Geothermal Earth Loops for Rochester

In part three of our Introduction to Geothermal series, we are going to talk about geothermal loop systems and how each type works.

A geothermal loop is the series of underground pipes used to transfer heat to and from the earth. These pipes are made out of high-density polyethylene to create a dependable, long-lasting system. They are adhered together by the process of thermal fusion that will produce a bond that is far stronger than the original pipe itself. In fact, a properly installed loop can remain up to 200 years.
 
There are two main types of geothermal loop systems that are almost always used in today's installations: open loop systems and closed loop systems. Both systems have different pros and cons for your heating or cooling solution. We at Gast Heating & Cooling Inc. have the training and expertise on both types, and we will help you by determining the best choice for your geothermal installation.

Open loop geothermal solutions are designed to utilize the natural groundwater from beneath your home. Using a well, water is from an existing aquifer and transferred to the geothermal heat pump where its heat is withdrawn and the water is pumped back into the ground or to an assigned runoff. Since the water that you are using is not being altered in any way, the only thing that is being returned to the ground is water that is just a little warmer or cooler (depending whether you're in heating or cooling mode).

One consideration to keep in mind with an open loop system is water quality. Mineral build-up can happen from poor quality water. This can be kept under control with an occasional cleaning. If the water in the ground has higher iron content, you will need to make sure that the used water is prevented from coming in contact with air before it is returned to prevent clogs.
 
Closed loops are exactly as they sound. Rather than pumping water from a well and depositing it elsewhere, water is circulated in a fully sealed circuit with a small amount of earth friendly antifreeze.
 
There are two main types of closed loop installations: horizontal and vertical. Installing the system horizontally requires a good chunk of land. The piping is buried in trenches between 4 and 6 feet deep and can be up to 400 feet long. If you live on a smaller lot, the loops can be installed vertically by boring straight down using drilling equipment. This sort of installation can be installed in as little as a 10ft by 10ft  area.
 
In either case, the bigger the building, the bigger the geothermal heat pump and loop needs to be. A good estimate is that for every ton of system capacity, you will need 500 to 600 feet of pipe.
 
Contact Gast Heating & Cooling Inc. today to find out what system options are available to you here in Rochester.