When allowed by local and state governing bodies water from a well or other topside body of water is pumped thru the heat pump one time (never to be used again by the system) and then distributed back into another reservoir or catch basin.
On larger lots, horizontal ditches are dug and loop pipe is laid in the bottom of the ditch then back filled over. Some loop contractors also use directional boring machines to accomplish the same goal with far less digging.
The first thing you need to know about Geothermal is: GET A QUOTE WITH ENERGY ANALYSIS! It doesn't cost anything to have a qualified contractor provide you with a quote and energy analysis to compare with conventional quotes. If you do, you will find the math shows Geothermal is the way to go. Geothermal systems are designed to outlast, out perform and cost up to 50% less to operate than even the most efficient conventional systems.
The second thing you need to know about Geothermal is: THERE'S NO REASON TO BE AFRAID! The only difference between a conventional heat pump and a Geothermal heat pump is the addition of a second heat exchanger called a WATER COIL. As far as the physical unit itself, that's it! No Alien technology, no mystical mumbo jumbo needed. Yes, Geothermal heat pumps require some source of EARTH CONDITIONED water to run through this WATER COIL, and yes this is where most of the fear mongering focuses, but once the entire system is installed properly the Geothermal system performs the same exact function as the conventional heat pump, only much more efficiently.
The last thing you need to know about Geothermal is: SMALL HOUSE, BIG HOUSE, OLD HOUSE, NEW HOUSE IT DOESN'T MATTER! Heating and cooling your house essentially boils down to consuming either fossil fuels (gas, heating oil, etc...) or electricity at a certain cost per unit of energy. Whether you are moving heat out of your house (in summer), or moving heat into your house (in winter) you will need the same amount of heat transfer regardless of the type of equipment. The equipment that can transfer heat the most efficiently, costs the least amount of money to operate. Guess what equipment can transfer heat most efficiently? Yep, Geothermal heat pumps combine the underground loop outside with the water coil inside to save you money!
Free energy right below your feet!
Geothermal heat pumps save you up to 50% on your heating and cooling costs.
When a pond, or other body of water is close enough to the home the loop field can be sunken underwater to provide the heat exchange. Pond loops are a popular choice because they cost less to install while providing excellent performance.
On smaller lots, vertical wells are drilled and pipe lowered in. Special double coils of loop pipe called U-Bends are lowered into the well starting with a joined end that allows both the down side & up side pipes to be lowered together.
A Geothermal Loop (also known as Ground Loop, Loop Field, Ground Heat Exchanger) is the system of Hi Density Polyethylene pipe and pump(s) that circulate water to and from the Geothermal heat pump. This water starts a cycle in the Geothermal heat pump water coil where the water absorbs heat (summer time) / expels heat (winter time). Then the water is circulated to the outside underground piping where the reverse heat exchange happens (expels heat in summer time / absorbs heat in winter time). The water is then sent back to the water coil where the process repeats itself. The water inside the loop simply carries heat to & from your house to the loop field where the ground absorbs or expels that same heat. The constant temperature of the earth is what makes the entire system possible. In the Southeast US ground temperatures average @ 50-70 degrees. Conventional systems only usable medium for heat transfer is the air itself. Imagine trying to cool 90 degree air down to 70 degree conditioned air. Now imagine using 70 degree water as a starting point instead of 90 degree air. Getting your desired 70 degree conditioned air happens with far less energy consumption (there's your Alien Technology / Mystical Mumbo Jumbo at work)!
Please see the diagrams below for the different Loop Field installation options.