Geothermal Ground Exchanger Questions
Do I need separate geothermal ground exchangers for heating and cooling?
No, the geothermal ground exchanger, whether closed or open loop, can be designed to provide both heating and cooling. The reversing valve on the ground source heat pump controls the direction of temperature flow to change between heating and cooling (air conditioning) modes.
What types of geothermal ground exchanger systems are available in BC?
There are two main types of geothermal ground exchangers/loops: open and closed. The type of geothermal system to be installed is dependent on the available property.
How deep do the horizontal loops have to be buried for a geothermal system in BC?
Below the frost line, which is typically 4 feet in the Prince George, BC area. Below this depth, the ground temperatures are relatively stable and have less variation then ambient air temperatures. They remain warmer than ambient temperatures in the winter and cooler than ambient temperatures in the summer. This depth may change depending on your location in other parts of Central and Northern BC.
What if I don’t have enough room for a horizontal geothermal system?
Closed loop geothermal systems can also be installed in vertical boreholes. The holes are then sealed with grout.
How long will the pipe loop last in the ground?
If installed properly, the high density polyethylene pipes in the ground should last between 50-75 years.
How are pipe sections joined together in a geothermal ground exchanger?
The pipes and fittings are joined together through plastic fusion. Before backfilling, all pipes should be pressure tested to make sure that there are no leaks in the geothermal ground exchanger system.
What if I have poor water quality, can I still use the water for an open loop geothermal system?
An intermediate heat exchanger can be installed between the water source (ie. well water, lake, etc.) and the heat pump to protect the geothermal heat pump.
Can I reclaim heat from my sewage disposal system?
Unfortunately, no. By the end of a typical heating season (ie. winter), Geothermal Heating Systems will decrease the ground temperature to freezing temperatures. This would cause severe damage to your sewage disposal system.
Geothermal Ground Exchanger Questions
What is a ground source heat pump?
A ground source heat pump (or geothermal heat pump) is an electrically powered device that is able to transfer and increase the heat from the earth and distribute in your home or office. Some heat pumps can work in the reverse direction, cooling your home or office and transferring the heat back into the earth.
How does a geothermal heat pump work?
It uses the exact same principles as any other heat pump (ie: a heat pump is used in a refrigerator), where it is able to transfer heat from one location to another. The geothermal heat pump transfers heat through heat exchangers and compresses the heat (which increases the pressure, and therefore the temperature, of the refrigerant). This is how low ground temperatures can be increased to provide comfortable heating to your home.
What type of electric service is required for a ground source heat pump?
240 volts is required. Geothermal Heat Pumps are available to operate with 1 phase and 3 phase power sources.
How much space is required in my home for a Ground Source Heat Pump/Geothermal System?
The space requirements are very similar to a natural gas furnace.
Geothermal Distribution System Questions
What type of systems can be used to distribute the heat from a geothermal system through my home?
There are three options for a geothermal distribution system: forced air ducted, infloor hydronic/radiant, or a combination of the two.
Will my existing heating ducts work with a Geothermal System?
Possibly. As long as it has been sized according to the heating/cooling requirements of your home. Nordic Heat Pumps are operated with an Electronically Comutated Motor (ECM) that can adapt to most existing duct systems.
How is the geothermal heating and cooling system controlled?
Similar to other heating systems, a geothermal system is connected to a thermostat (or several thermostats) within your home. A geothermal system has the advantage of being able to provide different heating/cooling zones to your home. Earth Fire Energy sells Network Thermostat, which has the ability to control several zones from one location. It is even possible to control the temperature of your BC home via the internet, anywhere else in the world.
Are Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems environmentally friendly?
“Earth Energy Systems are environmentally friendly because approximately two-thirds of the energy they deliver comes from renewable energy within the ground. This indirect use of solar energy comes from the capability of the earth’s crust to store solar energy. In fact, the earth is a massive solar energy collector that absorbs 46% of the sun’s energy that radiates to earth, which amounts to more than 500 times more energy than the earth’s population needs every year.” From NRCAN’s publication Commercial Earth Energy Systems: A Buyer’s Guide