Closed loop geothermal heat pump systems take advantage of the consistent geothermal temperature to mitigate heating and cooling costs. Some geothermal heat pump systems also heat water for household use. There are two styles of closed loop systems: vertical systems that go deep into the ground; and horizontal systems that spread out wide over a larger and more shallow surface area. The topography of the surrounding terrain is generally more conducive to one type of installation or the other. Consider the topography and existing structures when planning your closed loop geothermal heat pump system. Geology, hydrology and land availability are all factors you will want to consider before digging starts. Some soil types conduct and remove heat faster, a body of water may be an efficient repository for coils, some locations do not have enough land for a horizontal configuration. Horizontal ground loops are generally the most economical to install, but may disrupt existing landscaping, sprinkler systems or other structures on the property. For this reason they are used most frequently on new construction. Vertical installations are used most often with existing structures.
The system itself is made up of high-density polyethylene pipe buried horizontally at a depth of 4 to 6 feet or vertically at 100 to 400 feet deep. After they are in place the pipes are filled with an environmentally friendly antifreeze and water solution that works as a heat exchanger. Once the pipe is in place it must be filled with the antifreeze mixture and tested for leaks, this is best done by a professional.
Install the heat pump. This should be done by a professional because there are specific requirements and standards that must be met. The pumps must be ARI certified and listed for the minimum design specifics. The maximum and minimum water temperatures should never exceed the manufacturer's guidelines. The system should be monitored for this, especially during the first year and during extreme climate conditions. The heat pump must operate within the manufacturer's standards. Most states require that these elements are professionally certified.
Connect the air delivery duct work inside the home. The duct work for a closed loop geothermal system works just like a conventional heating/cooling system with a few exceptions. Because the system starts out with a median air temperature, the box that holds the fan is sometimes called an air handler. The air handler moves house air through the heat pump for heating or cooling and contains a large blower and filter. Many states will also require that the duct work and air handler installation are professionally certified.
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