Geothermal Heat Pump System Types

The following is a brief overview of geothermal heat pump systems. If you are building a home, any of these systems can be a relatively low addition to construction costs that will save you lots of money down the road.

  1. Open Water or Open Well
    These systems circulate fresh water from a nearby well through the ground source heat pump, where heat is extracted in winter (and coolness in summer). These can be cheaper than other systems, because there is no need to dig a trench. However, these can affect the groundwater temperature, so there may be government regulations concerning this.
  2. Closed Loop Pond Systems
    A system of piping circulates water or anti-freeze through a pond bottom, where water temperature remains higher than air temperature. These systems can be susceptible to ice damage, but in some areas, these are especially effective at "air conditioning."
  3. Horizontal Closed Loops
    These are buried below the frost line (the deeper the better), circulating water or (usually) anti-freeze. Piping runs parallel to the surface, so it is relatively easy to install. Horizontal systems may be the best compromise between feasibility and cost.
  4. Vertical Closed Loop Systems
    These are the highest efficiency geothermal system. A loop of piping circulates water or anti-freeze deep into the ground, where the ground is even warmer due to its proximity to the earth's core. These also have the highest initial cost, but can be well worth it, if the site has good geothermal conditions. You can learn much more about the feasibility and cost of geothermal systems by clicking on the links nearby.

If you are building a home or otherwise situated to take advantage of geothermal energy, we urge you to consult a geothermal contractor.

Read more about the benefits of geothermal.

(Images courtesy of the Canadian Renewable Energy Network, government of Canada)

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