Types Of Geothermal Heating & Cooling

 A geothermal heat pump sources heat from the underground or water bodies and transfer it indoors to heat your house. These pumps although quite expensive to install can make huge difference in your energy saving initiatives. They can cutdownthe power bill for running HVAC at the end of each month by half. There are a few types of heat pumps. Installing these depends on variety of factors such as -weather conditions, soil conditions, area available for the system.Let’s take a look at the types of geothermal heat pump system

 The closed system- In closed systems there are three loops. The two of these are buried in the ground and the other one exchanges heat with the loops that bring it from the ground. A geothermal pump circulates a mixture of water and anti-freezing solution through plastic tubing buried in the ground.The job of this fluid is to absorb heat from the round. The heat collected by the fluid is exchanged with the refrigerant in the pump through a heat exchanger. Closed loop systems can be of three types - vertical, horizontal and pond/lake types.

 • Vertical system: Being vertical in structure these systems occupy less space than their horizontal counterpart. Vertical loops are used in multi-storey buildings and large commercial areas and public spaces. This is because the surrounding spaces around such buildings are quite limited. Vertical loops are are also suitable in areas where soil is shallow for trenching. Placing these loops would create minimal disturbances. Holes of roughly, four inches in diameter are drilled at a distance of 20 feet from each other. The holes are 100 to 400 feet deep. The two pipes are inserted in the holes and are connected at the bottom with a U-bend to form a loop. Installing them will cost much more than horizontal systems.

• Horizontal system: The installation of these loops would need sufficient space around the building. They occupy more space width-wise but require less digging of the ground. They are more suitable for suburban installation. In case of new residential construction which will have plenty of surrounding space these types of heat pumps are quite suited. It requires trenches that are approximately 4 feet deep. Usually two pipes are buried one at six feet, and the other at four feet. They can also be placed adjacent to each other at five feet in the ground in two-foot wide trenches.

 • Pond or lake system: For this type of GHP, there should be a source of water near the building in form of pond, lake etc. There will be an underground pipe that will run from the building to the water body. These pipes look like concentric coils and goes 8-feet under the surface. However the water source should meet the criteria of minimum volume, depth, and quality for installation.

 Open loop system: An open loop system would need a constant flow of clean water. This water is harnessed to absorb heat from below the earth. The water circulates directly through the GHP system to exchange heat with refrigerant. After the circulation, the water returns to the ground through the well, a recharge well, or surface discharge. These pumps can be installed in places where there is supply of enough clean water and local codes of ground water discharge are met.

Direct exchange: This system has a single loop that contains the refrigerant which is in direct contact with the ground.This system does not use a heat exchanger. The refrigerant is pumped through copper tubing that is buried in the ground in a horizontal or vertical configuration. These are most suited for moist soil and needs big compressors. If the soil is corrosive for copper tube then this kind of installation should be stayed away from. As the refrigerant is being circulated through the ground, there may be environmental regulations in many areas which will prohibit such installations.

 Hybrid: This was invented in in Restock, Germany. It used only combination renewable energy sources. The pump combines the mechanisms of air and geothermal system in one compact device. It is integrated with two evaporators — an outside air evaporator and a brine evaporator. The unit automatically selects the most efficient operating mode — air or geothermal heat, or both together.


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