Geothermal homes sprouting up in Maine

4:57 PM, Jan 14, 2013   |    comments
Geothermal Energy
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(NEWS CENTER) -- It looks like any other house, but the work going on outside is slightly different.

Pine State Drilling of Athens drilled three 300 foot holes. Piping has been installed into which an anti-freeze will be added. When the system is completed, the anti-freeze will be pumped below ground where the earth's temperature will heat it. It will then be brought back to the house where the heat will be transferred to heat water and the house itself. The system also provides air conditioning.

"I think certain customers feel it's their responsibility to the environment togo with systems like this," Chad Grignon told News Center.

Pine State Drilling has been working on similar and larger projects for years. These were in the Midwest and Canada. They are currently working on their fifth project in Maine.

Barry Sandford, who owns the company along with his wife Rebecca, is proud to be on the cutting edge of technology.

"It's going to create jobs here in Maine when the economy comes back and the building goes on. The water well drillers will keep on going and staying busy."

It costs about fifty thousand dollars to install the system which also heats water and provides air-conditioning to the home. It's about thirty thousand dollars more than a traditional system. Once the system is installed, the owner will realize about a three thousand dollar a year savings. That means a ten-year payback on the investment.

If the cost of oil goes up, the payback will be quicker. Although geothermal is considered cutting edge, the technology has been around since Roman times. The Romans used similar technology to heat baths.

There is a slight tax benefit to investing in such a system. For a few Mainers, it is an idea whose time has come back.

This story was originally posted October 27, 2008.

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