Whether you call the system a Geothermal Heat Pump, Ground Source Heat Pump, Ground Coupled Heat Pump, or a GeoExchange Heat Pump, it is a heat pump that utilizes the stored energy in the best solar collector on the market – THE EARTH!
Geothermal provides heating, cooling, and hot water for homes, churches, schools, municipal buildings, and commercial buildings. They are also used in other applications such as radiant floor heat, pool heaters and ice melts. Geothermal systems transfer heat from the earth to the building in the wintertime and from the building to the earth in the summertime.
HOW IT WORKS
A few feet below the earth surface, the ground temperature remains at a constant temperature (roughly 55°F in our part of the country). Geothermal systems take advantage of these constant temperatures by providing extremely efficient heating and cooling. By circulating water though a geothermal loop field, heat is transferred into the ground or out of the ground depending on the time of year.
CLOSED LOOP SYSTEMS
These systems use water and an antifreeze solution circulated through a closed-loop system of pipes buried in the earth commonly referred to as a loop field. The solution acts as a medium for heat transfer. These loops are heat fused at the joints and pressurized ensuring years of trouble free operation. The loop field is what sets these systems apart from conventional heating and cooling equipment.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) geothermal systems are, “the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost effective space conditioning systems available today.”
GEOTHERMAL LOOP SYSTEMS WE INSTALL
There are three different loop field configurations: vertical, horizontal, and pond loops.The main selection criteria for these loop fields are:
Lot constraints, Future land needs/uses, and Upfront expense.
This is the most common loop field that we install. We can install a vertical loop field on virtually any lot. We drill/bore a 4.5” — 5” hole to 150-300’ deep (based on lot constraints and building loads), insert a pre-manufactured u-bend loop, and grout from the bottom to the top. We then dig the loops up at approximately 4’ deep, manifold the loops together and bring them to the building on a set of supply and return lines. When we are done there is nothing left above grade.
This is the second most common loop field that we install. We can put these in with a chain trencher or with a track excavator. These systems work if you have a large area of ground to work with (approximately 70’ x 300’ for the average home). A good example of where these system work well are a field next to your house or building.
These systems work great if you have a pond or a lake within 300’ of your home or building that is a minimum of 10-15’ deep in the driest time of the year.