Waterless™ Geothermal gets installed in historic Breakers Mansion

| October 17, 2018

When the historic Breakers Mansion needed to solve their humidity issues, they choose Waterless™ Geothermal, a direct exchange geothermal technology, because of the ultimate efficiency the system offers. Lawrence Air Systems Inc., a WaterlessTM Geothermal dealer was selected to renovate the heating and cooling system for the mansion built in 1893 by Cornelius Vanderbilt II!

Breakers Mansion gets Waterless™ GeothermalThe 125-year-old Breakers Mansion has never before had an air conditioning unit. But, it was becoming an issue, not only for the hundreds of thousands of guests who visit every year, but also for the precious artifacts, furniture, moldings, and carpentry work. People were fainting upstairs and furniture was at risk of splitting and breaking because of fluctuating humidity levels.

To solve this problem, Lawrence Air designed an eco-friendly Waterless™ Geothermal system and installed it at the Breakers, utilizing existing ductwork to make the system work throughout the 70-room mansion. By using the original ductwork, the process was not invasive at all, protecting the old structure from extensive rebuilding.

Because direct exchange geothermal technology offers superior humidity removal over a conventional air conditioning system the system is able to maintain consistent low humidity levels throughout the mansion, it was the perfect solution. Now, the architecture and historical furnishings will be able to be preserved as they continue to be admired by visitors all over the county.

As an added bonus, the system has cut energy costs in half!

All-in-all, the benefits of choosing Waterless™ Geothermal for this project include:

  • Cost Savings – 100% heating and cooling capacities
  • Quiet and Reliable – no outdoor fan and no unsightly outdoor equipment setting around the house
  • Fewer Parts – it’s the simplest system in the world without water-based pumps and parts
  • Quality – made to be reliable and efficient for a long life and fewer maintenance costs
  • Decreased Environmental Footprint – uses the power of the earth, not natural gas or oil and other fossil fuel resources
  • Minimally Invasive Installation Options – installed under the yard with no equipment visible and utilizes existing ductwork to avoid major cost
  • Ultimate Comfort and Humidity Control – unrivaled humidity removal process and improved indoor air quality
  • Preserves the Historic Architecture


This project involved digging 75 wells in the lawn of the mansion and then installing copper tubing 100 feet under the surface. The copper tubing takes advantage of the nearly constant ground 55-degree ground temperature found deep below the surface. The conductive properties of copper is superior in achieving the optimum heat transfer of the earth’s heat energy absorbed by the sun. An environmentally-friendly refrigerant flows throughout the system for ultimate efficiency.

The copper tubing is then run into the home and through a heat exchanger. During the winter, the system pulls warmth out of the ground and sends it into the mansion. In the summer, the process is reversed and it pulls the warm air out of the mansion and releases into the ground, which drops both the humidity and temperature to a comfortable level.

This project received press coverage, including a feature in This Old House, because of its scope and importance to the historic preservation of Newport County in Rhode Island. Read the full news story about the historic Breakers Mansion here.


Learn the most common geothermal design and installation errors that have led to customer complaints. When you know what to look out for, you can make sure you get the most efficient system that will save you serious money.

Find Out