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Heating and Cooling Using the Earth: Geothermal HVAC

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This blog post will cover installation of the geothermal heating and cooling system we installed in the EverLife Design home.

Geothermal heating and cooling is a method that has been around for several decades, but has only recently gained popularity for its energy efficiency properties and reduced use of natural resources. In extremely abbreviated terms, geothermal units recruit the earth’s base temperature of about 55 degrees through continuous closed-circuit piping, called “loops,” that are filled with a solution of water and antifreeze. The solution is then pumped into a heat pump that recruits the BTUs from that consistent 55-degree temperature. The heat pump then either “flash heats” and distributes the heated air through the ductwork in the house for heating purposes, or distributes the 55-degree air for cooling.

The loops may be installed vertically or horizontally, depending on the site conditions. Our loops are installed vertically, so a drilling rig, the same as used for drilling wells, is used for the four wells needed for our home. The depth of the wells for our loops is 210 feet.

Here, the loops are being installed into the wells that were drilled. The loops are wrapped around a 20-foot long rebar that is 1½ inches in diameter to act as a weight to guide the loops straight down the well.

After the loops are in place, the extra piping is left above ground for the HVAC contractor.

The HVAC contractor excavates 5 feet in a central location to the loops, where the loops are connected to a header that feeds the loops into the home. All the lines are tied to the main header.

The completed header with all loops attached.

The lines that have been attached to the header are now ready to be trenched from the header to the home.

The loops are tied into the home.

This is the heat pump. Note the loops to the left that enter a white box that acts as a pump that moves the solution through the system. There is no outside A/C condenser unit for the geothermal system.

 

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