Ground Loops in Lansing, Michigan, Geothermal Applications

You need 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 little bit more about how one works.

Geothermal HVACs take consistent temperature from the ground to put hot or cool air into your home. This works because of an underground system called a geothermal ground loop.

Ground loops are pretty much just a series of pipes buried in the earth. There are several basic kinds of these systems that can be used for heating and cooling most residential and commercial buildings.

Antifreeze fluid goes through the pipes to move heat fast and efficiently to a heat pump in your home.

Typically used are four different types 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 best system for you is dependent on the specific building and its environment. Residential systems usually use vertical or horizontal loops.

Below are further explanations of each kind of ground loop.

Closed systems, which encompass vertical, horizontal, and pond loops, continuously push water through them.

Vertical ground loops are used most often in residences because, unlike horizontal loops, they don’t have to have much of space. They’re installed by drilling small holes in the ground that go 100-400 feet deep. Then pipes are driven into the holes and connected below ground to form the vertical loop. Next, additional pipes are attached that channel fluid to the indoor system to transfer the desired temperature from the ground.

A horizontal system takes up a lot more space but usually doesn’t cost as much since it just uses 2 straight pipes placed 6 inches down in the ground in an area of ¼ to ¾ acre.

If you want a pond loop system, it should be evident that you 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 Water is then transferred through more pipes beneath the earth to a pump, where the heat is withdrawn and cool water is put back into the pond. Nevertheless, in order for this system to work, the water must not be acidic or else pipes will corrode and filters will need to be replaced often.

The primary 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 dwelling or other structure.

Generally speaking, used water is taken care off in either of these 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 a modest change in temperature.

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