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Three Basic Geothermal Energy Sources

Closed-loop systems circulate a water-based solution through a "loop system" of small-diameter, high-density polyethylene underground pipes. Closed-loop systems can be installed horizontally, vertically or in a pond. Open-loop systems use existing water well or surface water. Whether the system is open or closed, heat is transferred to or from the structure, regardless of outdoor temperature, to provide year-round comfort.

Horizontal Loops

Often used when adequate land surface is available. Depending on geothermal system needs and space available, pipes are placed in trenches that range in length from 100 to 400 feet.

Vertical Loops

The ideal choice for a geothermal heat pump when available land surface is limited. Well drilling equipment is used to bore small-diameter holes from 100 to 400 feet deep.

Pond (Lake) Loops

Very economical to install when a large body of water is available for use by the geothermal heating and cooling system. Coils of pipe are simply placed on the bottom of the pond or lake to capture the geothermal energy.

Open loops (Well-Water Systems)

In ideal conditions, an open-loop application can be the most economical type of geothermal system. These use groundwater from a well as a direct energy source.

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