Ground Loops in Columbus, Ohio, Geothermal Applications

You’ve just gotten or are mulling over buying a a new heating and cooling system. Maybe you’re considering a new Geothermal HVAC. If so, you very likely want to know a little more about how such a system works.

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

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

Antifreeze fluid goes through these plastic pipes to move heat quickly and efficiently down to a heat pump in your home.

There exist four different types of loops: Open Loop, Pond Loop, Horizontal Loop and Vertical Loop. All four are split into two distinct categories: either they’re open loop systems or closed loop systems. The appropriate system for you is dependent on your building and the property on which it sits. Residential systems mostly 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 circulate water through them.

Vertical ground loops are used typically in residences because, unlike horizontal loops, they don’t take up a significant amount of space. They’re installed by drilling small holes in the ground that go 100-400 feet deep. Then pipes are placed 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 typically doesn’t cost as much considering it uses 2 straight pipes placed 6 inches underground within an area of ¼ to ¾ acre.

If you’re partial to a pond loop system, you plainly must be in close proximity to a pond, lake, pond, or well. Coils are installed vertically and fastened to the bottom of the water source. Water is then moved through more pipes underground to a pump, where the heat is withdrawn and cool water is returned to the pond. That said, in order for this system to work, the water can in no way be be acidic or else pipes will erode and filters will need replacing often.

The prime difference between open and closed looped systems is the open loop’s need for an adequate source of groundwater, a well or a pond, for instance. From there, it directly pumps water into the heat pump unit to be used in heating and cooling your home 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 must be noted that there’s no pollution. The only difference in water that’s processed through a geothermal heat pump is a minor change in temperature.

Prior to installing an open loop system, it is vital to know whether a well or pond contains enough water to power your geothermal heat pump, and that it won’t drain a neighbor’s well source. Make sure you check with your local contractor on whether there’s enough water available to support installing an open loop geothermal heating system.