Posted by Kitep on May 10, 2008, 11:46 pm
I've been trying to learn about various solar/alternate energy schemes. One
idea I keep coming across is burying pipes under the ground and circulating
air or water through them. Then I read on
The earth tube, or earth cooling tube, was a concept that gained popularity
for a while in the late seventies and early eighties. It consists of pipes
buried several feet below ground, where temperatures are lower. Air is drawn
into the house through the underground tubes, which allow it to be cooled
before entering. Experience has shown earth tubes to be unfeasible in North
Carolina for several reasons. The chief problem is the fact that the air
introduced through the earth tubes is typically humid, with the result being
that the occupants of the house are frequently left less comfortable than
before due to the extra humidity. In some homes, they were found to be an
entry way for insects, vermin, and sometimes water during heavy rain storms.
Additionally, the fact that earth tubes increase the possibility of exposure
to radon and other unhealthful soil gases has led to their falling into
disfavor as public awareness of the dangers of these gases has grown.
I figure the insects, vermin, and water is due to poor installation, and not
due to the actual concept. But does it really introduce more humidity and
radon or other unhealthful gases?
For myself, I like the idea of buried PVC pipe laid horizontally,
circulating air. But alas, my yard is the size of a postage stamp. So if I
do anything, it'll probably be liquid-filled vertical pipes. Would that
make any difference to the above listed problems?
Posted by Gordon on May 11, 2008, 1:50 am
I would say that your biggest problem would be water collecting at the
bottom of the tubes and blocking air flow. To combat that, I would
would design a sump at the bottom of the tubes with a way to pump
them out. I would also investigate using an air/air heat exchanger
instead of trying to directly use the air from the tubes. That would
combat most of your vermin and humidity problems.
Posted by Kitep on May 11, 2008, 4:49 am
The water collecting would be a problem. That's why I assume liquid filled
tubes would be better for vertical. I hadn't thought of the sump idea. I'm
guessing several solutions exist, I just need to figure out which would be
the best :)
Posted by Morris Dovey on May 11, 2008, 12:18 pm
I've been warned that an "open" air cooling system will, sooner or
later, become a mold source and produce an unhealthy environment. I'd
suggest doing a bit of research in this direction before doing much
DeSoto, Iowa USA
Posted by Kitep on May 11, 2008, 6:05 pm
My plans exactly. I spent last night learning about heat flow equations.
It's so much nicer to know the actual numbers instead of having to rely on
"people say...." :)