Ground Loops in Seattle, WA, Geothermal Applications

You’ve just gotten or are mulling over purchasing a a new heating and cooling system. Maybe you’re considering a new Geothermal HVAC. Whatever the circumstances, you very likely want to know a little more about how such a system works.

Geothermal HVACs variously cool and heat your home by extracting ground temperature. This works 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 these systems that can be used for heating and cooling standard residential and commercial]26] buildings.

It works when antifreeze fluid flows through the pipes to transfer heat quickly and efficiently down to a heat pump in the house.

There are four different kinds of loops: Open Loop, Pond Loop, Horizontal Loop and Vertical Loop. All four are split into two distinct categories: either they’re open loop systems or closed loop systems. The appropriate system for your home is dependent on your building and its environment. Household systems usually use vertical or horizontal loops.

Below are additional details on each type of ground loop.

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

Vertical ground loops are used typically in residences because, unlike horizontal loops, they don’t take up much of space. They’re installed by drilling small holes in the ground that go 100-400 feet deep. Then pipes are placed into the holes and connected below the ground to form the vertical loop. Next, additional pipes are attached that carry fluid to the indoor system to transfer the needed temperature from the ground.

A horizontal system takes up much more space but is usually not as costly considering it uses only 2 straight pipes set 6 inches in the earth over an area of ¼ to ¾ acre.

If you want a pond loop system, you plainly 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 Water is then transported through more pipes belowground to a pump, where the heat is withdrawn and cool water is reintroduced to the pond. That said, in order for this system to work, the water can never be be acidic or else pipes will decay and filters will have to be replaced often.

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

Used water is disposed of in one of two ways: through surface drainage or water re-injection. In returning the water back to the earth, it’s worth noting that there’s no pollution. 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 justify installing an open loop geothermal heating system.