LESLIE: Randy in Oregon is looking to go green and thinking about geothermal heating and cooling. What can we do for you?
RANDY: Well, years and years ago, I had seen a house down in the central valley of California and it was like 110 outside; it was like 72 degrees inside the guy’s house. I said, "How do you do this?" He took me out and showed me that he had dug a trench about 8 feet deep, 18 inches wide and 72 feet long, if I remember right.
RANDY: And it had a little upright that came up with a little top-hat rain cover and some screening in it and he’d run that into his central air conditioning system or his central heating system and with just the blower fan on it and it kept it amazingly cool.
TOM: Yeah. Was he running water through those pipes or was that a – because it sounds like it was sort of a do-it-yourself geothermal system.
RANDY: He did it all himself.
TOM: Yeah, well, he was a man before his time because now we have much more sophisticated systems that use the same principle which is, essentially, to take the constant temperature of the Earth and both heat and cool your house based on that; and a bit of a refrigeration technology behind it.
And geothermal is an excellent technology. If you’re in an area that doesn’t have access to natural gas, I think it’s an excellent way to heat your house and, certainly, it’s always been a great way to cool your house.
RANDY: Oh, so I could take – like my house now, we have central heat but no air conditioning at all, so it would be a viable solution that I could go out and dig a trench and throw in a corrugated pipe in the ground and plumb it up? You know, here in Oregon, we don’t need air conditioning but about two weeks out of the year. (chuckles)
TOM: Well, I mean you sound like a very industrious guy, Randy. You certainly could try it yourself but my point is that we’ve got very sophisticated tried-and-true systems called geothermal cooling systems that work very, very well. You may want to think about buying a system that’s already manufactured and then installing it yourself, as opposed to sort of recreating the entire thing.
Randy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.