Ground Loops in Western North Carolina, North Carolina, Geothermal Applications

You’ve just bought or are mulling over purchasing a a new heating and cooling system. Maybe you’re considering a new Geothermal HVAC. Whatever the case, you very likely want to know a bit more about how such a system works.

Geothermal HVACs take consistent temperature from the ground to deliver hot or cool air to your home’s interior. This can be done because of an underground system called a geothermal ground loop.

Ground loops are,in essence, just a series of pipes buried in the earth. There are several basic kinds of geothermal loop systems that can be used for heating and cooling ordinary residential and commercial]26] buildings.

It works when antifreeze fluid goes through these plastic pipes to transfer heat effectively and efficiently down to a heat pump in the building.

Typically used are four different types of geothermal 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 best system for you is dependent on the structure and the property on which it sits. Residential systems usually use vertical or horizontal loops.

Below are further explanations of each type of ground loop.

Closed systems, which include vertical, horizontal, and pond loops, continuously move water through them.

Vertical ground loops are used typically in residences because, unlike horizontal loops, they don’t take up a lot of space. They’re installed by drilling tight-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 channel fluid to the indoor system to transfer the necessary temperature from the ground.

When compared to a vertical loop system a horizontal system requires a lot more space but is generally less pricey considering it just uses 2 straight pipes inserted 6 inches down in the ground over an area of ¼ to ¾ acre.

If what you want is a pond loop system, you plainly 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 transferred through more pipes beneath the earth to a pump, where the heat is extracted and cool water is put back into the pond. However, in order for this system to work, the water must not be acidic or else pipes will erode and filters will need replacing often.

The key difference between open and closed looped systems is the open loop’s need for an adequate 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 take care of used water: through surface drainage or water re-injection. In returning the water back to the earth, it’s worth noting that there’s no pollution. The only difference in water that’s processed through a geothermal heat pump is a minute change in temperature.

Before installing an open loop system, it is essential to know whether a well or pond holds enough water to power your geothermal heat pump, and that it won’t use up a neighbor’s well source. Be sure to check with your local contractor on whether there’s enough water at hand to go ahead with installing an open loop geothermal heating system.