In winter, a Geothermal System extracts thermal energy from the ground for heating the home. During the summer, for cooling, the system removes heat from the home and transfers it into the ground. This transfer of heat energy is done through pipe buried in the ground or submerged in a pond or well. Because geothermal heat pumps get this boost from Mother Nature, they are more efficient than standard systems and can reduce environmental impact. Geothermal loop systems can be installed in a variety of configurations. Horizontally or vertically, in ground, in a pond or in a well.
Horizontal loop systems are used on larger lots. One type of horizontal loop is installed with the same drilling technology used to place cables under streets. These machines have the ability to steer the direction and depth of the drilling head so that a very precise path or target location can be attained. Once the hole is drilled, the geothermal pipe is pulled into it. This technology is great for large nicely landscaped lots because the disruption on the surface is minimized. More typically, horizontal loops are installed using a backhoe or trencher by digging several trenches, each about four to six feet deep.
On smaller lots your Bryant Geothermal dealer may recommend a vertical loop system. With a vertical loop, holes are drilled with a drilling rig similar to those used for drilling freshwater wells. Several bore holes are drilled to a specific depth, depending upon the local conditions and design. A double pipe with a u-bend at the end is inserted into each hole. The holes are then filled with grout to provide complete contact around the pipe for good heat transfer and to seal the hole to prevent surface water from getting into the aquifer.
The third type of loop system is a pond loop. A pond is an excellent source of latent energy even when covered in ice. In order for the pond to have enough thermal capacity to meet the heating and cooling requirements of an average home, the pond should be at least 10 feet deep and have a half acre or more of surface area. Larger and deeper is better. The pond water is not used directly. Rather pipe is placed at the bottom of the pond to absorb heat for heating or reject heat during cooling. A pond loop, using sever coils of pipes fabricated on land and floated into the location. As the pipe is filled with fluid, it will sink and remain on the bottom. Another type of pond loop uses plate type heat exchangers instead of polyethylene pipe. Your Bryant dealer can recommend which type of pond loop is best suited for your application. Geothermal pond loops can be a very economical solution because the only digging required is a trench from the pond to the house.
The horizontal, vertical and pond loops are known as closed-loop systems because they recirculate the same fluid through the loop. The final type of loop system uses an existing water well instead of pipe in the ground. A well water Geothermal system is an open-loop system because instead of recirculating the water, the water is simply discharged after it passes through the geothermal unit. When considering a well water system, it is important to evaluate the quality of the water, the capacity of the well and the pump and the discharge location. Not all water wells or locations are suitable for this type of system. Where an existing well can be used for a geothermal system, the installation cost is reduced because there is no need for additional trenching, drilling or pipe. Once installed, the loop system must be connected to the heat pump inside the home which could be located in a basement, closet, garage or attic. A wall penetration is made in the homes foundation to accommodate the pipes coming from the loop field. From there, the pipes are connected to the flow controller which contains the pumps used to circulate the fluid in the loop.
Geothermal loops are fabricated from a type of pipe made specifically for geothermal applications. This durable pipe is made from a special grade of polyethylene and has a life expectancy of over 100 years. And to further ensure the reliability of the loop system, all connections are made by heat fusion. The pipe and fittings are thermally welded together. These joints are designed to provide decades of leak-free operations. So once it is installed, it is basically worry-free. To ensure the system created is optimum for your home, a sophisticated software program provides your Bryant geothermal dealer with a recommended unit size and a precise loop length and flow rate required for your installation. There is no guesswork. This program also provides you with operating cost estimates for heating, cooling and hot water. Your Bryant geothermal dealer will walk you through the process start to finish to ensure that the loop system matches your needs, lot size and budget.; setting the table for the installation of a geothermal system that will affordably heat and cool your house for years to come.