Ground Loops in Rochester, Indiana, 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. Whatever the circumstances, you probably want to know a bit more about how geothermal works.

Geothermal HVACs variously cool and heat your home by extracting ground temperature. This can be done because of an underground system called a geothermal ground loop.

Ground loops are basically just a series of pipes buried in the earth. There are various basic types of these systems that can be used for heating and cooling most residential and commercial buildings.

Antifreeze fluid flows through these plastic pipes to transfer heat fast and efficiently up to a heat pump in your house.

There are four different types of ground loops: Open Loop, Pond Loop, Horizontal Loop and Vertical Loop. All four fall into one of two categories: either they’re open loop systems or closed loop systems. The appropriate system for you is determined by your structure and the property on which it sits. Residential systems primarily use vertical or horizontal loops.

Below are additional details on each kind of ground loop.

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

Vertical ground loops are the most common type used residentially because, unlike horizontal loops, they don’t need a significant amount of space. They’re set in place by drilling small holes in the ground to a depth of 100-400 feet. Then pipes are driven into the holes and connected below the ground to form the vertical loop. Next, additional pipes are attached that convey fluid to the indoor system to transfer the necessary temperature from the ground.

A horizontal system takes up much more space but usually doesn’t cost as much considering it just uses 2 straight pipes inserted 6 inches down in the ground over an area of ¼ to ¾ acre.

If you want a pond loop system, you plainly must be close to a pond, lake, pond, or well. Coils are installed vertically and
secured to the bottom of the water source. Water is then transported 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 can not be acidic or else pipes will corrode and filters will need replacing often.

The key difference between open and closed looped systems is the open loop’s need for a sufficient 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.

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 mentioning that there’s no pollution. The only difference in water that’s processed through a geothermal heat pump is a minor change in temperature.

Before you install an open loop system, it is essential to know whether a well or pond has enough water to power your geothermal heat pump, and that it won’t drain a neighbor’s well source. See that you check with your local contractor on whether there’s enough water on hand to warrant installing an open loop geothermal heating system.