How Much Land Is Needed for a Geothermal System?

Geothermal heat pump systems have emerged as an efficient alternative to traditional heating systems and even air source heat pumps. Geothermal heat pumps tap into the earth’s natural energy to provide comfortable indoor temperatures, making them an excellent option for environmentally conscious homeowners. 

When considering installing a geothermal system, homeowners often wonder about the amount of land needed for geothermal installation. How much space is needed depends on several factors, including the soil type, depth of the loop, and the layout of the property. Heartland Heating, Air, and Plumbing walks you through the different loop configurations available and how to determine the amount of land needed for geothermal installation.

Options for Ground Loops

One of the most critical aspects of a geothermal system is the ground loop design. Ground loops are underground piping systems that circulate water or refrigerant to transfer heat between your home’s geothermal heat pump and the earth. The type and configuration of ground loop installed will determine the efficiency and effectiveness of your geothermal heating system.

Horizontal Loop

Horizontal loops consist of a series of pipes buried horizontally in trenches that are between four and six feet deep. The length and number of trenches will vary based on the property size and layout. Typically, a horizontal loop system requires more land needed for geothermal installation than a vertical loop system since the trenches need to be several hundred feet long.

The slinky method is a revolutionary technique for installing horizontal loop systems in geothermal heat pump systems. Its unique design involves installing a horizontal coil of pipe in slinky-like turns, maximizing the amount of pipe that can fit in a small area of land. This innovative technique allows more loops of pipe to fit into a smaller area. Compared to traditional horizontal loop systems, using the slinky method for installation requires less land, making it ideal for residential and commercial properties with limited space for ground source heat pump systems. 

Vertical Loop

Vertical ground loops are installed by drilling boreholes into the ground and inserting a U-shaped loop of pipe. The number of boreholes required will depend on the size of the property and the ground source heating and cooling requirements of the geothermal heat pump. Each borehole can be between 75 and 300 feet deep, and the loop diameter can be up to six inches.

Among the different types of loop systems available, vertical ground loops stand out as a more space-saving option when installing ground source heat pumps. Unlike horizontal loop systems that may require a large area of land for installation, vertical loops can be installed vertically, requiring less land needed for geothermal installation. The vertical system geothermal heat pump installation method makes it ideal for homes or commercial properties with limited space or those located in densely populated areas.

Pond or Lake Loop

A pond or lake loop is a type of geothermal heating and cooling system installation that harnesses the power of a nearby body of water to provide geothermal heating and geothermal cooling for a building. The geothermal system requires a loop of high-density polyethylene pipe that is submerged in the water and connected to a geothermal heat pump inside the building. As water circulates through the loop, it absorbs or releases heat from the water, depending on the season, and uses it to adjust the temperature in the building. 

Compared to other types of geothermal loops, a pond or lake loop doesn’t require as much land needed for geothermal installation. This is because the pond or lake acts as a natural heat source for geothermal heat pumps, instead of the ground. You do however need to have access to a body of water on your property.

Open Loop System

An open loop system for geothermal systems is a sustainable and efficient alternative to traditional heating and cooling systems. This system draws water from a well or surface water source and circulates it through a geothermal heat pump. In terms of land needed for geothermal installation, an open loop system requires a well or borehole system that can access the water table, and this requires less land compared to horizontal loops. 

Calculating Land Needed for Geothermal Installation

When calculating the land needed for geothermal installation, several factors must be considered. The spacing between the pipes, trench depth, and ground loop layout will all impact the land area needed. Factors such as soil conditions, depth of loop, and home heating and cooling requirements can also increase the land area required to install a geothermal HVAC system.

Vertical loops and open loop systems typically require the least amount of land. Horizontal loop systems require more land area than other loop systems. 

Additionally, it is crucial to consider any obstacles that may impact the available land area to ensure you have enough space. For example, structures, trees, hard rock, and landscaping features may require adapting the loop configuration or impacting excavation requirements. The orientation of the property may also impact the land needed for geothermal installation.

Professional Geothermal System Installation Services

A geothermal system is a wise investment in long-term energy savings. While there are physical requirements such as space, loop depth, soil type, and property configuration, using the right design can optimize the system’s performance and reduce the amount of land needed for geothermal installation. With proper consideration of these factors and expert installation, geothermal systems can provide efficient heating and cooling for your home for many years to come.

If you are considering installing a geothermal system on your property, Heartland Heating, Air, and Plumbing can help you every step of the way. Our team of experts is equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to accurately assess the size of your property and determine the amount of land needed for geothermal installation. Furthermore, we offer professional installation services using only quality equipment and materials to ensure that the job is done right. 

Trust Heartland Heating, Air, and Plumbing to provide you with exceptional service and expertise in all your heating, cooling, and plumbing needs. Contact us today to get started on a greener future for your property.