Ground Loops in Boone, North Carolina, Geothermal Applications

You’ve finally gotten, or are thinking about getting, a a new heating and cooling system. Maybe you’re weighing the advantages of a new Geothermal HVAC. If so, you probably want to know a little more about how one works.

Geothermal HVACs variously cool and heat your home by extracting ground temperature. This works because of an underground system called a geothermal ground loop.

Ground loops are basically just a system of pipes buried in the ground. A few basic kinds of geothermal loop systems are used for heating and cooling commercial or residential buildings.

The way it works is, antifreeze fluid travels through the pipes to get heat quickly and efficiently up to a heat pump in the house.

There exist four different kinds of ground loops: Open Loop, Pond Loop, Horizontal Loop and Vertical Loop. All four fall into one of two categories: either they’re open loop systems or closed loop systems. The appropriate system for you is determined by the structure and its environment. Household systems usually use vertical or horizontal loops.

Below are more specifics on each sort of ground loop.

Closed systems, which encompass vertical, horizontal, and pond loops, continuously circulate water through them.

Vertical ground loops are used most often in residences because, unlike horizontal loops, they don’t have to have a lot of space. They’re positioned by drilling small-diameter holes in the ground that extend 100-400 feet deep. Then pipes are driven 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 desired temperature from the ground.

When compared to a vertical loop system a horizontal system requires significantly more space but usually costs less since it uses only 2 straight pipes set 6 inches in the ground within an area of ¼ to ¾ acre.

If you want 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 Water is then conveyed through more pipes beneath the earth to a pump, where the heat is withdrawn and cool water is reintroduced to the pond. That said, in order for this system to work, the water can in no way be be acidic or else pipes will erode and filters will need replacing often.

The prime difference between open and closed looped systems is the open loop’s need for an adequate source of groundwater, such as 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.

Generally speaking, used water is disposed off in either of the following ways: through surface drainage or water re-injection. In returning the water back to the earth, it must be pointed out that pollution is not a by-product. The only difference in water that’s processed through a geothermal heat pump is a modest change in temperature.

Before installing an open loop system, it is critical to know whether a well or pond holds enough water to power your geothermal heat pump, and that it won’t drain a neighbor’s well source. Make certain you check with your local contractor on whether there’s enough water in the vicinity to justify installing an open loop geothermal heating system.