PC cooling using 1000 ft^2 geothermal

Are you still using heat sinks and fans to cool your computer? Lame. Tearing up your property to bury geothermal coils is definitely the way to go. [Romir] has been working on this for about a month and is just getting back data from the first multi-day tests. Take some time to dig through his original post. It includes something of a table-of-contents for the 35 updates he’s posted so far. Closed loop cooling seems to be trendy right now, we just didn’t expect to see a system this large as part of a personal project. The last one we looked at used just six meters of pipe.

33 thoughts on “PC cooling using 1000 ft^2 geothermal

  1. Now if only I had a track shovel… that’d take forever by hand out here. We’ve got 2″ of dirt then its lime stone for 20′. Pretty sweet idea though.

  2. why not use the heat to better use by storing it in a hot water tank or similar? Since your doing all that heating anyhoo!

  3. This would be much more useful as a ground source heat pump for the house’s heating and cooling. It seems like a waste to use it only for a computer.

  4. Well, while it’s a great thing, he shoudn’t have realy done it for the environment.. the emissions of the shovel would take years to compensate with a heat pump..

  5. @adamzieger
    If he has conected it to the cpu (i am assuming he has) i think his temp is flatlined, but swings with the Enviro temp more than anything. also he has not posted a cpu temp graph there

  6. This is all fine and good, but I’m not seeing a stress test graph.

    It does no good if it keeps it COLD at idle but does no better than normal watercooling at full load…

  7. I loooooooove the use of geothermal for computer cooling. when i buy a house i’m setting that up.

    Free cooling, come on.

    Of course it’ll be less efficient because of increased pumping power requirement, but at a loop that long it’s gonna stay cold for a long long time.

    The next step would be to make an underground reservoir as well. :D

  8. Pretty stupid. If he would recycle the heat or something, but I don’t see any reason why it would be necessary to destroy your backyard just to cool 1,4 kW. The bottleneck is going to be the heatsink on the CPU anyway, not to the radiator. 1,4 kW? Just regular air cooling after a primary liquid cooling cycle would do!

  9. I has always annoyed me that I’ve got to cool my server room — even in winter — but the waste heat is hard to sue for anything. This spring I plan to build a powered duct from the server room to another part of the house so at least I’m not dumping waste heat outside.

    The other one that annoys me is running my AC and Fridge with their big condenser coils throwing off large amounts of waste heat while not 50 yards away I’m running a pool heater. I’d love to extend the coolant lines the fridge to the condenser so that the condenser could be outside, and submerged in a heat transfer tank with water as it circulates through the pool filter. The same idea would hold true for the air conditioning.

    On the one hand, the pool water flowing so quickly would much more efficiently cool the condenser coil and I’ll bet the fridge would run more efficiently.

    On the other hand, the corrosive effects of the chlorine would probably play so much hell with the system as to remove all benefit.

    Frustrating problem. I just hate wasting all those BTU’s.

  10. Is it just me or is his geothermal cooling system in fact just an underground heat store that’s slowly but surely accumulating the heat it’s supposed to transfer.

    Methinks circulating the water through a conventional radiator would be more efficient and cost effective.

  11. His geothermal cooling system IS a conventional radiator. It’s simply radiating heat into solid earth instead of gaseous air. The lack of ability to circulate the medium with a fan is more than offset by the size of the radiator and medium itself. As the heat transfer efficiency gets higher, and the medium larger, the input heat becomes less significant as compared to its “temperature inertia”.

  12. @A_Blind_Man
    He’s putting the tubes 12 feet down into the ground, far enough that seasonal variability is very small, perhaps less than 10 degrees either way between winter and summer.

  13. nice claw. people in cities would require a building permit for a task like that.
    you should try to dig a hole so deep that it resurfaces elsewhere, if you just dug at the right angle away from houses, and then come back up somewhere.. if it collapeses you just built a nice drainage ditch so your house wont flood. and maybe your own grave but thats why u need a Technodrome or whatever.

  14. @osgeld

    Or, “… in testimony before a grand jury, a drug cartel informant described the cartel’s practice of “cooling my computer,” crime world jargon meaning digging huge trenches in the front yard to lay pipe to cool a gaming machine, trenches that coincidentally provide an outstanding place to dump bodies and hide large weapons caches…”

  15. @Andrew Pollack

    I’m with you. I used to live in Michigan where winters get very cold, and it annoyed me that electricity was used to create a cold spot inside my fridge, inside of a house that I used electricity to heat, in an environment that was cold.

    A truly “green” fridge would feature a couple of filtered dryer hoses that could connect to the outside world. Any time the outdoor temp was lower than the fridge thermostat setting, the fridge would circulate outside air (with dampers and a low power fan) in preference to firing up an energy-intensive compressor. Needless to say, this model of fridge would only sell in higher latitude areas.

    I now live in the desert in the Southwest. It’s retarded to pay $$$ to pump heat out of the interior of my fridge, into my living space, and then pay again to pump the heat from my living space to the outdoors. A green fridge for this area would feature a couple of hoses that would let me vent waste heat directly outdoors. (Ideally, the heat could be used to pre-heat water flowing into the hot water heater, but hey, you can’t have everything.

