What is GeoThermal heating and cooling?
What are open and closed loop?
What is the difference between vertical and horizontal?
What is the initial investment?
What are the cost savings?
How much space does it require?
What happens if we go vertical and they hit water?
How much tax credit is available to me?
Geothermal Heating and Cooling
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) geothermal systems are, "the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems available today." Extremely high levels of efficiency are possible because a geothermal heat pump only uses electricity to move heat, not produce it. A geothermal unit typically supplies 4 to 5 kilowatts of heat for every kilowatt of electricity used. Three to four of these kilowatts of heat come directly from the earth itself, and are clean, free and renewable. The other kilowatt is used to power the compressor, fan, and controls. Geothermal heat pumps also take advantage of the mild ground temperature for extremely high efficiency cooling. Most systems also include a hot water generator, which diverts a portion of the supplied heat to the domestic water heaters. This provides a substantial portion of a family's hot water needs at a very low cost. Overall, geothermal technology offers the highest cooling and heating efficiencies of any system available today.
Geothermal systems transfer heat from your home to the earth in the cooling mode, or from the earth to your home in the heating mode. Water is used as the heat transfer medium through a closed loop piping system buried in the ground. By using this stable thermal source, geothermal heat pumps provide energy efficient comfort year around with a factory-tested and sealed packaged unit, and without the need for a noisy outdoor fan, or a flue.
The environment advantages of geothermal systems have caught the eye of governmental agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE). Because geothermal technology is lowest in CO2 emissions, it provides a solution to global warming by primarily using the natural energy of the earth.
Open and Closed Loop Systems
Closed loop systems are more common and require less maintenance over time. Closed loop systems use a network of buried high-density polyethylene (plastic) pipe, circulating a water/antifreeze solution from the ground to the heat pump. These systems are sealed and pressured, and thus recirculate the fluid in a "closed" state. All connections are heat fused, which is a welding process, whereby the pipe and fitting are heated up to the melting point, around 500F. Once cooled, the joint is strong than the pipe itself. Properly installed, loop piping will last more than 50 years!
The term "Open-Loop" is commonly used to describe a geothermal heat pump system that uses groundwater from a conventional well. The groundwater is pumped through the heat pump. Then the water is removed and discharged into a leeching bed, return well, lake, river or stream.
Vertical and Horizontal Differences
Vertical Closed Loops are constituted by drilling vertically into the earth and running two HDPE plastic pipes in parallel with a U-bend at the bottom into the holes. These holes should not be closer then 10 feet and 180 feet of Bore Hole per ton of Heat Pump should be drilled. Once the pipes are installed, a special mixture of bentonite grout is pumped down the hole to insure good Heat Transfer from the surrounding material.
Exmaple: A 3000 sq. ft. home well insulated would need a 5 Ton Heat Pump. Five holes 180 ft. deep or three holes 300 ft. deep, (900 ft.), of drilling, and 1800 ft. of plastic pipe is needed. Each set of pipes is connected in a trench 5 ft. deep to a Header with one supply and return line to the Heat Pump.
Horizontal: High Density Polyethylene, HDPE, Plastic Pipe is buried in trenches 5 to 6 feet deep. Generally, 500 ft. of plastic pipe is used for every Ton of Heat Pump installed.
Normally, there are two or three trenches, minimum 10’ apart, with plastic pipe running up and down either side of the trench, minimum 2 1/2’ wide. The two or three sets of runs are socket fused into a header arrangement and just two pipes, a return & a supply line go into the house and Heat Pump. 500 ft. is needed to line 250 ft. of trench, two pipes per trench.
Example: A 3000 sq. ft. home reasonably well insulated would normally require a 5 Ton Heat Pump. A 5 Ton unit requires 2500 ft. of plastic pipe in 1250 ft. of trenching plus pipe and trenching for the header.
It is difficult to determine what your initial investment will be. There are many different data that needs to be collected before even a rough estimate can be given. Some of these will include the size of your home, how much land you have available, is vertical drilling going to be required, is this new construction or existing, is the area where your furnace finished or not, and many other things are needed. The best thing is to call us and let us give you a free quote. You can call us at (630) 428-3948.
An average-sized home converted to a geothermal system from oil or electricity will cut heating and cooling costs by about 70%. If propane heating is replaced with a geothermal system, the savings are even better, at approximately 80%. Over the long-term, with rising energy prices, your investment in geothermal gets better and better. And because a geothermal system doesn't burn natural gas, propane or fuel oil, homeowners are impacted less by skyrocketing costs of fossil fuels.
Most of the concerning space will be your lot size. This really will be one of the main determining factors when deciding if horizontal or vertical looping will be used.
Unless you have a fairly larged sized parcel of land, vertical looping may be the best option for you. If this is the case, what will need to take place is a boring company (no, this is not the opposite of exciting) to come in to drill the vertical (or in some cases diagonal holes to be used for the tubing. You don't need to worry about who to use, we at Advanced Climate Control Co will arrange everything that is needed to get the job done right the first time.
Vertical boring is very similar to well drilling, in that as the drill goes the hole sleeves are added. When water gaps are hit, the sleeves go right through them. When the grout is added, the tubis is protected.
Currently the tax credit available on a Geothermal heating and cooling system are tremendous.
RESIDENTIAL RENEWABLE ENERGY TAX CREDITS
Consumers who install solar energy systems (including solar water heating and solar electric systems), small wind systems, geothermal heat pumps, and residential fuel cell and microturbine systems can receive a 30% tax credit for systems placed in service before December 31, 2016; the previous tax credit cap no longer applies.