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When Your Heating System Goes To Ground: Exploring Geothermal Heat

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Whether you use an electric or fuel-burning furnace, heating your home can be costly. Luckily, there are more affordable options that can actually eliminate your dependence on fuel-burning or electric heat. Geothermal systems will heat your house by drawing naturally-occurring heat from the ground around your house. Here are a few varieties of geothermal heating systems to consider if you're thinking about making the conversion.

Understanding Closed Loop Geothermal Systems

A closed loop system will circulate water through underground pipes in a continuous cycle. The pipe circuit's length will vary based on the average ground temperature readings in your area, thermal conductivity and ambient moisture in the soil. These systems draw the necessary water from a reservoir or natural water supply, depending on which design you choose.

Pond Loops

Pond closed loop systems use a nearby pond, stream or other water source that's deep enough to tap into with an underground closed loop coil system. When you install this type of system, the coils are installed on the bottom of the water source. The system will then draw water from the pond through the pipes in the same manner as with other closed loop systems.

Horizontal Closed Loop Systems

The horizontal closed loop design is efficient for a smaller heating system structure. If you're thinking about going this route, make sure that you have enough land for the installation. It requires you to install segments of up to six pipes into trenches along the property. The pipe will lay in a horizontal loop, covering much of the ground on the property.

Vertical Closed Loop Designs

Whether your home sits on a small parcel of land or you can't disrupt the soil as much as is required for trench digging, a vertical closed loop system is a viable alternative. Instead of the lengthy pipe running across your property, a vertical closed loop uses a U-shaped piece of pipe that you install in a well. The depth of the tube and the well can vary based on the ground conditions on your property, but it's less disruptive to your property overall.

Geothermal heating is an affordable way to keep your home feeling warm and comfortable all year, but it does require an initial investment. If you have been looking for a way to improve upon the standard heating system and you want to eliminate your dependence on electricity and fuel for heat, talk with a heating contractor (such as one from Virginia Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning) about converting your home to a geothermal heat system.