Open Loop vs. Closed Loop Systems Geothermal Systems

Open Loop vs. Closed Loop Systems Geothermal Systems

Ground source geothermal heat pumps have become highly popular in recent years for home comfort and other benefits.  In fact, each year more homes in the U.S. switch from standard air source heat pumps to ground source geothermal systems.  At Haley Mechanical, we understand why so many homeowners are making the switch, and the exceptional benefits of geothermal systems – reduction in harmful emissions, long lifespan, outstanding performance and energy savings, and efficient heating even during the most frigid winter temperatures in Michigan.

What is the difference between open loop and closed loop geothermal systems?

An open loop system consists of a pipe that is buried beneath the ground using nearby groundwater for the heat exchange process.  Unlike a closed loop system that circulates a mixture of anti-freeze and water, the water does not circulate but instead is directed into drainage after use.

With a closed loop system, a pipe is also buried beneath the ground. However, a mixture of water and anti-freeze is circulated to cool and heat your home.  Essentially, the water/anti-freeze solution either deposits or absorbs heat from the ground, depending on the season.  The solution enters a heat exchanger located inside your home that transfers heat via the refrigerant in the heat pump.  With a closed loop system, loops are placed according to the space available, and depending on your situation will be laid either as vertical loops after drilling or in a horizontal configuration.

While the type of geothermal system that’s right for you depends on some factors including groundwater availability, closed-loop systems are the most common.  Not only is a water source essential for an open loop system, these loops may collect debris inside the piping system that can result in repair issues and costs.  Your installation professional can guide you regarding the differences between an open or closed loop geothermal heat pump system, and which is best in your situation.

At Haley Mechanical, we realize that geothermal heating and cooling systems are something still relatively new to southeast Michigan homeowners.  Have questions regarding home comfort, energy savings, and the benefits of this type of system to the environment?  Give us a call today!

Contact a Comfort Advisor at Haley Mechanical Today!