Ground Loops in Knoxville, Tennessee, 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 very likely want to know a little bit more about how one 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 kinds of ground loop systems that can be used for heating and cooling most residential and commercial buildings.

Antifreeze fluid flows through plastic pipes to get heat quickly and efficiently down to a heat pump in your house.

There are four different sorts of ground 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 determined by the specific building and the environment surrounding it. Residential systems primarily use vertical or horizontal loops.

Below are more specifics on each type of ground loop.

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

Vertical ground loops are used commonly in residences because, unlike horizontal loops, they don’t take up a significant amount of space. They’re set in place by drilling small holes in the ground to a depth of 100-400 feet. Then pipes are driven into the holes and connected below ground to form the vertical loop. Next, more pipes are attached that carry fluid to the indoor system to transfer the desired temperature from the ground.

A horizontal loop system has to have a lot more space but is usually not as expensive since it uses 2 straight pipes set 6 inches in the earth over an area of ¼ to ¾ acre.

In order to have a pond loop system, you obviously must be near a pond, lake, pond, or well. Coils are installed vertically and
secured to the bottom of the water source. Water is then transferred through more pipes belowground to a pump, where the heat is withdrawn and cool water is put back into the pond. However, in order for this system to work, the water must not be acidic or else pipes will erode and filters will have 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, such as a well or pond. From there, it directly pumps water into the heat pump unit for use in heating and cooling your house or other structure.

There are two ways to dispose 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 modest change in temperature.

Before 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 use up a neighbor’s well source. Make sure you check with your local contractor on whether there’s enough water available to go ahead with installing an open loop geothermal heating system.