You’ve finally gotten, or are contemplating getting, a new heating and cooling system. Maybe you’re weighing the advantages of a new Geothermal HVAC. If so, you undoubtedly want to know a bit more about how one works.
Geothermal HVACs variously cool and heat your home by extracting ground temperature. This can be done because of an underground system called a geothermal ground loop.
Ground loops are pretty much just a series of pipes buried in the earth. Various basic types of these systems are used for heating and cooling commercial or residential buildings.
The way it works is, antifreeze fluid goes through plastic pipes to transfer heat quickly and efficiently down to a heat pump in the house.
There exist four different sorts of ground loops: Open Loop, Pond Loop, Horizontal Loop, and Vertical Loop. All four are split into two distinct categories: either they’re open loop systems or closed-loop systems. The right system for you is determined by the building and the property on which it sits. Household systems mostly use vertical or horizontal loops.
Below are more specifics on each kind of ground loop.
Closed systems, which consist of vertical, horizontal, and pond loops, continuously move water through them.
Vertical ground loops are the most common type used residentially because, unlike horizontal loops, they don’t require a significant amount of space. They’re installed by drilling small-diameter holes in the ground to a depth of 100-400 feet. Then pipes are inserted into the holes and connected below the ground to form the vertical loop. Next, more pipes are attached that convey fluid to the indoor system to transfer the desired temperature from the ground.
A horizontal loop system has to have significantly more space but actually is less pricey because it just uses 2 straight pipes set 6 inches in the earth in an area of ¼ to ¾ acre.
If you’re thinking of getting a pond loop system, it should go without saying that you must be near a pond, lake, pond, or well. Coils are installed vertically and affixed to the bottom of the water source. Water is then moved through more pipes beneath the earth to a pump, where the heat is drawn out and cool water is reintroduced to the pond. That said, in order for this system to work, the water can not be acidic or else pipes will decay and filters will need to be replaced often.
The primary difference between open and closed looped systems is the open loop’s need for a plentiful source of groundwater, like a well or pond. From there, it directly pumps water into the heat pump unit for use in heating and cooling your dwelling or other structure.
There are two ways to dispose of used water: through surface drainage or water re-injection. In returning the water back to the earth, it is important to note that there is no pollution generated. The only difference in water that’s processed through a geothermal heat pump is a negligible change in temperature.
Before you install an open-loop system, it is essential to know whether a well or pond has enough water to power your geothermal heat pump and that it won’t deplete a neighbor’s well source. See that you check with your local contractor on whether there’s enough water at hand to support installing an open loop geothermal heating system.