Ground Loops in Tennessee Valley, Alabama, Geothermal Applications

You’ve just gotten or are thinking about buying a a new heating and cooling system. Maybe you’re partial to the idea of a new Geothermal HVAC. If so, you very likely want to know a little more about how geothermal works.

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

Ground loops are essentially just an underground pipe system. Various basic kinds of geothermal loop systems are used for heating and cooling standard residential and commercial]26] buildings.

The way it works is, antifreeze fluid travels through the pipes to move heat quickly and efficiently to a heat pump in your home.

There are four different types of loops: Open Loop, Pond Loop, Horizontal Loop and Vertical Loop. These fall into one of two different categories: either they’re open loop systems or closed loop systems. The best system for your home is dependent on the building and the environment surrounding it. Residential systems primarily use vertical or horizontal loops.

Below are more specifics on each kind of ground loop.

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

Vertical ground loops are used commonly in residences because, unlike horizontal loops, they don’t need a significant amount of space. They’re positioned by drilling small holes in the ground to a depth of 100-400 feet. Then pipes are inserted into the holes and connected below ground to form the vertical loop. Next, extra 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 takes up a lot more space but generally costs less considering it uses 2 straight pipes set 6 inches down in the ground over an area of ¼ to ¾ acre.

If you’re partial to a pond loop system, you obviously must be near a pond, lake, pond, or well. Coils are installed vertically and
secured to the bottom of the water source. Water is then moved through more pipes beneath the earth to a pump, where the heat is withdrawn and cool water is reintroduced to the pond.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 ample source of groundwater, such as a well or pond. From there, it directly pumps water into the heat pump unit to be used in heating and cooling your house or other structure.

Used water is taken care of in one of two ways: through surface drainage or water re-injection. In returning the water back to the earth, it’s worth noting 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 you install an open loop system, it is critical to know whether a well or pond contains 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 support installing an open loop geothermal heating system.