Frequently Asked Questions About Geo
What is a Waterless™ Direct Exchange (DX) Geothermal system?
A Direct Exchange (DX) Geothermal system can operate off of only electricity, and does not require the use of any fossil fuels. The simple and efficient Waterless™ DX Geothermal System uses refrigerant and a reliable copper ground loop to transfer heat from below the ground. As the name implies, there is a direct exchange of energy that occurs when heat from the ground is transferred to the refrigerant circulating throughout the ground loop. The same refrigerant that picks up the heat from the ground is then sent through a heat exchanger inside your home or building which will then transfer that heat directly to the air being sent to each room.
Since a DX geothermal only requires the environmentally safe refrigerant, as opposed to other systems that require refrigerant, antifreeze, and water, it eliminates the use of a secondary heat exchanger along with any water circulating pumps, and of course also eliminating the extra electricity for the water pumps.
This allows you to have peace of mind knowing you won’t have to repair the system due to the water-related problems of a traditional geothermal design.
Why do Waterless™ DX Geothermal systems use copper loops instead of plastic loops?
Copper has a natural advantage over plastic. As a highly conductive material, copper is one of the best methods of transferring heat which allows it to be a much more efficient ground loop heat exchanger. Copper’s thermal conductivity (k) rate is more than 600 times greater than plastic, it’s this capability that allows copper to maximize the earth’s heat for your home. As a result, smaller diameter earth loops with smaller less expensive holes to be drilled compared to plastic pipe alternatives.
Can I replace my existing standard geothermal plastic ground loop with a copper ground loop?
No, A water geothermal system is designed to pump water through the plastic ground loop, whereas in a Waterless™ DX Geothermal design, It pumps refrigerant through copper tubing.
Can a Waterless™ DX Geothermal System heat and cool my home?
Absolutely! The functionality and versatility of a DX geo system allows the system to both heat and cool your home efficiently. With the press of a button on your indoor thermostat you are able to control whether the geothermal system is in heating mode or cooling mode.
Is the Refrigerant in the ground loop safe to use in the ground?
Yes! Waterless™ DX Geothermal uses an EPA approved, environmentally friendly refrigerant (freon). Both Direct Exchange (DX) and Water Source Geothermal systems use refrigerant in their systems.
According to the EPA, “Refrigerant is also a non toxic, inert gas, posing no direct health threat to humans–nor to ground water–and it can be used with confidence in underground heat exchangers as a part of a DX System.”
Refrigerant has been around for over 50 years. It’s even used in coolers at the grocery store where our food remains safe to consume even after it’s been exposed to refrigerant leaks.
Can a Waterless™ DX Geothermal System heat my water?
Hot water is one of the add-on benefits a Direct Exchange (DX) geothermal system can provide! If you want, a hot water desuperheater (heat exchanger) can be built into your systems design. It moves the excess heat from the refrigerant to your hot water tank allowing you to supply hot water to your home.
A hot water desuperheater will generally provide 120°F water and can supply most of the domestic water needs depending on the amount of consumption. The cost of water through the use of a desuperheater is pennies a day or can even be free.
Will I need to increase my electrical service?
Most homes already have adequate electrical service. Check with your certified contractor to verify whether or not your electrical service is able to operate a geothermal system.
Where do the Waterless™ DX Geothermal Systems indoor units get installed?
Almost all of the Waterless™ DX Geothermal systems are installed indoors, usually in a utility room, garage, or basement. This is appealing to our customers because it frees up outdoor space, which allows for better architectural design and yard usage. As well as keeping the unit protected from any dangerous outdoor conditions that may exist.
The system has a very quiet operation. It’s very quiet and provides a pleasant environment inside of the home. There are no noisy fan units to disturb your regular activities.
Is the Waterless™ DX Geothermal System good for the environment?
Yes! This is because it works with nature, not against it. The system is also extremely clean. It emits no greenhouse gases and doesn’t create heat by burning fossil fuels, which is what a conventional furnace does. It simply moves heat from one place to another. This means no pollutants are added to the air.
