Horizontal Directional Drilling: The Solution For Tight Spots

geothermal englewood floridaGeothermal heating and cooling systems take advantage of the earth’s unvarying underground temperature and utilize it as a free source of heat for your home in winter or a heat sink to disperse heat extracted from your home during summer. Now, geothermal can also take advantage of new horizontal directional drilling.

A typical geothermal system includes several hundred feet of loops of plastic tubing buried underground to absorb or disperse heat. Some geothermal installations utilize deep holes bored in the ground to install the tubing loops vertically. A horizontal grid configuration, however, has traditionally been the less expensive though far more space-intensive alternative.

A drawback of the large horizontal loop field is existing obstacles like driveways, walkways, sewer pipes and buried utilities. These interfere with the excavation for a horizontal field, often making the more expensive vertical installation the only alternative.

Horizontal directional drilling, a technology developed for installing underground utilities, employs a long, flexible drill bit to bore horizontally underground beneath obstructions.  There is no surface excavation except for the entry and exit points of the drill. The drill bit is equipped with a radiosonde sensor that transmits data such as the direction and depth of the drill bit to the operator on the surface, allowing him to guide the drill underground with great accuracy. An initial small pilot hole is drilled the length of the bore path, then the bore is enlarged by successive passes with a reamer.

For a geothermal application, a number of horizontal directional bores can be made to form the lanes of the underground grid. The tubing loops are then installed in the bores. The cost of a horizontal directional drilling geothermal installation is roughly the same as a vertical installation, but it is more advantageous for areas with deep rock formations or other underground obstructions that make vertical drilling problematic.

Symbiont Services Corp. is the Florida Suncoast’s premier source for geothermal heating and cooling. Call us for more information about creative technology like horizontal directional drilling to fit clean, efficient geothermal into your life.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Symbiont Service Corp. serves Englewood, Florida and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!     

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  1. Thiago
    Posted April 3, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing this. I am very new to the drilling industry, and this has been extremely educational. Fortunately, my responsibilities don’t cover this yet, but soon they might. It’s interesting that they glossed over this in my training. Thiago

  2. Cynthia Rose
    Posted June 3, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Two of my brothers are in the oil field so they talk about this sort of thing now and again. I think that it is incredible how much more we can do now that we can drill horizontally. Hopefully it will allow us to fill more jobs as more work comes in.

  3. Keara Littner
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I find the idea of directional drilling to be pretty interesting. It would certainly make drilling in tight spots much easier to handle, since you basically have much more leeway on where to actually start drilling. I’ve never actually seen that kind of drilling in progress before, but I think it’d be pretty neat to watch.

  4. Rose Henderson
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    These drills sounds pretty amazing. I would like to see them at work sometime as they drill around obstructions. I’m sure that helps make a lot of these work much easier than it would be otherwise. It must be frustrating having to work around so many different obstacles.

  5. sean
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    The horizontal directional drilling technology seems like a very advanced system. If I understand you correctly, this type of technology would allow for deep holes with curves to be drilled with little affect on the surface ground. If that is the case it seems like it should be used often. Are the costs for using this technology particularly high?

  6. Durandana
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Hello, thank you very much for sharing this information on the advantageous of horizontal drilling, and the explanation of a typical geothermal system. Using a geothermal system can be a very effective way to heat a home. I appreciate the information you shared in your article, and for explaining the drilling process.

  7. Julie Myers
    Posted March 16, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    It sounds to me like directional boring is a really great way to install things underground. With this option available, I am sure it is really great for geothermal installation. It also seems like it would be really great for any plumbing work. Then they would be able to drill underground without too much trouble. Thanks for this great information!

  8. Angela Downer
    Posted March 17, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    I really want to get geothermal energy for my home, as I am attempting to go green with my home. Just the thought of heating and cooling my home, all by using the energy of the earth is really exciting for me. It is cool that there is now new technology that helps make this happen, and I had no idea that we could now do this with no excavation necessary. The only points that are excavated on the surface are the entry and exit points, meaning that when I get this done, I won’t tear up my lawn in the process.

  9. Davey Hiltzs
    Posted April 16, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    I really want to get geothermal for my new home that we’re building, but we need to get a price estimate. How much do you think it would cost? We’ve got a pretty good budget, but it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead.

  10. Susan Hirst
    Posted April 21, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    It certainly sounds like horizontal directional drilling is advantageous for geothermal installation. Especially when it comes to underground obstacles.

  11. Johnny Shi
    Posted May 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    It is amazing how they can use directional drilling to avoid surface excavation. It seems like a much more efficient way. I want my home to be more energy efficient but, I want the way we get there to be efficient as well. This is definitely the way. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Hazel Owens
    Posted March 11, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I always wondered how people were able to drill beneath existing structures. Horizontal drilling seems to be the answer. As you said, there only needs to be one point of surface excavation, so people can reach places underground with horizontal drilling that they couldn’t reach normally. Thanks for the information!

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