A Geothermal Heat pump is an electrically powered system that taps the stored energy from the earth. These systems are Energy Efficient, Cost Effective, Reliable, Quiet, Safe, Clean, and Environmentally Friendly.
Geothermal heat pumps, commonly referred to as Ground-source heat pumps use the earth's constant temperature to provide heating, cooling, and hot water for homes and commercial buildings.
There are four basic configurations a geothermal system can take: Horizontal Loops, Vertical Loops, Pond/Lake Loops, and Well Water Systems.
Depending on system configuration, ground source heat pump systems last upwards of 30 years.
Geothermal heat pumps are a highly efficient renewable energy technology that is gaining wide acceptance for both residential and commercial applications.
The greatest advantage of these systems is that they work by concentrating naturally existing heat, rather than producing heat through combustion of fossil fuels. Installing a Geothermal system not only saves you money on your energy bills, but it also contributes to the efforts of reducing our overall fossil fuel consumption.
Horizontal Ground Loop
This type of design is cost effective on smaller projects or where there is sufficient space for the loop. Trenches, four to seven feet deep, are created and a series of parallel plastic pipes are laid inside of them.
These loops are manifolded and connected to the heat pump. The fluid is then circulated, absorbing or rejecting heat to the earth depending on the mode of operation. A typical horizontal loop will be 400 to 600 feet long for each ton of heating and cooling but will vary according to the soil type and the layout of the piping.
Vertical Ground Loop
This type is used mainly in commercial buildings where space is limited. Vertical holes 150 to 400 feet deep are drilled in the ground, and a single loop of pipe with a U-tube at the bottom is installed.
The borehole is then sealed with grout to ensure good contact with the soil. The vertical ground loops are then connected to a horizontal underground header pipe that carried fluid to the unit.
The earth's temperature is more stable farther below the surface which is an advantage for the system. Vertical ground loop fields may be located under the house and garden lots. The life expectancy is in excess of 50 years.
Pond / Lake Loop
This type of design is economical when a project is located near a body of water. Fluid circulates through polyethylene piping in a closed system, just as it does through ground loops but in this case underwater.
The pipes may be coiled in a slinky to fit more surfaces into a given amount of space. The lake needs to be a minimum size and depth depending on the load. Lake loops have no adverse impact on the aquatic system.
Well Water System
This type of design is only possible if there is sufficient ground water available in a well, lake or river in the area. The water must be of good quality.
Local codes may limit the use of this system in certain areas. The system is open which means that water is pumped directly into the geothermal unit and then discharged either into a return well or a body of water. The water quality remains unaffected.