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  Here Is A Crash Course in geothermal heat pumps!

Homeowners in virtually every region of the United States are enjoying a high level of comfort and significantly reducing their energy use today with geothermal heat pumps also called geothermal ground contact heat exchange (geothermal) heating and cooling.

This marvelous technology relies primarily on the Earth's natural thermal energy, a renewable resource, to heat or cool a house or multi-family dwelling. The only additional energy geothermal ground contact heat exchange systems require is the small amount of electricity they employ to concentrate what Mother Nature provides and then to circulate high-quality heating and cooling throughout the home.

Homeowners who use geothermal ground contact heat exchange systems give them superior ratings because of their ability to deliver comfortably warm air, even on the coldest winter days, and because of their extraordinarily low operating costs. As an additional benefit, geothermal ground contact heat exchange systems can provide inexpensive hot water, either to supplement or replace entirely the output of a conventional, domestic water heater.

Geothermal ground contact heat exchange heating and cooling is cost effective because it uses energy so efficiently.

This makes it very environmentally friendly, too. For these reasons, federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, as well as state agencies like the California Energy Commission, endorse it.

Owners of geothermal ground contact heat exchange systems can relax and enjoy high-quality heating and cooling year after year. Geothermal ground contact heat exchange systems work on a different principle than an ordinary furnace/air conditioning system, and they require little maintenance or attention from homeowners. Furnaces must create heat by burning a fuel--typically natural gas, propane, or fuel oil. With geothermal ground contact heat exchange systems, there's no need to create heat, hence no need for chemical combustion. Instead, the Earth's natural heat is collected in winter through a series of pipes, called a loop, installed below the surface of the ground or submersed in a pond or lake. Fluid circulating in the loop carries this heat to the home. An indoor geothermal ground contact heat exchange system then uses electrically-driven compressors and heat exchangers in a vapor compression cycle--the same principle employed in a refrigerator--to concentrate the Earth's energy and release it inside the home at a higher temperature. In typical systems, duct fans distribute the heat to various rooms. Geothermal ground contact heat exchange installed in a basement or attic, and some are small enough to fit atop a closet shelf. The indoor location also means the equipment is protected from mechanical breakdowns that could result from exposure to harsh Weather.

Geothermal ground contact heat exchange works differently than conventional heat pumps that use the outdoor air as both their heat source or heat sink. Geothermal ground contact heat exchange systems don't have to work as hard (which means they use less energy) because they draw heat from a source whose temperature is moderate. The temperature of the ground or groundwater a few feet beneath the Earth's surface remains relatively constant throughout the year, even though the outdoor air temperature may fluctuate greatly with the change of seasons. At a depth of approximately six feet, for example, the temperature of soil in most of the world's regions remains stable between 45 F and 70 F. This is why well water drawn from below ground tastes so cool even on the hottest summer days.

In winter, it's much easier to capture heat from the soil at a moderate 50 º F. than from the atmosphere when the air temperature is below zero. This is also why geothermal ground contact heat exchange systems encounter no difficulty blowing comfortably warm air through a home's ventilation system, even when the outdoor air temperature is extremely cold.

Conversely, in summer, the relatively cool ground absorbs a home's waste heat more readily than the warm outdoor air.

In summer, the process is reversed in order to cool the home. Excess heat is drawn from the home, expelled to the loop, and absorbed by the Earth. Geothermal ground contact heat exchange systems provide cooling in the same way that a refrigerator keeps its contents cool--by drawing heat from the interior, not by injecting cold air.

         

      

Studies show that approximately 70 percent of the energy used in a geothermal ground contact heat exchange heating and cooling system is renewable energy from the ground. The remainder is clean, electrical energy which is employed to concentrate heat and transport it from one location to another. In winter, the ground soaks up solar energy and provides a barrier to cold air. In summer, the ground heats up more slowly than the outside air.

