Types of Geothermal Systems
Geothermal systems work through a series of pipes that run through the ground, called a ground loop. Water circulates through the ground loop and carries heat to the home in the winter months, where it is used to raise your indoor temperature.
In the summer months, this process is reversed. Heat is drawn from the home to the loop system and absorbed back into the earth.
Open Loop System
Open loop geothermal systems work by pulling water from the earth through a well. The well water flows through the loop system and is deposited back into the earth through another well.
Something to consider before deciding on an open loop geothermal system is the quality of water at your home. If acid or minerals are found in the water, it will affect the heat transfer in the system and have a negative affect on the longevity of the heat exchanger.
While the open loop system is less expensive to install, the system does require more maintenance and could have an adverse environmental impact.
Closed Loop System
While an open loop geothermal system continually pulls fresh water from the earth, a closed loop system has the same water circulating through the pipes at all times. The benefit of this is that water quality will not be an issue after the initial treatment and fill up of the system.
A closed loop geothermal system is also a more environmentally friendly option compared to the open loop system.