Scandia Contractors

John-David Thulin
       Southampton, New York
           (631) 259-3374


The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the United States federal government has approved a 30% tax credit for homeowners installing a qualified geothermal system from 2008 to 2016. Unlike prior legislation, there is no maximum credit amount. There truly has never been a better time to install a geothermal heating and cooling system.


Welcome to the world of geothermal technology- the best thing that's happened to the heating and cooling industry in 50 years! Do you realize you own the minerals rights, the oil rights and the water rights under your home? But you probably don't realize you also own the "heat" under your home. Here is your opportunity to capitalize on this commodity and rid you and your family of the high cost of conventional heating and cooling systems, which are projected to increase steadily in the future. We can show you how to decrease your energy costs and provide your family with the comfort they deserve while doing something positive for the environment.

I'm sure by now you've researched geothermal systems enough to realize some basic concepts. Let's review them. Geothermal systems have 3 components:

  1. the earth heat exchanger,
  2. the heat pump (a vapor compression machine much like your own kitchen refrigerator),
  3. the distribution system (how the heating and cooling is delivered into your home)

For now, let's focus on the earth heat exchanger, the component that raises the most questions such as "which one is right for my situation?" Here is where the transfer of earth energy takes place, the most distinguishing factor that sets geothermal apart from all other heating and cooling systems. Presently, there are 6 types of earth heat exchangers, broken down into two broad categories- "closed" (four types) and "open" (two types

A common element to all closed systems is that water is circulated in plastic pipes with no direct physical contact with the earth, therefore it is considered closed. Open loop systems, on the other hand, are not self contained. There are four types. Vertical (holes are drilled into the ground from 150-200 feet in length depending on your geographic location and soil conditions) Horizontal (plastic pipe is laid out into trenches) Slinky™ (stretched out coils of plastic pipe is laid into trenches) Lake (coils of plastic pipe which are submerged into a lake).

In open systems, ground water from water well is pumped directly through the geothermal heat pump. System efficiencies are higher compared to closed, but water quality could be a maintenance issue. There are 2 types of open systems:

  1. Supply/return
  2. Standing column

Supply/return method is basically two common water wells. One well has a pump and the other well acts as a conduit to enable the water to recharge back down to the aquifer. Standing columns are actually considered a hybrid, combining both open and closed system, and require a 6" or greater diameter cased well where water is pumped from the upper portion and recharged back down to the bottom.

Here is where the "tires meet the road". There are many variables to consider when choosing a geothermal heat exchanger and your specific geographic location usually dictates the type of ground heat exchanger for your area. Some areas will have more than one choice, the decision will then be logistic or financial. In the northeast, vertical loops are very commonly used for applications ranging from large residential to commercial installations. However, in locations with an ample supply of acceptable quality ground water an open system may be considered and in areas where trenching is uncomplicated, a horizontal or Slinky™ loop may be used.

Soil conditions can also vary dramatically from region to region and state to state. For example, in parts of New Hampshire (the granite state) drilling vertical loops or using standing columns are practical and the norm. However, Southern New Jersey is ideal for horizontal or Slinky™ installations due to the ease of excavating or trenching, and Long Island, NY is ideal for open systems. (I have been successfully running 2 heat pumps for 10 years with no maintenance issues)

Remember, geothermal ground heat exchangers are regionally and geographically specific. What works in Oklahoma may not apply in New York. We can offer advice on helping you decide which ground exchanger is right for your application. In addition, you can access our geothermal network of professional HVAC contractors and well drillers.

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