Ground contact geothermal systems do the work that ordinarily requires two appliances, a furnace and an air conditioner. They can be located indoors because there's no need to exchange heat with the outdoor air. They're so quiet homeowners don't even realize they're on. They are also compact. Typically, they are up to six times less expensive to operate since they are far more efficient then any fossil fuel based system.

 

Making Hot Water

Geothermal ground contact heat exchange systems can also provide all or part of a household's hot water. This can be highly economical, especially if the home already has a geothermal ground contact heat exchange system, hence a ground loop, in place.

One economical way to obtain a portion of domestic hot water is through the addition of a de-super-heater to the geothermal ground contact heat exchange unit. A de-super-heater is a small, auxiliary heat exchanger that uses superheated gases from the heat pump's compressor to heat water. This hot water then circulates through a pipe to the home's water heater tank. In summer, when the geothermal ground contact heat exchange system is in the cooling mode, the de-super-heater merely uses excess heat that would otherwise be expelled to the loop. When the geothermal ground contact heat exchange unit is running frequently, homeowners can obtain all of their hot water in this manner virtually for free. A conventional water heater meets household hot water needs in winter if the de-super-heater isn't producing enough, and in spring and fall when the geothermal ground contact heat exchange system may not be operating at all.

                
           

Because geothermal ground contact heat exchange systems heat water so efficiently, many manufacturers today are also offering triple function geothermal ground contact heat exchange systems. Triple function systems provide heating, cooling and hot water. They use a separate heat exchanger to meet all of a household's hot water needs.


                                         

 

The Earth Connection

Once installed, the loop in a geothermal ground contact heat exchange system remains out of sight beneath the Earth's surface while it works unobtrusively to tap the heating and cooling nature provides. The loop is made of a material that is extraordinarily durable but which allows heat to pass through efficiently. This is important so it doesn't retard the exchange of heat between the Earth and the fluid in the loop. Loop manufacturers typically use high-density polyethylene, a tough plastic. When installers connect sections of pipe, they heat fuse the joints. This makes the connections stronger than the pipe itself. Some loop manufacturers offer up to 50-year warranties. The fluid in the loop is water or an environmentally safe antifreeze solution that circulates through the pipes in a closed system.

Another type of geothermal heating and cooling is Direct geothermal ground contact heat exchange (DX) systems, which utilize copper piping placed underground. As refrigerant is pumped through the loop, heat is transferred directly through the copper to the earth.

Never buy such a system!

I do not recommend direct burial of refrigerant-filled copper pipe due to the short lifespan of copper buried in contact with acid rain or acidic soils.

I believe such systems are installed only by irresponsible contractors with a disregard for the customer's interests. Such systems have a somewhat lower initial cost, and a higher heat transfer capacity. Those advantages are more than offset by an environmental issues regarding Freon leaks up from under the soil, which could cause damage to the ionosphere, and the near impossibility of locating or repairing such leaks should they occur.

The Freon filled copper pipes required by this irresponsible design contain vastly more Freon that is normally used in a heat pump.up to 100 times more! The slightest leak then causes massive damage to the ionosphere and repeated huge Freon Re-charge bill to the homeowner to keep refilling a damaged and leaking system, creating further ozone depletion.

NEVER INSTALL one of these irresponsible Freon-in the ground type geothermal systems. They are a stupid and foolish attempt to cost cut the original installation costs by using a ridiculously poor failure prone design. They serve only to give an otherwise wonderful way to heat and cool a bad reputation due to a few irresponsible contractors who promote them. In a properly designed sytem only a few pounds of Freon are needed, and that never leaved the indoor unit. Instead, a solution of water and propylene-glycol (an environmentally friendly anti-freeze) is all that circulates in the ground contact loop. And the water-antifreeze mixture is safely contained in PWX (Cross linked polyethylene) plastic tubing, not copper as Freon requires, so there is no risk at all that the tubing will corrode in contact with acidic soils or acid rain!

