The Different Types of Geothermal Loop Systems
Geothermal energy is a rapidly growing industry that is available to more homes than ever before. One of the reasons that an increasing number of homeowners are opting for geothermal systems – aside from their advantages in reliability, longevity, and energy efficiency – is that the variety of different geothermal loop systems that professionals can install means even homes with limited land can take advantage of geothermal energy.
There are five different loop systems for geothermal:
- Closed-loop systems circulate a water-based solution through a “loop system” of small-diameter underground pipes made of high-density polyethylene. They can be installed horizontally, vertically, or in a pond.
- Horizontal Loops are often used when adequate land surface is available. Depending on geothermal system needs and space available, pipes are placed in trenches that range in length from 100 to 400 feet.
- Vertical Loops are one choice for a geothermal heat pump when there is limited land surface. Well-drilling equipment is used to bore small-diameter holes from 100 to 400 feet deep.
- Pond (Lake) Loops are very economical to install when a large body of water is available for use by the geothermal heating and cooling system. Coils of pipe are simply placed on the bottom of the pond or lake to capture the geothermal energy.
- Open Loops can be the most economical type of geothermal system, in ideal conditions. These use groundwater from a well as a direct energy source. Whether the system is open or closed, heat is transferred to or from the structure, regardless of outdoor temperature, to provide year-round comfort.
How do you know which geothermal loop is best for heating and cooling your home? Our Comfort Consultant will survey your property to determine the geothermal loop installation that will deliver the most benefits and highest performance.
Geothermal Energy Efficiency
Higher efficiency means lower cost. Geothermal energy is up to 500% efficient. In other words, when you use one unit of electricity, you get up to five units back to condition the air in your home. That means that it takes less energy to keep you comfortable which saves you money. Plus, it can heat your water during the summer without additional energy usage. Since heating and cooling your home accounts for about 50% of your utility bills and water heating is another 14%, you can save big. Geothermal systems are so energy efficient that you may get your investment back in savings in as little as 5-10 years, depending upon the efficiency of the system you are replacing.
Not only is it energy efficient, but it has a longer life as well. The lifespan of a geothermal system is typically over 20 years as compared to 10 to 12 years for a traditional heating and cooling system. While a geothermal system may be up to twice the investment of a high-efficiency traditional system, you may still come out on top over time considering the 30% geothermal tax credit (available through 2019), utility rebates, and the fact that you may have to purchase two traditional systems to cover the same lifespan of a geothermal system. Geothermal is an investment that pays for itself over time.