Ground Loops in Grinnell, Iowa, Geothermal Applications

It’s time for you to get a new heating and cooling system. Maybe you’re partial to the idea of a new Geothermal HVAC. If so, you probably want to know a bit more about how one works.

Geothermal HVACs variously cool and heat your home by extracting ground temperature. This is possible because of an underground system called a geothermal ground loop.

Ground loops are,in essence, just an underground pipe system. There are various basic kinds of ground loop systems that can be used for heating and cooling commercial or residential buildings.

It works when antifreeze fluid goes through the pipes to move heat fast and efficiently down to a heat pump in the house.

There exist four different kinds of loops: Open Loop, Pond Loop, Horizontal Loop and Vertical Loop. All four fall into one of two categories: either they’re open loop systems or closed loop systems. The appropriate system for your home is determined by the specific structure 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 push water through them.

Vertical ground loops are the most common type used residentially because, unlike horizontal loops, they don’t need a lot of space. They’re installed by drilling small-diameter holes in the ground to a depth of 100-400 feet. Then pipes are inserted into the holes and connected under ground to form the vertical loop. Next, more pipes are attached that channel fluid to the indoor system to transfer the desired temperature from the ground.

When compared to a vertical loop system a horizontal system requires a lot more space but is typically less pricey considering it uses only 2 straight pipes set 6 inches in the earth over an area of ¼ to ¾ acre.

In order to make use of a pond loop system, it should go without saying that you must be near a pond, lake, pond, or well. Coils are installed vertically and attached to the bottom of the water source. Water is then transported through more pipes beneath the earth to a pump, where the heat is withdrawn and cool water is reintroduced to the pond. Still, in order for this system to work, the water must not be acidic or else pipes will corrode and filters will need replacing often.

The key difference between open and closed looped systems is the open loop’s need for an ample source of groundwater, such as a well or pond. From there, it directly pumps water into the heat pump unit for use in heating and cooling your house or other structure.

Used water is taken care of in one of two ways: through surface drainage or water re-injection. In returning the water back to the earth, it is important to note that there is no pollution generated. The only difference in water that’s processed through a geothermal heat pump is an insignificant change in temperature.

Before you install an open loop system, it is critical to know whether a well or pond has enough water to power your geothermal heat pump, and that it won’t deplete a neighbor’s well source. Make certain you check with your local contractor on whether there’s enough water in the vicinity to justify installing an open loop geothermal heating system.