The Freon remains safely sealed inside the heat pump compressor, evaporator and condenser heat exchangers. There is simply no opportunity for ant Freon filled copper to be exposed to harsh and corrosive acidic soil conditions. As a result, the modern heat pump has a very long life, and at the end of the life cycle, the old heat pump's Freon is recovered and re-used again and again to produce new heat pumps. Even with extensive use of ground contact geothermal heat pumps, there is no need to risk Freon loss, and No Freon need be lost to damage the ionosphere at all!

The length of the loop depends upon a number of factors, including the type of loop configuration used; a home's heating and air conditioning load; soil conditions; local climate; and landscaping. Larger homes with larger space conditioning requirements generally need larger loops than smaller homes. Homes in climates where temperatures are extreme also generally require larger loops. A heat loss/heat gain analysis should be conducted before the loop is installed.

                                  


Types of Loops

Most loops for residential geothermal ground contact heat exchange systems are installed either horizontally or vertically in the ground, or submersed in water in a pond or lake. In most cases, the fluid runs through the loop in a closed system, but open-loop systems may be used where local codes permit. Each type of loop configuration has its own, unique advantages and disadvantages, as explained below:

                                       

Horizontal Ground Closed Loops.

This configuration is usually the most cost effective when adequate yard space is available and trenches are easy to dig. Workers use trenchers or backhoes to dig the trenches three to six feet below the ground, then lay a series of parallel plastic pipes. They backfill the trench, taking care not to allow sharp rocks or debris to damage the pipes. Fluid runs through the pipe in a closed system. A typical horizontal loop will be 400 to 600 feet long per ton of heating and cooling capacity. The pipe may be curled into a slinky shape in order to fit more of it into shorter trenches, but while this reduces the amount of land space needed it may require more pipe. Horizontal ground loops are easiest to install while a home is under construction. However, new types of digging equipment that allow horizontal boring are making it possible to retrofit geothermal ground contact heat exchange systems into existing homes with minimal disturbance to lawns. Horizontal boring machines can even allow loops to be installed under existing buildings or driveways.

Vertical Ground Closed Loops.

This type of loop configuration is ideal for homes where yard space is insufficient to permit horizontal buildings with large heating and cooling loads, when the Earth is rocky close to the surface, or for retrofit applications where minimum disruption of the landscaping is desired. Contractors bore vertical holes in the ground 150 to 450 feet deep.

                                          

Each hole contains a single loop of pipe with a U-bend at the bottom. After the pipe is inserted, the hole is backfilled or grouted. Each vertical pipe is then connected to a horizontal pipe, which is also concealed underground. The horizontal pipe then carries fluid in a closed system to and from the geothermal ground contact heat exchange system. Vertical loops are generally more expensive to install, but require less piping than horizontal loops because the Earth's temperature deeper down less affected by surface temperature and is thus cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Remember the U tube experiment in your elementary science class. In a clear glass U-tube (closed at the bottom) when you pour water into one leg, the water "would seek its own level" in the other leg of the tube,. Since the weight or the water in one leg pushes downward, the water in the other leg raises until the weight of both columns of water is equal. Thus water seeks its own level.

What does this mean to you as a homeowner?

What it means is that even with a deep well U-tube, in a closed loop system, water will seek its own level without you having to pay for ant expensive pump energy to make it do so!

So even if your ground contact heat pump well is hundreds of feet deep, simply allowing water to enter one leg will cause water to exit the other leg without ant need whatsoever to expend any energy to pump the water up from even the deepest well.

That is a major advantage of a closed loop system. It is such an advantage that an open loop system should not even warrant further consideration. Even if you have a pond or other warm water source, you are better off just adding a closed loop under it to avoid pumping costs.

 

Pond Closed Loops. If a home is near a body of surface water, such as a pond or lake, this type of loop design may be the most economical. The fluid circulates through polyethylene piping in a closed system, just as it does in the ground loops. Typically, workers run the pipe to the water, then submerge long sections under water. The pipe may be coiled in a slinky shape to fit more of it into a given amount of space. Geothermal ground contact heat exchange experts recommend using a pond loop only if the water level never drops below six to eight feet at its lowest level to assure sufficient heat-transfer capability. Pond loops used in a closed system result in no adverse impacts on the aquatic system.

