Ground Loops in Central Virginia, Virginia, Geothermal Applications

It’s time for you to get a new heating and cooling system. Maybe you’re partial to the idea of a new Geothermal HVAC. If so, you probably want to know a little more about how such a system 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 pretty much just a series of pipes buried in the earth. There are several basic types of geothermal loop systems that can be used for heating and cooling commercial or residential buildings.

The way it works is, antifreeze fluid flows through these plastic pipes to move heat quickly and efficiently down to a heat pump in the house.

There exist four different types of geothermal ground 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 appropriate system for you is contingent on the specific structure and its environment. Residential systems typically use vertical or horizontal loops.

Below are further explanations of each type of ground loop.

Closed systems, which consist of vertical, horizontal, and pond loops, continuously move water through them.

Vertical ground loops are the most common type used residentially because, unlike horizontal loops, they don’t need a lot of space. They’re set in place by drilling small holes in the ground to a depth of 100-400 feet. Then pipes are driven into the holes and connected under ground to form the vertical loop. Next, extra pipes are attached that channel fluid to the indoor system to transfer the desired temperature from the ground.

When compared to a vertical loop system a horizontal system requires a lot more space but is typically not as pricey because it uses 2 straight pipes placed 6 inches underground in an area of ¼ to ¾ acre.

If you want a pond loop system, it should be evident that you must be in close proximity to a pond, lake, pond, or well. Coils are installed vertically and
secured to the bottom of the water source. Water is then transported through more pipes underground to a pump, where the heat is extracted and cool water is reintroduced to the pond. That said, in order for this system to work, the water must not be acidic or else pipes will decay and filters will need to be replaced often.

The essential difference between open and closed looped systems is the open loop’s need for a sufficient source of groundwater, like a well or pond. From there, it directly pumps water into the heat pump unit for use in heating and cooling your house or other structure.

Typically, used water is disposed off in either of the following ways: through surface drainage or water re-injection. In returning the water back to the earth, it is crucial to note that there is no pollution generated. The only difference in water that’s processed through a geothermal heat pump is a slight change in temperature.

Prior to installing an open loop system, it is critical to know whether a well or pond has enough water to power your geothermal heat pump, and that it won’t deplete a neighbor’s well source. See that you check with your local contractor on whether there’s enough water in the vicinity to go ahead with installing an open loop geothermal heating system.