well is in place, a pressure tank is installed to control the pump. The pressure tank relieves stress on the pump by having the pump only run when additional water is needed.
Next, four geothermal lines were buried alongside our home. Ground temperatures are more stable than air temperatures. Therefore, the geothermal loops run into the ground to collect heat from the ground in the winter or to pull heat from the air in the summer. Residential geothermal heat pumps are rated as twice as efficient as any other way to heat or cool a home.
In addition, the government is currently offering tax incentives for ground source geothermal heat pumps. Geothermal heat pumps replace indoor furnace and outdoor air conditioning systems.
Smaller projects that were accomplished this week included the installation of the subfloor for the main level and framing the load bearing walls in the basement. The load bearing walls in the basement needed to be in place to support the trusses. Our builder even taught our boys a little about the process of attaching the subfloor to the trusses. It is neat to watch our kids’ dream of our house as the house comes together and we can start to see and touch more of our new home’s elements.
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Chris, “Residential Geothermal Heat Pump – Where does it work? – Mapawatt.” December 22, 2009, http://mapawatt.com/2009/09/22/residential-geothermal-heat-pump-where-does-it-work/ (Accessed August 7, 2011).
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