Geothermal Earth Loops for Augusta County

In part three of our Introduction to Geothermal series, we are going to discuss geothermal loop systems and how each type works.

A geothermal loop is the series of underground pipes used to move heat to and from the earth. The pipes are formed out of high-density polyethylene to establish a dependable, long-lasting system. They are fastened together using thermal fusion which will develop a bond that is far stronger than the original pipe itself. In fact, a properly installed loop can remain up to 200 years.
 
There are two leading types of geothermal loop systems that are almost always used in today's installations: open loop systems and closed loop systems. Each system have different pros and cons for your heating or cooling solution. We at Birds Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. have the training and experience on both types, and we will help you by selecting the right choice for your geothermal installation.

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 Using a well, water is from an existing aquifer and relocated to the geothermal heat pump where its heat is withdrawn and the water is pumped back into the ground or to a designated runoff.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

One thing to keep in mind with an open loop system is water quality. Mineral build-up can develop from poor quality water. This can be kept under control with an occasional cleaning. If the water in the ground has greater iron content, you will need to make sure that the used water is prevented from coming in contact with air before it is returned in order to prevent clogs.
 
Closed loops are precisely as they sound. Rather than pumping water from a well and depositing it elsewhere, water is circulated in a fully sealed circuit with a small amount of environmentally-friendly antifreeze.
 
There are two primary types of closed loop installations: horizontal and vertical. Installing the system horizontally requires a good chunk of land. The piping is embedded in trenches between 4 and 6 feet deep and can be up to 400 feet long. If you reside on a smaller lot, the loops can be installed vertically by boring straight down using drilling equipment. This kind of installation can be installed in as little as a 10ft by 10ft  area.
 
In either case, the larger the building, the larger 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 Birds Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. today to learn more about what system options are available to you here in Augusta County.