Ground Loops in Wilmington, North Carolina, Geothermal Applications

You’ve finally gotten, or are thinking about getting, a a new heating and cooling system. Maybe you’re weighing the advantages of a new Geothermal HVAC. If so, you undoubtedly 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 works because of an underground system called a geothermal ground loop.

Ground loops are essentially just a system of pipes buried in the ground. There are various basic types of these systems that can be used for heating and cooling common residential and commercial]26] buildings.

It works when antifreeze fluid travels through these plastic pipes to move heat quickly and efficiently down to a heat pump in your house.

Typically used are 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 appropriate system for you is dependent on the specific structure and the property on which it sits. Home systems mostly 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 circulate water through them.

Vertical ground loops are used typically in residences because, unlike horizontal loops, they don’t take up a significant amount of space. They’re installed by drilling tight-diameter holes in the ground to a depth of 100-400 feet. Then pipes are inserted into the holes and connected under ground to form the vertical loop. Next, extra pipes are attached that convey fluid to the indoor system to transfer the necessary temperature from the ground.

A horizontal loop system has to have significantly more space but is typically not as expensive considering it uses only 2 straight pipes set 6 inches in the earth in an area of ¼ to ¾ acre.

In order to install a pond loop system, you obviously must be close to a pond, lake, pond, or well. Coils are installed vertically and fastened 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 reintroduced to the pond. That said, in order for this system to work, the water must not be acidic or else pipes will corrode and filters will need replacing often.

The prime 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 example. From there, it directly pumps water into the heat pump unit to be used in heating and cooling your home or other structure.

There are two ways to take care of used water: through surface drainage or water re-injection. In returning the water back to the earth, it must be said that pollution is not a by-product. The only difference in water that’s processed through a geothermal heat pump is an insignificant change in temperature.

Before you install 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 deplete a neighbor’s well source. Make sure you check with your local contractor on whether there’s enough water at hand to warrant installing an open loop geothermal heating system.