Geothermal Earth Loops for West Branch

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 formed out of high-density polyethylene to ensure a durable, long-lasting system. They are joined together using thermal fusion that will create a bond that is much stronger than the original pipe itself. In fact, a properly installed loop can last 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 unique pros and cons for your heating or cooling solution. We at Nicholson Heating & Cooling have the training and expertise on both types, and we will help you by selecting the right choice for your geothermal installation.

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 Using a well, water is from an existing aquifer and transferred to the geothermal heat pump where its heat is withdrawn and the water is pushed back into the ground or to an assigned runoff.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

One consideration to watch out for with an open loop system is water quality. Mineral build-up can arise 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 may want to make sure that the used water is kept away from air before it is returned in order to prevent clogs.
 
Closed loops are exactly as they sound. Instead of 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. Putting in 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 type 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 Nicholson Heating & Cooling today to find out what system choices are available to you here in West Branch.