The Four Main Types Of Geothermal Heating Systems

Geothermal heating systems use the heat located within the earth to warm up the interior of your home through a series of pipes buried deep underground. There are a number of different types of geothermal heating systems, each of which operates in a different manner to accomplish the same function. Understanding the differences between each type of geothermal system and what they have to offer can help you choose the best option for your home's heating needs.

Open Loop Systems

Open loop geothermal heating systems draw their heat from ground water within the earth. Water is drawn from one well to another, passing through a heat exchanger where the heat from the water is removed and pulled upwards into your home. The main draw of open loop systems is the fact that they are fairly simple in construction, which means that they are also more affordable to install. However, because they require a great deal of ground water to operate, they cannot be installed in every household.

Closed Loop Systems

Closed loop geothermal heating systems make use of a closed loop of pipes that circulates water throughout it over and over again. The water draws its heat from the ground around the pipes, and then transfers that heat to a heat exchanger, which in turn moves the water up to the house. Closed loop geothermal heating systems do not require large amounts of ground water to operate, but are more complex in construction and thus represent a greater investment to homeowners.

Overlapping Loop Systems

Overlapping loop geothermal heating systems, sometimes called slinky loops, are rows upon rows of coiled pipes that are buried within a shallow trench. They draw heat out of circulated water, much like a closed loop system, but take up much less space and are only shallowly buried in the ground, which is ideal for areas that have rock deposits that prevent digging deep holes.

Pond Systems

Pond systems are a type of closed loop system that is installed in a body of water that has a current moving through it, instead of burying the system within the ground. Besides the fact that it is submerged in water and draws the heat from moving water, pond geothermal heating systems work exactly like closed loop systems, and are only suitable for areas that have a large nearby body of water and where digging would be costly or time consuming.

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