Loop Placement Question

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by mntnvew, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. mntnvew

    mntnvew New Member

    Can anyone confirm my common sense quandry below please :)

    If I were to place the horizontal loop in an area that in the winter is covered by large snow drifts, would my performance decrease over putting the loop in an area that does not get covered by snow drifts. In SW Montana where i live we get powerful winds in the winter and my trees cause 5-10 foot snow drifts, but all the other part of my 20 acres is not treed so the snow just falls one day and blows away the next.

    Everything I have read thus far said performance is crucial in this type of system, so I figured dumb questions are acceptable as it seems logical to me that if the sun can get to the ground even on wintery days, it would absorb heat better then the area covered in 5 feet of snow. I guess I question myself because the loop is so far in the ground, does it in fact really have any true effect.

    Thanks in advance!!!!
  2. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Good question. Here is my opinion (in other words, open invitation to others here to concur / refute):

    Oddly enough, effect of snow on a relatively shallow horizontal loop should be opposite of what you fear.

    Snow is a fairly good insulator. In dead of winter you want horizontal loop to suck heat from ground and not be cooled by bitter cold air hitting surface soil (such as the cold air common during cold snaps immediately after winter snow storms).

    So I think deep snow would help, not hurt.

    That said, insure your system and loop are properly designed for your specific house, climate, and soil characteristics. Then you'll be able to ignore snow and cold snaps.
  3. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Tough to really factor in a design

    Granted there are some W/m2 the sun supplies to the earth - the real source of geothermal.

    In the end, I would think it would have little impact. The additional moisture during melt might be the most beneficial feature.
  4. Palace GeoThermal

    Palace GeoThermal Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I would go for the snow cover for the reasons previously stated.

    Sun shining on frozen ground will not give you much benefit, a couple of feet of snow can actually keep the ground from freezing,
  5. rw1995

    rw1995 Member

    Snow covered areas is the place to dig. The excavator that did my work loves a few inches of snow on the ground at the end of his season. It insulates the ground enough to give him a few more weeks of working time before the frost sets in too deep.

    Its probably not going to be a huge difference, but I would think if you can delay the temps a few weeks from sinking into the ground the better you are in the long run. The moisture from the melt cannot hurt anything either.
  6. mntnvew

    mntnvew New Member

    thanks everyone

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