You’re thinking about a geothermal heat pump, but you’ve got questions. When it comes to geothermal horizontal vs vertical loops is there a difference? Is one better than the other?
Let’s dive in.
Geothermal Horizontal vs Vertical Loops
Horizontal Geothermal Heat Pump Installation
The most common geothermal heat pump installation is the ‘horizontal closed loop’. It’s pretty simple. Basically, the installer digs a series of horizontal trenches around your house. These are around 5 to 6 feet deep. The closed loop pipe is placed in the trench, then covered with the backfill.
Vertical Geothermal Heat Pump Installation
As you might suspect, vertical geothermal heat pump installation requires vertical ground excavation instead of horizontal. In this case, it’s usually just one very deep vertical shaft. The closed loop pipe is lowered into the vertical shaft, then, obviously, filled in.
Which is Better?
Why would you choose geothermal horizontal over vertical or vice versa? The two criteria you need to consider are available acreage and local soil conditions.
Horizontal trenches are easy to dig when there’s plenty of room, and the ground is not very rocky. If you live on a very small lot, you may not have the space for a horizontal installation. If you live in a very rocky region of the country, you can run into the same problem. It’s a lot cheaper to drill a single vertical shaft through hard rock than it is to cut large, horizontal trenches.
So when it comes to geothermal horizontal vs vertical loops, what side should you fall on?
As you can see, the answer depends on how much space you have available, and the condition of your soil. Ideally, you would want horizontal, since they’re usually cheaper.
There is one other scenario in which you may want to use a vertical loop in place of a horizontal loop. If you have an existing well shaft already on your property, a vertical loop could be installed without the need for additional digging.
Let us know in the comments if you have additional questions.