Open Loop System. This type of loop configuration is used less frequently, due to the irresponsibility of permanently draining an aquifer just to obtain heating or cooling! It may be employed cost-effectively if ground water is plentiful. Open loop systems, in fact, are the simplest to install and have been used successfully for decades in areas where local codes permit. In this type of system, ground water from an aquifer is piped directly from the well to the building, where it transfers its heat to a heat pump. In a somewhat more environmentally acceptable open-loop scheme, the water is returned to the Aquifer via an injection well.

After it leaves the building, the water is pumped back into the same aquifer via a second well--called a discharge well--located at a suitable distance from the first. Local environmental officials should be consulted whenever an open loop system is being considered.

Often, such new installations are prohibited by law. Even where permitted, the operating costs can be higher due to costly energy consumed by deep well source and re-injection pumps.

Standing Column Well System. Standing column wells, also called turbulent wells or Energy Wells, have become an established technology in some regions, especially the northeastern United States. Standing wells are typically six inches in diameter and may be as deep as 1500 feet. Temperate water from the bottom of the well is withdrawn, circulated through the heat pump's heat exchanger, and returned to the top of the water column in the same well. Usually, the well also serves to provide potable water. However, ground water must be plentiful for a standing well system to operate effectively. If the standing well is installed where the water table is too deep, pumping would be prohibitively costly. Under normal circumstances, the water diverted for building (potable) use is replaced by constant-temperature ground water, which makes the system act like a true open-loop system. If the well-water temperature climbs too high or drops too low, water can be "bled" from the system to allow ground water to restore the well-water temperature to the normal operating range. Permitting conditions for discharging the bleed water vary from locality to locality, but are eased by the fact that the quantities are small and the water is never treated with chemicals.

Other loop designs are also being used. In a few places, for example, home builders have installed large community loops, which are shared by all of the homes in a housing development.

An even more enlightened approach

Although a closed U-Tube well needs no deep well pump, you will still need a very small circulation pump to circulate the water through the heat pumps sink/source heat exchanger. The energy needed to do this is trivial however, since water has a heat capacity 3500 times that of an equivalent volume of air. So only a few gallons per minute of water circulation is needed even in a very large installation, because water can carry so much heat.

If you choose zone Hydronics (radiators or chillers with fans) instead of air handlers, the need for air ducts is eliminated, and the energy needed to distribute the heating or cooling is slashed dramatically.

Then just a small 12 volt DC pump can circulate the tempered water and small quiet 12 volt muffin fans can provide the zone heat transfer. The tiny pumps and blowers can then be powered by a 12 volt deep-cycle auto battery recharged from a small solar panel. Such a system can maintain a 60 ° F baseline home temperature right through hurricanes and ice storms, since the electric power grid is not even required to maintain that temperature since the heat pump is not even needed to get 60 ° F. That comes free from the ground contact loop.

In fact it is even possible to eliminate the heat pump all together, and just use some simple alternative heat sources in winter, such as vacuum tube/ heat-pipe solar collectors connected to a hot water storage tank.

          

Innovative, evacuated (vacuum) tube collectors, combined with heat pipes to act as thermal check- valves, to remove the collected heat, and swiftly transport the heat to a safe storage area, (before the heat re-radiation occurs) allow high temperature solar thermal collectors to produce high temperature water even on the coldest sunny winter days!

Such a system needs no fossil fuel or grid power whatsoever and adds an extra 10-15 ° F from previously captured solar heat to Virginia's free 60 ° F free-for the taking ground contact thermal resource.

The result is year-round heating and cooling comfort, with no need for fossil fuel consumption, and with no electric bill to run a heat pump either!

                       

                      

Almost everything you have ever heard about geothermal energy refers to HIGH TEMPERATURE Geothermal Systems. These can not be used everywhere, and are highly dependent on location.

Do not confuse high temperature geothermal sites which are scarce, with the low temperature geothermal that can heat and cool your home .

