Geothermal heating is becoming more popular with the rising costs of traditional heating methods.  It has a higher installation cost but is much more efficient than other heating systems that are available.  Another benefit of geothermal is that you do not require an auxiliary heating system for when the weather turns cold and the same system can be used for air conditioning in the summer when matched to the correct setup in your home.

There are two main methods that are used.  One is an "open loop" system, which involves a very high producing well and a submersible pump to draw from it.  This water is pumped into a unit inside the home which extracts the heat from the water and dumps the water into another well.  This system is a lower installation cost but not as efficient.  It is not commonly possible to do this type of system in our area because wells do not typically produce large volumes of water.  See the next picture for an illustration of an open loop.

The second method is what is called a "closed loop".  This is more common in our area because you do not actually use the water, just the heat exchange in the loop that is installed.  There are different ways of doing these loops such as horizontal (ground) loops, vertical (drilled hole) loops, and pond or lake loops.  The vertical loop is a more expensive installation because it involves doing vertical holes to make a closed loop and then the holes are grouted shut, but is significantly more efficient.  The grout is a special bentonite material that seals the hole to prevent contamination of the groundwater and is a special type of bentonite specifically made for geothermal installations.  The horizontal loops are almost as efficient as a vertical loop and have a slightly lower installation cost than the vertical but require more surface land area to install them.  See the next picture for an illustration of an closed loop, both vertical and horizontal.


Sizing these systems depends on the home to be installed in but is then related to the drilling depth as a number of feet of vertical hole or horizontal loop per ton of heat for a closed loop, or a flow of water per ton for an open loop.  The design of the system, that is the loop length and size of the unit to be used, will be done according to the size of the home by the installer.

If you would like more information on geothermal heating and cooling, give us a call.  We are a GeoSmart dealer and we would be happy to install one of these systems in your home.  Total system installation can be arranged for either vertical or horizontal loops and mated to hydronic (in-floor) or forced air systems.  Below is a picture of the unit that goes inside your home to do the heating or cooling.


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