The word “geothermal” comes from the Greek word geo (earth) and therme (heat). So, essentially, geothermal energy is heat from within the earth. The earth absorbs over 50% of solar energy and maintains a constant temperature between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit year-round about six feet below the surface.
A geothermal system takes advantage of this phenomenon to transfer the energy needed to cool or heat your home from the depth of the earth. Our Maryland geothermal installation team at A Quality is experienced in constructing and installing geothermal systems customized for your property and your heating and cooling needs.
Geothermal System Components
A typical geothermal HVAC system consists of the following components:
The ground loop utilizes the temperatures of the ground to transfer heat from one place to another using a ground loop field buried underground. The loop field circulates a water-based solution through a series of pipes.
This is the tool used to pump the water-based solution in the ground loop to the unit inside the house or building. The flow center is placed on the geothermal unit or a wall nearby.
The heat pump is kept inside of the building. It is responsible for heating and cooling the entire building by forced air and radiant.
Besides heating the air inside your home or commercial property, a geothermal system can also be used to power your water heater, radiant floor heating system, or provide pool water heating.
Geothermal System Installation
Want to know what you are getting into? Browse through this slideshow to learn about our geothermal installation process ー from selecting the site to turning on the switch on your new geothermal unit. The project shown below is a vertical loop installation that involved the drilling of a deep well, insertion of 300 feet of geothermal piping into the ground, removal of the old HVAC system, and installation of the indoor geothermal unit in the basement.
Types of Geothermal System Loops
There are four basic types of ground loop systems that can be installed in your new construction. Every kind of system can be used for residential and commercial building applications.
This type of loop system is generally the most cost-effective option for residential installations, especially for new construction where sufficient land is available. This type of system is installed within trenches that are between four to seven feet deep. A series of plastic pipes are laid inside of the trenches and connected to the heat pump. A typical horizontal loop will be 400 to 600 feet long for each ton of heating and cooling.
Vertical loop systems are commonly used for commercial buildings with limited space. It starts by drilling vertical holes in the ground that are anywhere from 150 to 400 feet deep. Then, a single loop of pipe with a U-tube at the bottom is installed. The hole is then sealed with grout to ensure adequate contact with the soil. Lastly, the vertical ground loops are connected to a horizontal underground header pipe that is responsible for carrying fluid to the unit.
If a building is located near a body of water, a pond/lake system may be the most economical choice. A supply line pump is run underground to the body of water and is coiled into circles at least eight feet underground to prevent freezing. In order for this type of system to work, it must be placed in a body of water that meets its minimum volume, depth, and quality criteria. It’s important to note that pond/lake loops have no adverse impact on the aquatic environment.
This type of system is only possible if there is sufficient groundwater available via a well, lake, or river. The water source must be of good quality and comply with local groundwater discharge codes. Since the system is open, a water pump is placed directly into the geothermal unit and then discharged into a return well or a body of water. The system does not affect the water’s quality.
New Installation or Retrofit Application
Whether you are looking to outfit your new construction with a top-of-the-line, energy-efficient HVAC system or want to upgrade your current equipment, A Quality can help. We will assess your current HVAC layout, help select the best geothermal system for your needs and install it in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. Our technicians have received training and certifications from the top geothermal manufacturers in the country, including Water Furnace, Climate Master, and Florida Heat Pump. Additionally, our service department is available 24/7 to maintain and service your system to ensure quality performance.
Benefits of a Geothermal System
The best time to install a geothermal system is during the construction of a new building. This is because everything, from the location of the earth loop to ductwork sizes and vent locations, can be customized to fit the needs of the building.
Some additional benefits of installing a geothermal system during construction include: