Ground Loops in Georgetown County, South Carolina, Geothermal Applications

You’ve finally gotten, or are contemplating getting, a a new heating and cooling system. Maybe you’re weighing the advantages of a new Geothermal HVAC. Whatever the case, you probably want to know a little bit more about how geothermal 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 an underground pipe system. There are a few basic sorts of geothermal loop systems that can be used for heating and cooling commercial or residential buildings.

The way it works is, antifreeze fluid goes through plastic pipes to get heat fast and efficiently to a heat pump in the building.

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 right system for your home is determined by the specific structure and the property on which it sits. Home systems primarily use vertical or horizontal loops.

Below are further explanations of each kind of ground loop.

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

Vertical ground loops are used most often in residences because, unlike horizontal loops, they don’t have to have a significant amount of space. They’re positioned by drilling small-diameter holes in the ground that extend 100-400 feet deep. Then pipes are driven into the holes and connected under ground to form the vertical loop. Next, additional pipes are attached that convey fluid to the indoor system to transfer the needed temperature from the ground.

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

In order to have a pond loop system, it should be evident that you must be near a pond, lake, pond, or well. Coils are installed vertically and fastened to the bottom of the water source. Water is then transferred through more pipes beneath the earth to a pump, where the heat is extracted and cool water is put back into the pond. However, in order for this system to work, the water can never be 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, like 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.

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 must be noted that pollution is not a by-product. The only difference in water that’s processed through a geothermal heat pump is a negligible change in temperature.

Prior to installing an open loop system, it is vital to know whether a well or pond has 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 in the vicinity to support installing an open loop geothermal heating system.