Up to half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. While changing air filters regularly, installing programmable thermostats, sealing your ducts, or replacing your windows or adding insulation is an excellent start to an energy efficient home, replacing your traditional heating or cooling unit with a Geothermal system will boost your efficiency rating significantly. While fossil fuel furnaces can be up to 98% efficient, geothermal heat pumps are over 300-500% efficient.
This type of system typically uses well water as the heat exchange fluid that circulates directly through the geothermal heat pump system. Once it has distributed through the system, the water returns to the earth through, a recharge well, or surface discharge. This option is most practical when there is an adequate supply of clean water and all local codes and regulations regarding groundwater discharge are met.
Most closed-loop geothermal heat pumps pass a 20% methonal or glycol and water solution through a closed loop that is buried in the earth or immersed in water. A heat exchanger transmits heat between the refrigerator in the heat pump and the antifreeze solution in the closed loop. The loop can be in a horizontal, vertical, or pond/lake pattern.
A horizontal ground loop is installed over approximately a quarter acre of land and buried approximately six to eight feet deep depending on the soil conditions. This design is a good choice if you have the required amount of open space for installing the loops.
A vertical ground loop is installed in holes drilled deep into the earth, usually one hundred to three hundred feet deep. Vertical ground loops are suitable for situations in which there is little ground area available for the loop installation.
Lake or Pond Loop
If a residence or commercial building is close to a body of water, this type of geothermal loop design may be the most economical. With this design, the fluid travels through piping in a closed system just as it goes in the ground loops. This system is preferred if the body of water is at least half an acre and a minimum of eight feet deep