Installing a Geothermal Heat Pump System: Beyond the Loops
Installing a geothermal heat pump involves two main component groups: the buried ground heat exchanger and the indoor components including the geothermal heat pump. Homeowners accustomed to central A/C may wonder what happened to the outdoor condenser—that big noisy cabinet installed out in the backyard. One of the benefits of installing a geothermal heat pump is the elimination of the condenser coil. In geothermal technology, the ground beneath your feet functions as the condenser during summer, dispersing heat extracted from the home.
The ground heat exchanger is an arrangement of underground plastic tubes. These tubes circulate the fluid that absorbs latent heat from the earth to warm the house in winter and disperses extracted heat from the house back into the earth during summer. In a horizontal configuration, hairpin-shaped loops are in long trenches about 6 feet deep. Vertical geothermal installations utilize two or more bore holes drilled several hundred feet into the ground to implant the loops in a more space-saving arrangement. Inside the home, an indoor coil extracts heat from the air in cooling mode. This heat is absorbed by refrigerant circulating through the coil, then concentrated as the refrigerant passes through the compressor.
A heat exchanger transfers warmth from the refrigerant to the heat-absorbing fluid pumped through the ground heat exchanger and the heat is dispersed back into the earth. In heating mode, the process reverses and heat extracted from the earth by the circulating fluid is compressed at the heat pump, then dispersed through ductwork to warm the home. The other indoor component is the flow center. This unit comprises two electric circulation pumps to push heat-absorbing fluid through the ground heat exchanger and back to the heat pump. The flow center also includes access valves to allow flushing fluid from the ground heat exchanger tubes and adding new fluid.
Sobieski Services provides all components, sales and service for installing a geothermal heat pump. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
Image Credit: hubertk