Geothermal – The Basics

Looking for an efficient, cost effective, and environmentally-friendly heating/cooling system? A geothermal heat pump is the greenest way to go. Learn the facts about geothermal energy.

  • An EPA study of energy efficiency concluded geothermal energy is the most environmentally friendly heating/cooling system
  • It has been proven that geothermal energy is more efficient and cost-effective when compared with conventional residential systems
  • Geothermal energy can be found underground virtually anywhere
  • Geothermal cost savings can be increased by geothermal energy incentives, available from federal, provincial, local, and utility sources
  • Energy and cost savings of geothermal heat pumps will vary by region and type of conventional system they’re compared with. Ultimately, the energy cost of geothermal versus conventional HVAC systems will almost always be lower — and the geothermal system will be greener

Geothermal Loop Systems save you money!

At the heart of a geothermal system is the earth loop. This earth loop is the vehicle that transfers heat to or from the ground, distinguishing geothermal from conventional equipment.

Earth loops come in two basic types: closed and open. Closed loops, made of durable plastic pipe, are buried in the earth or submerged in a lake or pond, and transfer heat by circulating a solution through the system.

Open loops use ground water pumped from heat source such as a well. The decision on which loop configuration to use depends on the land terrain, the cost of trenching or drilling, the availability of quality ground water and the availability of land. This technique allows the loop to be placed underneath homes, basements, wooded lots or even swimming pools without disrupting grass or landscaping. Because water transfers heat better than soil, closed loops can be coiled and placed on the bottom of a pond or lake where it transfers heat to or from the water. A 1/2 acre, 8-foot-deep pond is usually sufficient.

Pond or lake loops often require less excavation than vertical and horizontal loops; therefore, they are often less expensive to install. Horizontal Loops are used where adequate land is available. One or more trenches are dug using a backhoe or chain trencher. Pipes are inserted and the trenches are back filled.

Vertical Loops are installed where space is limited. Holes are bored using a drilling rig, the pipe is inserted, and the holes are filled. The pipes are connected horizontally a few feet below the surface.
Horizontal Loops are often used when adequate land surface is available. Depending on geothermal system needs and space available, pipes are placed in trenches that range in length from 100 to 400 feet.
Pond Loops can be installed if an adequately sized body of water is located close to the home. A series of coils are sunk to the bottom, connected by a header with supply and return pipes leading to the home.

Open Loops are used where there is an abundant supply of quality well water. The well must have enough capacity to provide adequate flow for both domestic use and the geothermal system.