Geothermal heat pumps can be one of the most energy-efficient ways to heat and cool a Metro-East home. They work by utilizing the soil temperature deep underground, which remains at a constant temperature year ’round — a temperature that is warmer than the outside air during the winter and cooler during the summer.
By circulating water through underground pipe loops, a geothermal heat pump can take advantage of this temperature difference, minimizing the amount of energy it has to use to heat or cool the house through conventional methods.
There are different types of geothermal pipe loop systems available. Each one can be the best option for some installations, depending on the situation.
Horizontal loops, as the name suggests, are installed horizontally under the ground at a depth of 4-6 feet. They are often the most cost-effective option, but they do require more land area, and you’ll have to dig up more of the yard. Because of this, they are usually the best option if your home:
- is new construction
- has no existing landscaping that may be disturbed by digging
- has a large yard
Vertical loops, on the other hand, are installed by drilling deep holes (100-400 feet deep) and sinking the loops of pipe vertically into the holes. Drilling such holes can be expensive, but they take up less ground space and have less of an impact on the surface. Vertical loops may be preferred if:
- there is not enough land area for a horizontal loop
- there is existing landscaping that you do not want to disturb
There are two other installation options that may work in certain situations: lake loops and open loops. Each requires less digging or drilling. Lake loops are placed underwater, at the bottom of a lake or pond, while open loops utilize the natural flow of groundwater at the underground part of the loop. Of course, this is only possible if you have a lake nearby or a sufficient water table.
For an expert’s opinion on which geothermal installation to use, contact us at Ernst Heating & Cooling. We would be happy to answer whatever questions you may have.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information, click here to download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.