Geothermal Loops

Written by Courtney Salinas
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Geothermal systems draw on heat stored in the Earth, heat that the soil absorbed from the sun. To access that heat, geothermal installation experts drill holes into the ground and insert pipes. The pipes are then filled with water or an anti-freeze type fluid. The fluid is run through the pipes in the ground, where it collects heat from the soil and returns to the building where the heat is dispersed. These pipes are called geothermal loops.

Most geothermal loops are closed loop systems, where the fluid continuously runs on a loop through the system. Sometimes open loop systems are used, where water from a below or above ground source is pulled into the system and deposited back out into the source when it has cycled through the system.

Loop Configuration

There are three different geothermal loop configurations: horizontal loops, vertical loops, and pond loops. Horizontal loops run parallel to the ground. They are used where adequate land is available and when longer lengths of pipe need to be laid. Vertical Loops run perpendicular to the ground and are almost always used in neighborhood settings where large land surface isn't available. If a body of water is near the building or residence, geothermal loops can be placed under the body of water. This is a very efficient manner of heat collection.

What to Do Before Installing

Before installing geothermal loops, it is important to understand the land around you. If there are any aquifers under or around your home, you will need to carefully investigate the possible consequences of a geothermal energy system. Make sure the company you pick to install your geothermal energy system is very experienced with this type of energy and has properly researched the hydrology of the area around your home.

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