Geothermal technology is becoming increasingly popular as homeowners look for more efficient and eco-friendly ways to heat and cool their homes. One key component of a geothermal system is the ground loop, which is responsible for transferring heat to and from the earth. If you’re considering a geothermal system for your home, talk to Doc Dancer. In this blog, we’ll explain how long geothermal ground loops last as well as the factors that can affect their lifespan.
Geothermal Heat Pump vs. Geothermal Ground Loop Lifespan
First, it’s important to note that the geothermal ground loop lifespan is much different than the lifespan of the actual geothermal heat pump unit. Geothermal heat pumps and ground loop systems work together to provide heating and cooling for your home. While the geothermal heat pump typically has a lifespan of around 20 to 25 years, the ground loop can last much longer than that – 50 years or more! This is great since the ground loops are buried underground which can make them expensive to unbury and replace.
Types of Geothermal Ground Loops
There are several types of geothermal ground loops, but the most common are horizontal and vertical. Horizontal loops are installed in trenches that are dug horizontally in the ground, while vertical loops are installed by drilling a series of boreholes vertically into the earth. The type of loop you choose will depend on factors such as the size of your property and the soil and rock conditions in your area.
Why Do Geothermal Ground Loops Tend to Last So Long?
It’s no secret that geothermal systems are known for their longevity and sustainability. But what exactly makes geothermal ground loops last for decades?
The first factor to consider is the materials used in the construction of geothermal ground loops. These loops are typically made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is an incredibly durable and strong material that can withstand extreme temperatures, water exposure, and even acidic soil conditions. HDPE is also resistant to oxidation, corrosion, and other types of chemical degradation, which means that it will not rust or deteriorate over time.
Another reason why geothermal ground loops last so long is their installation depth. When installed properly, the loops are buried deep underground where they are insulated from the harsh weather conditions above. The earth’s temperature remains constant at a depth of 6 to 8 feet, which means that the ground loops are not exposed to drastic temperature changes that could cause them to expand or contract too much. This lack of movement prevents stress on the loop and helps to preserve its longevity.
Furthermore, geothermal ground loops are typically installed using a horizontally coiled configuration which maximizes the surface area in contact with the earth. This increased surface area provides greater heat transfer potential, making the system more efficient and less prone to damage or wear and tear.
Finally, it’s important to consider the maintenance requirements of geothermal ground loops compared to traditional HVAC systems. Since the loops are buried underground, they are not exposed to the elements and do not require ongoing maintenance to keep them functional. This lack of maintenance ensures that the loops remain intact and capable of functioning at an optimal level for many years to come.
Factors Affecting Ground Loop Lifespan
While they can operate for decades, there are several factors that can potentially shorten how long geothermal ground loops can last. One of the most common issues is mineral buildup in the loop’s piping. Over time, minerals in the circulating water can accumulate on the inside of the pipes, restricting flow and reducing efficiency. This buildup can be prevented by flushing the system with a descaling solution every few years.
Another potential issue that could cause damage to your geothermal heat pump systems’ ground loops is damage to the piping from external sources. This could include damage from tree roots, excavation work, or even animals digging near the loop. It’s important to keep an eye on the area around your ground loop to ensure that there are no signs of damage.
Finally, the type of soil in your area can also have an impact on how long geothermal ground loops can potentially last. In areas with very rocky or sandy soil, the loop may need to be installed deeper in the ground to avoid damage from shifting soil. In areas with high levels of acidity in the soil, a special type of ground loop piping may be required to prevent corrosion.
Talk to Doc Dancer About Adding A Geothermal Heat Pump System To Your Fort Wayne, IN Home
If you’re considering a geothermal system for your home, it’s important to understand the lifespan of the ground loop and the factors that can impact its longevity. While ground loops can last for decades, taking the steps to protect them from mineral buildup, damage, and other potential issues can help protect their longevity. By working with Doc Dancer Heating & Air for geothermal system installation and staying on top of regular geothermal heat pump maintenance, you can enjoy an efficient and eco-friendly heating and cooling solution for many years to come. Contact us today to get started!