Ground Loops in Northern Virginia, VA, Geothermal Applications

You’ve just gotten or are looking into buying a a new heating and cooling system. Maybe you’re considering a new Geothermal HVAC. If so, you undoubtedly want to know a little 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,in essence, just an underground pipe system. Several basic sorts of these systems are used for heating and cooling typical residential and commercial]26] buildings.

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

Typically used are four different kinds of loops: Open Loop, Pond Loop, Horizontal Loop and Vertical Loop. These fall into one of two different categories: either they’re open loop systems or closed loop systems. The best system for your house is determined by your building and its surroundings. Residential systems usually use vertical or horizontal loops.

Below are more specifics on each type of ground loop.

Closed systems, which consist of 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 much of space. They’re set in place by drilling small-diameter holes in the ground that extend 100-400 feet deep. Then pipes are placed into the holes and connected below the ground to form the vertical loop. Next, more pipes are attached that channel fluid to the indoor system to transfer the needed temperature from the ground.

A horizontal loop system has to have much more space but usually costs less because it uses 2 straight pipes placed 6 inches down in the ground in an area of ¼ to ¾ acre.

In order to have a pond loop system, you obviously must be close to a pond, lake, pond, or well. Coils are installed vertically and affixed 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 Water is then transported through more pipes belowground to a pump, where the heat is withdrawn and cool water is put back into the pond. However, in order for this system to work, the water must not be acidic or else pipes will corrode and filters will need to be replaced often.

The major difference between open and closed looped systems is the open loop’s need for an ample 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.

Typically, used water is disposed off in either of the following ways: 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 a slight change in temperature.

Prior to installing 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. Be sure to check with your local contractor on whether there’s enough water at hand to justify installing an open loop geothermal heating system.