Ground Loops in Richmond, Virginia, Geothermal Applications

You’ve finally gotten, or are thinking about getting, a a new heating and cooling system. Maybe you’re considering a new Geothermal HVAC. If so, you probably want to know a little more about how one 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 sorts of these systems that can be used for heating and cooling commercial or residential buildings.

The way it works is, antifreeze fluid travels through these plastic pipes to transfer heat quickly and efficiently up to a heat pump in the building.

There exist four different kinds of geothermal ground loops: Open Loop, Pond Loop, Horizontal Loop and Vertical Loop. These are divvied up into two categories categories: either they’re open loop systems or closed loop systems. The right system for your home is dependent on the specific structure and the property on which it sits. Residential systems usually use vertical or horizontal loops.

Below are more specifics on each type of ground loop.

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

Vertical ground loops are the most common type used residentially because, unlike horizontal loops, they don’t require much of space. They’re installed by drilling tight-diameter holes in the ground to a depth of 100-400 feet. Then pipes are driven into the holes and connected below ground to form the vertical loop. Next, more pipes are attached that carry fluid to the indoor system to transfer the desired temperature from the ground.

A horizontal loop system has to have significantly more space but is generally not as pricey because it uses only 2 straight pipes set 6 inches underground over an area of ¼ to ¾ acre.

If what you want is a pond loop system, it should go without saying that you must be near a pond, lake, pond, or well. Coils are installed vertically and anchored to the bottom of the water source. Water is then conveyed through more pipes beneath the earth to a pump, where the heat is extracted and cool water is put back into the pond. Nevertheless, in order for this system to work, the water can never be be acidic or else pipes will erode and filters will need replacing often.

The big difference between open and closed looped systems is the open loop’s need for an adequate source of groundwater, a well or a pond, for instance. From there, it directly pumps water into the heat pump unit to be used in heating and cooling your house or other structure.

There are two ways to dispose of used water: through surface drainage or water re-injection. In returning the water back to the earth, it’s worth mentioning that there’s no pollution. The only difference in water that’s processed through a geothermal heat pump is a modest change in temperature.

Prior to installing an open loop system, it is critical to know whether a well or pond contains enough water to power your geothermal heat pump, and that it won’t exhaust a neighbor’s well source. See that you check with your local contractor on whether there’s enough water at hand to support installing an open loop geothermal heating system.