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The Sun has always provided heat for the earth. Its energy warms the earth directly, but also indirectly. Its heat evaporate water from the lakes and streams, which eventually falls back to earth and filters into the ground. A few meters of surface soil insulate the earth and ground water below. The warm earth and ground water below the surface provide a free, renewable source of energy for as long as the sun continues to shine. The earth under an average residential lot can easily provide enough free energy to heat and cool the home built on it.
This free energy just needs to be moved from the ground into your home. This is done by either pumping water from a well (open loop), or by pumping a heat transfer fluid (water, methanol, etc.), through a horizontal or vertical circuit of underground piping (closed loop).
Geothermal heat pumps are electrically powered systems that tap the stored energy of the greatest solar collector in existence: the earth. These systems use the earth’s relatively constant temperature to provide heating, cooling, and hot water for homes and commercial buildings.
Geothermal heat pumps can be categorized as having closed or open loops, and those loops can be installed in three ways: horizontally, vertically, or in a pond/lake.
The type chosen depends on the available land areas and the soil and rock type at the installation site. These factors will help determine the most economical choice for installation of the ground loop.