If you are interested in the high level of energy efficiency that a geothermal loop can offer, you need to understand that there are four basic types of ground loops available. Here’s a look at each one and how to determine which is most likely to work best for your home.
The four types of geothermal loops include:
- Horizontal closed-loop systems: This is the most cost-effective solution for residential applications, especially in new construction projects where there is ample land with which to design the system. Trenches are dug four to six feet deep and two feet wide. Pipes are installed in the trenches, and filled with refrigerant, which transfers warm or cool air to the indoor heat pump, which circulates it throughout your home.
- Vertical closed-loop systems: This geothermal loop configuration often is often for commercial buildings and schools. It takes up less surface area, and is ideal for areas where the soil is too shallow to trench. Four-inch holes are drilled 100 to 400 feet into the earth, and an elongated U-shaped pipe is lowered into each hole. They are connected at the top with horizontal pipes placed in shallow trenches between the deep holes. The whole system connects to a heat pump inside the building.
- Pond/lake closed-loop systems: Where there is an adequate body of water on the property, you can use this low-cost option. A supply pipe runs underground from the building to the body of water, where it coils into circles that are a minimum of eight feet from the surface. The lake or pond must meet volume, depth and quality criteria to have a geothermal loop installed within it.
- Open-loop systems: A well or other type of surface water is used as the heat-exchange fluid that flows through the system. After one complete cycle, the water returns to the ground. The water source must be clean, and you’ll need to meet local codes and regulations to install an open-loop system.
For more detailed information about geothermal loops and whether one would work for your situation, contact the experts at Paschal Heat, Air, Geothermal & Generators. We proudly serve residents of Northwest Arkansas.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about geothermal and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.