Ground Loops in Denver, Colorado, Geothermal Applications

You’ve finally gotten, or are considering getting, a a new heating and cooling system. Maybe you’re weighing the advantages of a new Geothermal HVAC. Whatever the case, you very likely want to know a bit 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 pretty much just a system of pipes buried in the ground. There are a few basic sorts of ground loop systems that can be used for heating and cooling commercial or residential buildings.

The way it works is, antifreeze fluid travels through the pipes to transfer heat quickly and efficiently to a heat pump in the house.

Typically used are four different sorts of ground loops: Open Loop, Pond Loop, Horizontal Loop and Vertical Loop. These are divvied up into two categories categories: either they’re open loop systems or closed loop systems. The right system for your house is determined by your structure and the property on which it sits. Household systems typically 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 move water through them.

Vertical ground loops are the most common type used residentially because, unlike horizontal loops, they don’t need much of space. They’re set in place by drilling tight-diameter holes in the ground to a depth of 100-400 feet. Then pipes are driven into the holes and connected under ground to form the vertical loop. Next, extra pipes are attached that convey fluid to the indoor system to transfer the necessary temperature from the ground.

A horizontal loop system has to have much more space but is actually not as expensive because it uses 2 straight pipes placed 6 inches down in the ground in an area of ¼ to ¾ acre.

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

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

There are two ways to take care of used water: through surface drainage or water re-injection. In returning the water back to the earth, it’s worth noting 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 holds enough water to power your geothermal heat pump, and that it won’t drain a neighbor’s well source. See that you check with your local contractor on whether there’s enough water on hand to go ahead with installing an open loop geothermal heating system.