4 Types of Geothermal HVAC Systems

Geothermal HVAC is becoming more popular among homeowners in North Charleston, South Carolina. It’s a cleaner and more efficient form of energy. It allows for more environmentally friendly and cost-effective heating and cooling. Understanding the options for geothermal HVAC makes it easier to determine which system will work best in your home.

About Geothermal HVAC

Geothermal HVAC systems use the principles of heat transfer to provide warm and cool air to a building. The dual abilities of this type of system make geothermal energy even more appealing to homeowners. A single unit can take up less space than a central air conditioner and a furnace. Determining which system is the best option for your home depends on three factors. These include the availability of a water source, the conditions of the soil and how much rock surrounds the structure.

Geothermal loops are installed beneath the ground, allowing them to harness the heat within the earth and transfer it into the home. The four main types of geothermal HVAC systems use horizontal, vertical, pond/lake or well water loops. With a professional’s help, you can find the right option for your home.

Horizontal Loop Systems

Horizontal loop systems require more space. Therefore, you’ll need a larger lot to accommodate this option. A horizontal loop is always closed, allowing liquid to move continuously through the loop. This style of system requires at least 400-600 feet of looping space beneath the ground for every ton of cooling and heating capacity the household requires. Your HVAC service technician can perform a load value calculation to determine your heating and cooling needs before making a plan.

In a horizontal loop system, the service technician will dig trenches measuring 3 to 6 feet in depth. They will bury the loops in these trenches. Some service technicians offer a “Slinky” method of installing the pipes, which reduces the sizes of the trenches and lowers the installation costs. With this method, smaller properties might be able to accommodate horizontal loop systems.

Vertical Loop Systems

It’s common for larger buildings to use vertical loop systems, including commercial facilities and schools. This system also uses closed loops. You can install it in areas with shallow soil or to minimize the disturbance to existing landscaping.

During the installation process, a service technician will drill holes measuring about 4 inches in diameter, 20 feet apart and 100-400 feet deep. They will then place pipes that connect at the bottom with a U-bend and at the top with a horizontal piece of piping to create the closed loop. After digging the holes and installing the pipes, they will connect the loop to your building’s HVAC system.

Well-Water Loop Systems

A well-water loop system is one of the most cost-effective options for those who have wells on their properties. This style of system is generally an open loop, which has a single point of entry at one end and a discharge point at the other. HVAC service technicians installing open loop systems must follow federal restrictions and guidelines to prevent groundwater contamination.

To install a well-water loop, a service technician will place the access loop in one well, drawing water through the pipes to source the energy needed to heat and cool the home. On the opposite end of the system, a submerged discharge pipe sits in the other well, which circulates water back into the ground.

Pond/Lake Loop Systems

Pond/lake loop systems are also low-cost options for property owners with access to a pond or a lake. The system is closed, and installation requires some digging to attach the underground components to the indoor elements of the system. These aren’t as common, since many people don’t have lakes or ponds on their properties. But if you do, it’s the perfect option.

Need help finding a geothermal HVAC system for your home? Learn more about geothermal HVAC by contacting the team at Berkeley Heating and Air Conditioning at 843-277-6030. We’re here to help you choose the right system for your comfort needs.

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