Geothermal Earth Loops for Rochester

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

A geothermal loop is the series of underground pipes used to transfer heat to and from the earth. These pipes are made out of high-density polyethylene to ensure a reliable, long-lasting system. They are fastened together by the process of thermal fusion which will create a bond that is far stronger than the original pipe itself. In fact, a properly installed loop can survive up to 200 years.
 
There are two main types of geothermal loop systems that are mostly used in today's installations: open loop systems and closed loop systems. Each system have distinct pros and cons for your heating or cooling solution. We at Van Hee Mechanical have the knowledge and expertise on both types, and we will guide you step by step in the process of selecting the right option for your geothermal installation.

Open loop geothermal solutions are designed to utilize the natural groundwater from below your home. Using a well, water is pulled from an existing aquifer and moved to the geothermal heat pump where its heat is taken out and the water is pushed back into the ground or to an assigned runoff. Since the water that you are using is not being treated in any way, the only thing that is being returned to the ground is water that is slightly warmer or cooler (depending whether you're in heating or cooling mode).

One consideration to watch out for with an open loop system is water quality. Mineral build-up can manifest from poor quality water. This can be attended to with an occasional cleaning. If the water in the earth has higher iron content, you may want 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 just as they sound. Instead of pumping water from a well and depositing it elsewhere, water is circulated in a fully sealed circuit with a small amount of earth friendly antifreeze.
 
There are two main types of closed loop installations: horizontal and vertical. Installing the system horizontally needs a decent amount of property. The piping is buried in trenches between 4 and 6 feet deep and can be up to 400 feet long. If you live on a smaller lot, the loops can be installed vertically by boring straight down using drilling equipment. This category of installation can be installed in as little as a 10ft by 10ft  area.
 
In either case, the bigger the building, the bigger the geothermal heat pump and loop needs to be. A good ball park figure is that for every ton of system capacity, you will need 500 to 600 feet of pipe.
 
Contact Van Hee Mechanical today to learn more about what system choices are available to you here in Rochester.