Since a DX system does not depend on burning fossil fuels for heat, installing one into your home is equivalent to planting 750 trees or permanently removing 2 cars off the road.
Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy have determined ground source heat pumps have the lowest environmental impact of all heating systems and they reduce consumption and corresponding emissions up to 75%.
Will a Waterless™ DX Geothermal System add value to my home?
As green building practices gain attention because of their ability to offer energy saving and lower utility bills, updated guidelines provide real estate appraisers with a method of documenting energy efficient upgrades, including geothermal energy. This allows them to better evaluate the values of green homes.
Both home appraisers and real-estate agents are educated and acknowledge a geothermal system as a renewable energy source with greater value. The EPA has stated that geothermal systems can increase the value of a home $20 for every dollar saved in heating costs per year. Allowing your home to be much more appealing for resell.
Will a Waterless™ DX Geothermal System provide enough heat for the home?
Yes! A good contractor will provide you with several best practices before installation, including a Manual J computerized heat load calculation. This allows them to design a system that is perfectly built for your home or building and ensures your Waterless™ DX Geothermal System provides enough heat.
Does a Waterless™ DX Geothermal System copper loops hold up in acidic soil?
Each copper earth loop is pre-assembled and pressure-tested at high pressures to assure the highest quality and promote easy installation. The longevity of copper is assured due to its resistance to corrosion. A Ground Loop Protection System is also offered, which is an optimized version of the methods used to protect steel gas pipelines that are buried throughout the country as well as buried bridge beams, and underground storage tanks.
How new is the Waterless™ DX Geothermal system?
There is actually nothing new about the Waterless™ DX Geothermal system! The first system that used direct exchange technology was installed in 1945 by Robert Webber in Indianapolis, Indiana. The same system was still in use until 1991.
Bill Loosely also installed a DX Geothermal System in his residence in Burlington, Ontario in 1950. Confirming the oldest operating DX Geothermal system lasting for over 59 years.
The Direct Exchange (DX) geothermal system has been proven one of the most efficient geothermal systems and can produce four to five times more energy than it consumes. While it’s an innovative technology, it’s anything but new.
Can I use my existing equipment and ductwork?
Yes and No, all contractors must perform a heat load calculation to determine if the ductwork can be utilized.
It also depends on the age of the system and your current ductwork. Most systems are sized to the cooling load, not the heating load. Therefore, ductwork may need to be installed in homes that don’t have existing or adequate air distribution system. Your home should be assessed by a contractor who can tell you the requirements and modifications needed to make it the most efficient.
Does the Waterless™ DX Geothermal system require much maintenance?
There are a few minor things in order to prolong the systems life. For example, routine maintenance such as changing the filters for the air handler. It is recommended that a trained professional checks the system two years after installation. Service dates can be discussed after that point.
What types of loops are available?
All Direct Exchange (DX) geothermal options are closed loop. Depending on property type there are 5 loop configurations that consist of diagonal loop, vertical loop, horizontal trench, and horizontal bore loop types.
Do I need separate earth loops for heating and cooling?
No! The same loop works for both. It’s simply changing your indoor thermostat setting from heating to cooling, or vice versa that reverses the flow of heat.
What is a closed loop system?
A closed loop system uses continuous loop of buried copper pipe, through which an environmentally friendly refrigerant is circulated. The pipe is then connected to the indoor heat pump.
How long do copper loops last?
When installed properly, copper loops can last for many generations. Copper is one of the few metals that exists naturally in the earth as an element today. It is also a stable metal and is non-corrosive in most soil conditions.
Will the ground loops affect my lawn or landscape?
No, copper loops have been proven to have no adverse effect on grass, tree, or shrubs. Initially there will be bare areas in the ground from inserting the loops into the bore holes, but these can be restored by planting seed or sod. The vertical/diagonal loop design requires less space than a horizontal loop design, resulting in less of the homeowner’s yard being tore up.
How do I know if the dealer and loop installers are qualified?
There are a couple ways to ensure dealers and installers are qualified. First, ask for references and for any certifications they have. You can also check to see if they are members of International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA), and Energy Star. It’s also important to ask your contractor for any referrals of past installs that you can reach out to.