Horizontal Loop vs Vertical Loop

The element that separates a geothermal hvac system from a traditional air to air heat pump installation is the underground loop field the air or antifreeze travels through.  This is the key component to any geothermal system installation in the St Louis area.  These underground fields are categorized into two models: A Horizontal Loop Geothermal Field and a Vertical Loop Geothermal Field.

Quick Summary of a Geothermal System

Geothermal systems consist of two primary components.

  1. Geothermal Heat Pump
  2. Geothermal Loop Field

The heat pump feeds air in and out of the loop field as the loop field transitions air underground to heat or cool based on the season.

horizontal loop vs vertical loop geothermal heating and cooling

Horizontal Loop Geothermal Field

Horizontal loop fields are commonly found in geothermal systems installed in more rural areas.  This is due to the amount of land required when constructing a horizontal loop geothermal system.  Sometimes horizontal loops can cost customers less to install due to less drilling required.  The trenches required to install a horizontal loop only need to be 2-3 feet deep (although optimum levels are thought to be 6-10 feet deep), or below the freeze line.

horizontal geothermal loop system

Advantages of a Horizontal Ground Loop

  • Considered to be more efficient than vertical ground loops
  • Can cost considerably less to install
  • Commonly thought to be easier to maintenance

Disadvantages of a Horizontal Ground Loop

  • Require much more space than a vertical ground loop
  • Require more piping
  • Tends to require more invasive drilling over a larger area of land

Areas Around St Louis Horizontal Ground Loop Geothermal Systems Are Common

  • St Charles, MO
  • St Peters, MO
  • Lake Saint Louis, MO
  • Wentzville, MO

Vertical Loop Geothermal Field

As you move from rural to urban areas, vertical loop fields become much more common in residential geothermal system installation.  The number one factor for this is available land.  Many homes in suburban and urban St Louis area do not sit on a large enough plot of land to install a horizontal loop system, but with new drilling technology, geothermal system installation is available through a vertical loop geothermal system.  With a vertical ground loop, geothermal contractors look to install the loop deep as opposed to a horizontal ground loop system which are installed wide.

Advantages of Vertical Ground Loop

  • Require less land to install
  • Require less piping to install
  • When installed properly, can be just as efficient as a horizontal ground loop

Disadvantages of a Vertical Ground Loop

  • Often cost more during installation due to drilling being required
  • When not installed properly, can be less efficient as a horizontal ground loop
  • In some cases require more pumping power
vertical loop geothermal system

Areas Around St Louis that Vertical Ground Loop Geothermal Systems are Common

  • Richmond Heights, MO
  • Sunset Hills, MO
  • Fenton, MO

Schedule Free Geothermal HVAC System Estimate

Vitt Heating and Cooling Offers Free Geothermal Assessments

If you have any questions regarding geothermal system installation in the St Louis area, give the geothermal experts at Vitt Heating and Cooling a call today for a free in person geothermal consultation.  Our phone number is (314) 351-5580.