High temperature sites are undesirable for home cooling because they are too hot!

The low temperature geothermal resource is almost everywhere!

It is ubiquitous free-for-the-taking free energy!

            

There are only a few really good high temperature geothermal sites located on the continents of Earth . most are under the oceans!

                 

The much deeper ground temperature (about two miles down) is much, much hotter than at the surface, as shown in the map below, So geothermal Heat Pumps tap into the deep core heat of Planet Earth heat much more than the Solar ground heat!

                         

The geothermal heat pump does not require a special hard to find high temperature geothermal location, and uses only the just under the surface, low temperature ground heat resource, and therefore this free energy resource is available throughout the USA.

       

The Central Virginia Area has an ideal 57-60º F (15.5ºC) deep ground temperature!



Abundant Energy at a perfect temperature!

It is Free-For-The-Taking . Forevermore.


         

Notice that Hopewell Virginia has a 1 ° F higher temperature free energy thermal extraction resource than does Goochland Virginia!

Central Virginia is very lucky to have such an ideal 60 ° F (16 ° C) Free Energy Ground Temperature Resource!

 


Even on a very local scale the tiny variation in the deep ground temperature free energy resource are predictable. Here the State capitol is shown in yellow, as are TJ High School, the DMV Headquarters, and the VA Museum of Fine Arts. Note that the free energy geothermal resource at the state capitol is 0.15 ° F warmer that that at TJ High School, and 0.08 ° F warmer than at the DMV and 0.1 ° F warmer than at the Arts Museum! These very predictable resource temperatures allow fore very careful system designs optimized to your exact location!

 

An even more enlightened approach

Although a closed U-Tube well needs no deep well pump, you will still need a very small circulation pump to circulate the water through the heat pumps sink/source heat exchanger. The energy needed to do this is trivial however, since water has a heat capacity 3500 times that of an equivalent volume of air. So only a few gallons per minute of water circulation is needed even in a very large installation, because water can carry so much heat.

                 

In Virginia, extremely careful design combined with Virginia's abundant sunshine and free 60 ° F geothermal ground temperature resource, can result in a real energy independent home. Such a home works right through ice storms and hurricanes , maintaining comfort because it is free of fossil fuels, and requires no electrical grid connection for continued operation of its free-energy heating and cooling system!

If you choose zone controlled Hydronics (radiators or chillers with fans in each room) instead of ducted air handlers, the need for air ducts is eliminated, and the energy needed to distribute the heating or cooling is slashed dramatically.

Then just a small 12 volt DC pump can circulate the tempered water and small quiet 12 volt muffin fans can provide the zone heat transfer. The tiny pumps and blowers can then be powered by a 12 volt deep-cycle auto battery recharged from a small solar panel. Such a system can maintain a 60 ° F baseline home temperature right through hurricanes and ice storms, since the electric power grid is not even required to maintain that temperature since the heat pump is not even needed to get 60 ° F. That comes free from the ground contact loop.

In fact it is even possible to eliminate the heat pump all together, and just use some simple alternative heat sources in winter, such as vacuum tube/ heat-pipe solar collectors connected to a hot water storage tank.

                       

       

Innovative, evacuated (vacuum) tube collectors, combined with heat pipes to act as thermal check- valves, to remove the collected heat, and swiftly transport the heat to a safe storage area, (before the heat re-radiation occurs) allow high temperature solar thermal collectors to produce high temperature water even on the coldest sunny winter days!

Such a system needs no fossil fuel or grid power whatsoever and adds an extra 10-15 ° F from previously captured solar heat to Virginia's free 60 ° F free-for the taking ground contact thermal resource.

The result is year-round, inexpensive, hassle-free heating and cooling comfort, immune to power outages, with no need for fossil fuel consumption, and with no electric bill to run a heat pump either



This technology works great and saves $$$ in fossil fuel costs.

Feel free to E-mail me if you have any questions.

With Best Regards,

Patrick Ward

FREE ENERGY

fossilfreedom@yahoo.com

 

 

 

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