In short, geothermal is using the earth’s energy to heat and cool you home. We like to humorously refer to it as “heating and cooling with dirt”.
Geothermal is considered to be the top of the line when it comes to green energy. It saves more energy than any other heating or cooling system available in the world. Additionally, it can save you up to half of your current heating and cooling costs.
There are really two types of horizantal loop systems.
The horizontal slinky system is a good option for new construction or retrofit if you have enough land and you don’t mind doing a little landscape work. The horizontal loop system consists of several hundred feet of pipe that is commonly placed in slinky fashion in ditches. The ditches are typically three feet wide, six feet deep and 160 feet in length. This is a moderate cost option because it includes the cost of an excavator for the digging.
Horizontal boring is also a moderate cost system. With this type of system, it takes at least a full year to achieve full efficiency from the loops because the soil must collapse against the pipe. This system is extremely good for wooded areas that are not condusive for an excavator or drilling rig.
-The vertical loop system is good for the home owner who has a limited lot size or does not want to disturb a larger area of his/her property for a horizontal system. Vertical boring can be done on extremely small lots. The vertical loop system is drilled 150-175 feet deep per ton of geothermal. Pipe is then inserted into these drilled holes and sealed with a grout.
-As far as efficiency between the horizontal or vertical boring, they are the same- one is not better than another.
Pond loop systems are the second most efficient of the four options. The loops are placed in mat-fashion and are sunk to the bottom of a pond. One note on this system is that the pond must be able to freeze over in the winter. This allows the water to hold a more constant temperature, thus creating a very efficient loop system. With a pond loop you typically need the pond to be at least one third of an acre and eight to ten feet deep. It should be no more than two hundred feet from the house. This system requires minimal digging.
The Open Loop System, depending on the water quality and amount, is typically the most efficient. Because of the constant water temperature, up to 10,000 BTU more can be added to the system’s output. This type of system consists of a well water system where well water is run directly through the unit. The water needs to be tested to make sure that it meets the unit criteria for the manufacturer’s specifications. In an open loop system the water from the well is run through the unit and returned back into the same well, another well or directed into a ditch.