Slowdown Prompts Omaha Contractor To Explore Geothermal

March 2011, Vol. 66 No. 3

“We’ve used Vermeer equipment for several years and have been very pleased with their dealer and factory support,” Schmitt says. “Our sales rep suggested we try the D20x22FX Series II flex-angle drill, a model that Vermeer developed specifically for installing ground source heat pump systems. The drill has a lot of things going for it that other conventional well drills don’t, like the capability to drill horizontally, vertically, or for that matter, any angle in between. We also saw an opportunity with the flex-angle drill that other equipment doesn’t cover specific to retrofits.”

NEBCON starting installing geothermal systems in the spring of 2010 and currently has logged more than 30 successful projects. We can drill out from a 90-degree angle and then go to a 60-, a 45- or a 30-degree angle without having to reposition the drill. The ability to lessen the footprint is a huge advantage, especially in tight, confined spaces that we often encounter in yards and such when installing residential systems,” says Schmitt.

The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) requires that vertical installations have a 15-foot separation between loops. Schmitt explains that to accomplish this using traditional well drilling equipment would require the drill rig to be physically repositioned and moved 15 feet to begin the next bore. But the flex-angle design of the D20x22FX drill allows the operator to keep the drill positioned in relatively close proximity and drill out at different angles to achieve the necessary loop separation.

“We just move the machine a little bit, actually no more than 6 feet, and we can still achieve the 15-foot separation within 20 feet down and then continue drilling out,” Schmitt says. “This is a feature that is very, very useful. The ability to change angles with minimal movement of the drill allows us to install several loops within close proximity of each other and keep our footprint much tighter. We don’t have to tear up nearly as much yard, which is a huge benefit.”

Continuous learning curve
Despite having over 30 installs under their belt, NEBCON continues to hone their ground source heat pump installation skills and learning new techniques is definitely an ongoing process. Among the most interesting has been adjusting to the difference in vertical installations versus horizontal.