What To Expect In A Geothermal Installation
December 21, 2011Keywords Meta-Tag
While the initial investment in a geothermal heat pump is greater than natural-gas or a central unit, the overall savings of operating and maintenance costs can be up to 30%-60%. After deciding to purchase a geothermal heat pump is not the time to try a do-it yourself project, however. Professional installation is available and will include determining the location of the system along with work by a technician inside and outside the home.
A geothermal heat pump system includes a ground heat exchanger that is comprised of an open or closed loop pipe system. The most economical and, thus, common is the closed loop system, which is high density polyethylene pipe that is buried vertically between depths of 100 to 400 feet or horizontally at 4 to 6 feet deep. The pipes are filled with solution of antifreeze and water, which is environmentally friendly and acts as a heat exchanger. The fluid flows through the pipes in the house taking heat from the soil in the winter and returning heat to the earth in the summer.
Relatively constant ground temperatures throughout the country are hospitable to geothermal heat pumps. Yet, determining where the GHP will be placed on a specific property has certain factors to be considered including the geological, hydrological and spatial makeup.
The properties and composition of the rock and soil can affect heat transfer rates and must be considered when determining how much piping should be used and whether to install a vertical or horizontal loop. Other issues such as the layout of landscaping and ground utilities dictate the type needed. Water availability (ground or surface) also comes into play in that decision. Factors like depth, volume and water quality will help determine whether to go with a closed-loop or open-loop system.
Installation will also take place in the home as the air handler is secured into place by technicians. After installation, it is best to inform the homeowner's insurance provider of the new system as most geothermal heat pump systems are covered on many standard policies.