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Geothermal Solutions

Is Geothermal Your Best Option?

Have you considered a geothermal heating or cooling system for your Michigan home? We think you should, and to help you reach a conclusion that best fits your needs, we’re going to explain the meaning of the most common terms related togeothermal energy! If you have any questions after reading this article, or if you’d like a free, no-obligation evaluation in your home or business in the Ann Arbor or Dexter area, please call us today!

Geothermal Heat Pumps

A “geothermal heat pump” is a climate control system that pumps heat to or from the ground. Because the ground below a certain level stays at a fairly consistent temperature throughout the year, it can be a heat source in the winter and a “heat sink” in the summer. To do these things, the heat pump is connected to some kind of heat exchanger. That can be a long series of tubes installed underground or even a similar set of tubes underwater in a lake or pond.

What is a “Closed Loop” or “Ground Loop” Geothermal System?

Closed Loop refers to the fact that the fluid in the pipes – buried underground or underwater– is circulated in a loop from theheat pump through the length of the pipes, and back to the heat pump. The fluid, which could be antifreeze or some similar solution,  stays entirely within the “closed loop.” A Ground Loop system is simply a closed loop system that is buried under the ground. 

What is an “Open Loop” “Water to Water” or “Pump and Dump” Geothermal System?

Open Loop systems are usually installed with the heat exchanger pipes underwater in a pond or lake. The fluid (in this case, water) is pumped through the system and out the end of the discharge pipe. Water from the pond or lake is pumped in through the intake pipe and back to the heat pump, where its temperature helps to cool the building in the summer or heat it in the winter. This is sometimes called a “Water to Water” Geothermal System.
One type of Open Loop system is called “Pump and Dump.” Pump and Dump simply means that water is pumped in from some nearby source (such as a pond, lake, or underground aquifer), and then “dumped” back, either on the ground or into the same source after it has passed through the system. 

Vertical Closed Loop

A “Vertical Closed Loop” is one that is buried underground, often extending as far as 200 feet down. The holes surrounding the pipes of the heat exchanger are filled with some material to help transfer heat or cold into the fluid contained within the pipes, sometimes called “grout.” Because the pipes are buried vertically instead of spread out over a large area, these Vertical Closed Loop systems can be installed with a much smaller “footprint” than Horizontal Loop Systems. In cities and towns that allowgeothermal systems, these Horizontal Systems are often the best choice for homeowners.

What are some Popular Brands of Geothermal Systems?

Some of the best known brands available in Michigan are ClimateMaster, Florida Heat Pump, and Water Furnace. These brands are available through CMR Mechanical here in Dexter, Michigan, and we would be happy to meet with you to discuss the benefits of each brand. We’ll guide you to determine which best suits your needs. 

30% Geothermal Tax Credit

One important thing to consider if you trying to decide whether to install geothermal or some other form of heating and cooling system in your home or business is that there is currently a 30-percent tax credit available through the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 [also known as HR 1424]. There are a few important details to understand, such as the fact that units installed in 2008 are subject to a $2000 cap on the tax credit, but units installed between 2009 and 2016 can apply for the full credit. This information is provided as a guide only, and is not intended as tax advice. To fully understand how the tax credit works and whether you are eligible, please consult your tax professional.

We’re happy to help! Please contact us today to discuss any of these terms: Geothermalgeothermal heating or cooling systemgeothermal energyGeothermal Heat PumpsClosed LoopGround LoopOpen LoopWater to WaterPump and DumpVertical Closed LoopHorizontal Loop SystemsClimateMasterFlorida Heat PumpWater Furnace, or the 30% Geothermal Tax Credit.