Geothermal News

School Considering Geothermal

NoVa school system considers Geothermal. More…

MIT Study

Article on MSNBC about how much of our energy needs geothermal can meet. More…

Geothermal - CNN

DInteresting video and article on CNN relaying some quick facts on Geothermal heating and cooling. More…

Installation

Installation: Are GSHP systems difficult to install?

Most units are easy to install, especially when they are replacing another forced-air system. This is known as a retrofit. GSHPs can be installed in areas unsuitable for fossil fuel furnaces because there is no combustion and thus no need to vent exhaust fumes. Ductwork must be installed in homes without an existing air distribution system. ADCO can assess the cost of installing ductwork.

Can I install a ground source heat exchanger myself?
It's not recommended. Thermal fusion of the pipe, drilling and trenching are procedures best handled by licensed professionals. Nonprofessional installations may result in less than optimum performance, which could cancel out anticipated savings

How far apart are trenches and vertical boreholes spaced? Trenches are spaced four to five feet apart while boreholes are spaced ten to fifteen feet apart.

How long does it take to install a horizontal system? This depends on soil conditions, length and depth of pipe, and equipment required. A typical installation can be completed in one or two days.

How long does it take to install a vertical system? With the vertical installation, time varies with conditions on the site such as type and depth of the overburden, type and hardness of the bedrock, and the presence of aquifers. Typical drilling times are one or two days; total installation can usually be accomplished in two days.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the horizontal and vertical installations, respectively? Horizontal installations are simpler, requiring lower-cost equipment. However, they require longer lengths of pipe due to seasonal variations in soil temperature and moisture content. Since a horizontal heat exchanger is laid out in trenches, a larger area is usually required than for a vertical system. Where land is limited, vertical installations or a compact Slinky™ horizontal installation can be ideal. If regional soil conditions include extensive hard rock, a vertical installation may be the only available choice. Vertical installations tend to be more expensive due to the increased cost of drilling versus trenching, but since the heat exchanger is buried deeper than with a horizontal system, vertical systems are usually more efficient and can get by with less total pipe.

How can I be sure the pipe is installed properly? Use a reputable contractor. Don't be afraid to ask for and use references. Reputable dealers and loop installers will be happy to give names and phone numbers for you to call and confirm their capabilities. Find out where the installer received training, whether he or she is IGSHPA-accredited, and how many systems he or she has installed. Also, check with your utility company representative for names of installers.

Is it advisable to install a GSHP system large enough to handle my total heating needs? GSHP systems are generally sized to meet all your cooling needs. Depending on heating needs, a GSHP system usually supplies 80-100 percent of your design heating load. Sizing the system to handle your entire heating needs may result in slightly lower heating costs, but the savings may not offset the added total of the larger system. Special consideration should be given to systems in the north where multiple capacity units should be considered to handle the large variation between heating and cooling loads. top