Do I need separate geothermal ground loops for heating and cooling?
No, the same loop works for both. When changing from heating to cooling, or vise versa, the flow of heat is reversed by a mechanism inside the unit.
What is a closed-loop system?
The term “closed loop” is used to describe a geothermal heat pump system that uses a continuous loop of special buried plastic pipe as a heat exchanger. The pipe is connected to the indoor heat pump to form a sealed, underground loop through which water or an anti-freeze solution (if you live in colder climates) is circulated. Unlike an open-loop system that consumes water from a well, a closed-loop system recirculates its heat–transferring solution in a pressurized pipe.
Where can this loop be located?
That depends on land availability and terrain. Closed-loops are trenched horizontally in yards adjacent to the home if the yard is large enough. Or, for smaller yards, the loops can be installed vertically using a drill rig, much like a water well installation. Here is an example of a home that uses a vertical geothermal loop.
How long will the loop pipe last?
Properly installed, these pipes will last over 50 years.
Will an earth loop affect my lawn or landscape?
No, research has proven that loops have no adverse effect on grass, trees or shrubs. Most horizontal loop installations use trenches about 3 feet wide or less. This, of course, will leave temporary bare areas that can be restored with grass seed or sod. Vertical loops require less space and result in minimal lawn damage.
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I have a pond near my home. Can I put a loop in it?
Yes, if it’s deep enough and large enough. A minimum of 8-10 feet in depth at its lowest level during the year is needed for a pond to be useable. Generally, a minimum of 1/2-acre pond is required to provide adequate surface area for heat transfer.
What is an open-loop system?
The term “open loop” is commonly used to describe a geothermal heat pump system that uses groundwater from a conventional well as a heat source in winter and a heat sink in summer. The groundwater is pumped through the heat pump where heat is extracted (in winter) or rejected (in summer), then the uncontaminated water is disposed of in an appropriate manner. Since groundwater is a relatively constant temperature year-round, it is an excellent heat source/heat sink for a geothermal system.