Geothermal heat pumps get power from one of four different types of ground loop systems:
When enough land is available (the home or building should sit on 1/2 acre, at least), a horizontal loop is the most common type used due to lower installation costs and ease of installation. Loop installers rely on excavation equipment like backhoes, directional bore machines, or chain trenchers to dig trenches approximately 5-8 feet underground. Trench lengths usually range from 100 to 250 feet per ton. Ultimately the size of the ground loop system depends on the size of the system needed to heat and cool the structure.
If land area is limited, a vertical ground loop system will most likely be used. This method is common for existing homes or buildings, as well. To install a vertical ground loop system, a drilling rig is used to bore holes at a depth of 150 to 250 feet per ton. Then, a U-shaped coil of high density pipe is inserted into the bore hole. After the pipe goes in the ground, the holes are backfilled with a sealant.
If a significant body of water is available within 200 feet of the home, a pond ground loop system may be an option. The body of water must be ½ acre and 10 to 12-foot deep to support an average home. This type of ground loop system uses coils of pipe 300 to 500 feet long. The coils are placed in the water and anchored just above the bottom of the body of water.
If there's an abundant supply of high quality well water available, an open ground loop system is an option. Usually, a home requires a well producing 4 to 8 gallons of water per minute. An acceptable discharge area like a drainage ditch, pond, stream, river, or lake must be available. Your installer will need to make sure there are no local restrictions before selecting the discharge method.
See how the ground loop system powers the geothermal heat pump in this short video:
Geothermal heat pumps offer many benefits because they simply transfer heat and utilize a renewable resource (solar energy).
Geothermal pairs perfectly with PV solar systems. The high efficiency of a geothermal system lowers the electricity demand on a home or building.
With flexible payment options, savings on heating and cooling costs and system maintenance, and incentives, geothermal heat pumps are a viable option for most home and building owners.