In part three of our Introduction to Geothermal series, we are going to talk about geothermal loop systems and how each type works
A geothermal loop is the series of underground pipes used to transfer heat to and from the earth. These pipes are made out of high-density polyethylene to ensure a reliable, long-lasting system. They are joined together using thermal fusion that will create a bond that is much stronger than the original pipe itself. In fact, a properly installed loop can survive up to 200 years.
There are two main types of geothermal loop systems that are mostly used in today's installs: open loop systems and closed loop systems. Both systems have distinct pros and cons for your heating or cooling solution. We at Sobieski Services Inc. have the knowledge and experience on both types, and we will help you by determining the best option for your geothermal installation.
Open loop geothermal solutions are designed to utilize the natural groundwater from under your home. Using a well, water is pulled from an existing aquifer and relocated to the geothermal heat pump where its heat is extracted and the water is pumped back into the ground or to a designated runoff. Since the water that you are using is not being treated in any way, the only thing that is being returned to the ground is water that is slightly warmer or cooler (depending whether you're in heating or cooling mode).
One consideration to watch out for with an open loop system is water quality. Mineral build-up can occur from poor quality water. This can be remedied with an occasional cleaning. If the water in the ground has higher iron content, you may want to make sure that the discharge water is kept away from air before it is returned to prevent clogs.
Closed loops are just as they sound. Instead of pumping water from a well and depositing it elsewhere, water is circulated in a completely sealed circuit with a small amount of environmentally-friendly antifreeze.
There are two main types of closed loop installations: horizontal and vertical. Installing the system horizontally requires a decent amount of property. The piping is buried in trenches between 4 and 6 feet deep and can be up to 400 feet long. If you live on a smaller lot, the loops can be installed vertically by boring straight down using drilling equipment. This category of installation can be installed in as little as a 10ft by 10ft area.
In either case, the bigger the building, the bigger the geothermal heat pump and loop needs to be. A good estimate is that for every ton of system capacity, you will need 500 to 600 feet of pipe.
Contact Sobieski Services Inc.
today to find out what system options are available to you here in Wilmington.