Geothermal Energy Systems

FAQ

Inquiring Minds

What is a “Direct Exchange” or “GeoExchange” heat pump?

The sun’s rays warm the earth every day. That energy is stored in the shallow earth and maintains a constant temperature in the ground. GeoExchange technology uses the earth’s renewable energy, just below the surface, to heat or cool a home or other building, and to help provide domestic hot water. It’s sometimes referred to as a geothermal or ground source heat pump.

What sets EarthLinked apart from water-source geothermal systems?

An EarthLinked System uses only copper in its earth loops to directly contact the heat source, thereby transferring more heat to the building in winter and from the building to the earth in the summer. Operating and maintenance costs are lower since the water circulating loop and intermediate heat exchanger are eliminated. Because it displaces much less earth for its smaller copper loops, the Earthlinked System creates a smaller footprint on your property and a lower impact on the environment and your budget.

How long have EarthLinked systems been operating?

In 1980, EarthLinked Technologies began research and development of EarthLinked systems. In 1985, field demonstrations began for six electric utilities from Florida to Michigan. Marketing commenced in 1992. See company history.

Geothermal earth loop systemWhat effect does EarthLinked have on the environment?

U.S. EPA and DOE have determined that ground source heat pumps have the lowest environmental impact of all heating systems and they reduce energy consumption and corresponding emissions up to 75% when compared to electric heat strips and standard air conditioning. The refrigerant used by EarthLinked is non toxic, and is the same as that which is currently used by a majority of the HVAC industry.

How long will the earth loops last?

Copper is one of the few metals that exist naturally as an element in the earth. It is essentially immune to corrosion in most underground environments because of the protective film that forms naturally on its surface. In rare exceptions where pH readings exceed safe levels, cathodic protection for the in-ground copper is offered by ETI. With some installations dating back to 1980, ETI has never experienced a field failure of the copper pipe due to corrosion or mechanical damage.

How do the earth loops work?

The standard compressor circulates refrigerant through the earth loops (with sufficient velocity to transport the lubricating oil through the system) while it is heating in the winter or reversing the flow for cooling in the summer. Its patented refrigerant flow controls assure a flooded evaporator condition and full utilization of the condenser for optimum efficiency under all operating conditions.

Drill RigHow is the earth loop system installed?

Earth Loops can be installed vertically or diagonally using small bore drilling equipment, or horizontally in pits or trenches.

How long does it take to install the earth loops?

Loops for a 3-ton system in pits and trenches can be installed in a single day. Loops using vertical and diagonal bores can be installed in two days.

Where is the compressor unit installed?

Because the EarthLinked system does not require an outdoor coil and fan, the compressor unit can be located in a basement, utility room, garage or outdoors. A fully enclosed, well insulated cabinet assures quiet operation.

Can the system be used to heat water?

Yes. The EarthLinked water heating options include desuperheating (providing “free” hot water in the cooling mode) and integrated “on-demand” for year-round domestic hot water. The system can also provide hot water for radiant in-floor heating. With additional equipment, an EarthLinked geothermal system is able to keep a recreational pool warm and ready for use.

Is EarthLinked AHRI certified and Energy Star listed?

Logo StripYes. The EarthLinked system is rated according to AHRI (the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute) Standard 870 for Direct GeoExchange Heat Pumps. The average heating COP is 3.9, with a cooling mode EER of 17. The system is ETL safety listed and qualified under the EPA Energy Star® program standards. See EarthLinked’s Certification Statement.

Will EarthLinked Technologies be installing my system?

No, EarthLinked manufactures the geothermal system. Independent contractors in your area are trained and authorized to sell, install and maintain your EarthLinked geothermal system.

Are there any financial incentives in place?

Yes, the EarthLinked System uses only one unit of electricity to move up to five units of cooling or heating from the stored solar energy in the earth. As a renewable energy product, the EarthLinked System allows you to take advantage of up to a 30% federal tax credit for residential installations, and 10% for commercial installations, as well as other local and state incentives, rebates and financing. Learn more.