When you invest in a geothermal system, there are several different options to choose from.
“Closed loop” geothermal heat systems circulate a carrier fluid through pipe loops (either horizontal or vertical) buried in the ground. As the fluid circulates underground it absorbs heat. In contrast, “open loop” systems do not use pipes or carrier fluid. Instead they use an existing nearby water source such as a well or pond to circulate water.
All of these options — closed loop vs. open loop, horizontal loop vs. vertical loop — can seem overwhelming! But figuring out the right geothermal system doesn’t have to be rocket science. Just make sure you consider these three factors to evaluate your site:
1) Geology If you are installing a closed loop geothermal system, the design of your loops will depend on the heat transfer rates of the soil and rocks at your site. Lots of soil may require less piping. Hard rock or hard soil may require vertical rather than horizontal ground loops.
2) Hydrology The design of your system also depends on the depth, volume, availability and water quality of your groundwater. If your property has many bodies of surface water, you may be able to install an open loop system. Even ground water can be used as a source of water for open loop systems, as long as all ground water discharge regulations are followed. Before purchasing an open-loop system, however, make sure you consult with a professional to avoid problems like aquifer depletion or groundwater contamination.
3) Land Availability Horizontal ground loops are usually used for newly constructed buildings with a lot of land available. Vertical ground loops or more compact horizontal ground loops are usually used for existing buildings because they minimize disturbance to existing sprinkler systems and landscaping.
With so many different options, geothermal heat pumps can be used as an energy source on almost any property in Northeast Ohio. For more information, contact Stack Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electric. Their trained professionals have experience evaluating the specific geological, hydrological, and spatial characteristics of all kinds of properties in the greater Cleveland area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about geothermal systems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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