    Pookey

  16. And what was the overall cost of the project?
    I’m just fine with normal watercooling for PCs.

    You should rather put in efforts to find out how to cool the entire house without air conditioner or invent a new type.
    I have now a new air conditioner with inverter but it ain’t save that much of an energy.
    Basically I spend the price of the device over a summer for electricity bills :(

  17. I think its brilliant, perhaps its a bit overkill, but go big or go home!

    Seriously, if every project was designed for ‘just enough’ or ‘common sense’ then think about what we wouldn’t have. ie: pyramids, manned moon missions, dubai towers, twinkies…

  18. It would seem to me that this would be better if you used it for your home AC and heating.
    Of course it did get me thinking. I have seen some desks that used concrete for the desktop. Now if you embedded lines in the concrete you could use your entire desktop as a heatsink.
    So the longer you worked the warmer you desk would get.

  19. @pookey:

    I’ve had the same thought about the fridge, but I’m not sure that it’s actually so beneficial in the cold-climate case.

    Sure, you’re running in inefficient compressor to cool off the fridge — but the inefficiencies are also heating your house. If you use outside air to cool the fridge, your heating system would just need to pick up the slack. (I suppose this could theoretically still be a benefit if you have non-electric heating.)

    If you want a really efficient fridge, you could do what this guy did and turn a chest freezer into a refrigerator: http://mtbest.net/chest_fridge.html

  20. To each their own I guess. I could put a 1/4 mile of pipe in a loop om my property. I wished I could because, it would basically eliminate using refrigerated AC in the summer, and greatly reduce how much I have to spend to heat my home in the Winter, Here a ditch which can cut a ditch 6′ deep with no problem, no need for a backhoe. Anyway these projects aren’t about being “green”, just someone with enough money to take a hobby or passion past the extreme.

  21. Few months late to comment, but whatever.

    I could see someone rigging their loop to a full scale industrial cooling tower.

    “Hey man, I got my rig to idle at room temperature and it cost me a little less than six mil.”

  22. having followed the build from start to finnish i can tell you that it is capable of providing 1000w of cooling power at a 1degree delta and as it is buried 15′ down the soil temp never rises enough to llower this allowing the pc to run on 100% literally forever with all the components having there own block.

    1. The point of geothermal is to some day get a return on investment. I live in Charleston and due to summer loads the geos are less efficient than in colder climates running heat and require more linear feet in closed loop installations to allow efficient transfer (well on the bigger homes you can throw in extras like air cleaners, ERVs, bath fans and send off for the 30% federal tax credit and because you can apply any part of the HVAC to the total it CAN actually install cheaper than “air to “air” but that’s a big install (like 14,000 sq ft with a bunch of extras). The money stillcomes from someone you Idiot liberals! Still if this if done right, which is rare that one follows I.G.S.H.P.A. we may get close one day without the credit (like 100 years of trail for cooling at least). This is still cool to run as a test though, although I feel (without calculating myself) that what is shown above and is grossly oversized and inefficient due to pump loads and material costs. I did a loop Calc which needs to be tested for accuracy because the software is not designed for light loads but I convertex the CPUs energy to BTUs. The loop required that would retain low temps for long periods if not inevitably was so small it was worth doing for fun. I could have used thermal fused HDPE so it lasts longer but treated the ground with lime for copper. In my area, I can drill to 40′ using home water so I “headered” off 4 vertical loops at that depth after being 4 deep for a total of 160 paired ft. It’s push pull so you don’t need a big pump. Ran my i7 2600k @ 4.6 steady and cool, I ended up adding induction heat to see how much I could handle and I could have easily added 5 CPUs. I could have done a closed loop evaporative tower for lower Temps cheaper but the moral of the story is, stick a damp CPU cooler on it and quit screwing around unless your trying to learn something new…….

  23. The point of geothermal is to some day get a return on investment. I live in Charleston and due to summer loads the geos are less efficient than in colder climates running heat and require more linear feet in closed loop installations to allow efficient transfer (well on the bigger homes you can throw in extras like air cleaners, ERVs, bath fans and send off for the 30% federal tax credit and because you can apply any part of the HVAC to the total it CAN actually install cheaper than “air to “air” but that’s a big install (like 14,000 sq ft with a bunch of extras). The money stillcomes from someone you Idiot liberals! Still if this if done right, which is rare that one follows I.G.S.H.P.A. we may get close one day without the credit (like 100 years of trail for cooling at least). This is still cool to run as a test though, although I feel (without calculating myself) that what is shown above and is grossly oversized and inefficient due to pump loads and material costs. I did a loop Calc which needs to be tested for accuracy because the software is not designed for light loads but I convertex the CPUs energy to BTUs. The loop required that would retain low temps for long periods if not inevitably was so small it was worth doing for fun. I could have used thermal fused HDPE so it lasts longer but treated the ground with lime for copper. In my area, I can drill to 40′ using home water so I “headered” off 4 vertical loops at that depth after being 4 deep for a total of 160 paired ft. It’s push pull so you don’t need a big pump. Ran my i7 2600k @ 4.6 steady and cool, I ended up adding induction heat to see how much I could handle and I could have easily added 5 CPUs. I could have done a closed loop evaporative tower for lower Temps cheaper but the moral of the story is, stick a damp CPU cooler on it and quit screwing around unless your trying to learn something new…….

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