The Builder Blog
Geothermal Heating and Cooling
In South Alabama, the temperature throughout the year varies which means blazing hot summers that cool to frigid a winter (especially the last few years). What many people don’t realize is that the temperature below ground (regardless of climate or season) stays fairly consistent all year. Geothermal systems are able to tap into this free energy with an earth loop. This technology is then used to provide your home or office with central heating and cooling.
During the heating cycle, a geothermal heat pump uses the earth loop to extract heat from the ground. As the system pulls heat from the loop it distributes it through a conventional duct system as warm air. The same heat energy can also be used for a radiant floor system, pool heating or domestic hot water heating.
In the cooling mode, the heating process is reversed – creating cool, conditioned air throughout the home. Instead of extracting heat from the ground, heat is extracted from the air in your home and either moved back into the earth loop, or used to preheat the water in your hot water tank.
In Picture One, the 250′ polyethylene u-bend is shown. This is the vertical section of the heat exchanger that is installed in which water will be circulated.
In Picture Two, the drill operator is taping the u-bend to the insertion tool so it can be sent down the hole for installation.
Picture Three is of this being installed. You may also see a video of a u-bend being installed by clicking here.
After all of the boreholes have been drilled and u-bends installed, the installer excavates between all of the boreholes as shown in Picture Four.
In Picture 5, the pipe is being fused together by heating the pipe with a 500 degree iron and then connecting it. As it cools, it becomes one piece of pipe. There is no glue or compression fittings used in a properly installed ground loop. All u-bends are brought to a manifold as shown below in Picture Six. The manifolds are designed using a reverse-return system so high pumping inefficiencies are achieved. From the manifold, water carrying heat is moved to/from the house like shown above.
With this ground loop system, the need of an outdoor air conditioning or heat pump unit is eliminated which results in all equipment being inside. This helps the equipment last twice as long as conventional heating and air conditioning systems. This reason in addition to the return-on-investment and comfort of a geothermal system is why geothermal installations are growing exponentially across the United States and Europe. For more information, visit. www.geothermalsolutions-al.com.