Horizontal loop questions

Discussion in 'Vertical and Horizontal Loops' started by Jim P, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. Jim P

    Jim P New Member

    I am kicking around installing a geothermal system myself and I am planning to use an open loop system. Just in case that the open loop doesn't work out for some reason, I want to be prepared to install a horizontal loop.

    I have plenty of pasture land right behind my house to install the system so that will not be a problem. I also have a backhoe and a trencher so digging will also not be a problem. My 14 year old son loves to operate equipment so telling him to go out and dig some lines would be like telling most kids to go and play their playstations.

    So basically all I will have in this is the price of the pipe and pump system and a little fuel. Is there any real drawbacks to having more pipe that you actually need other than cost?

    I have read where they usually use HDPE pipe. I was just wondering why they don't the usual poly pipe like you use for underground water lines?

    Also I see where most people use around a 600 foot loop of pipe for 3/4 inch pipe for each ton And the loops are connected to an 1 1/4 manifold pipe underground before it goes to the house. If it is not very far from the house to the geo field, why couldn't you just run all the 3/4 lines into the house and connect to a manifold inside. This way, if one got a leak or something, you could just shut that one off until you got a new one installed.

    Also I see where a lot of these trenches are 6 feet deep going out and they return at 4 feet deep. I would think that you would want it the opposite. It would seem to me that you would want the water to be as warm as can be just before it returns to the house in the winter. And the warmest ground would be at 6 feet not 4 feet. I am not talking slinky loops here, just straight runs. Wouldn't it actually be better to run both lines at 6 feet deep ? My property is 500 feet wide and 1000 feet deep so I really don't care how much area it takes up. I just want it to be effecient.
  2. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I think you....

    are long on your loop length. For at least two reasons:

    First in my AO, which includes your location, 300 feet of 3/4 inch pipe works very well. A call to any local excavator or an hour with your budding operating engineer would answer the question of what is in the ground at a foot or so below your local foundation/frost line depth.

    Second that length of each loop determines what the pumping requirements will be.

    I recently found and used a PVC manifold with compression fittings for the loop connections, complete with balancing valves. They where not cheap but priced reasonably enough to use. I wanted to put them, (two 5-ton systems) in a vault, but since the customer is always right they got direct buried after our leak testing.

    We did a job with Perry Shoemaker in a pasture near Dayton. Perry did the digging and used a 24 inch bucket on the hoe we went out and back in the corners. Nice job and works well.

    I like to be able to get to any joints in my projects that could leak so if they do repairs can be made. Given that preference and the proximity of the house to the proposed field your idea is a good one and very doable.

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