Geothermal Heating and Cooling FAQ
Providing Energy Efficient Systems and Geothermal Units for Over 20 Years
For over 20 years Hoffmann Brothers has been installing and servicing energy efficient and geothermal systems throughout the St. Louis, Missouri Metropolitan Area. We hope that you find the following information helpful. If you don’t find the answers you need here, please Contact Us to discuss your case or arrange a free consultation about your work injury claim.
Geothermal Heat Pump Installation Questions
How much space does a geothermal system require?
The geothermal heat pump unit inside the home is about the same size as a traditional heating and cooling unit. Most of the rest of the installation is buried underground so it depends on which system is used.
Can geothermal systems be used for commercial buildings or apartment complexes?
Yes, multiple systems can be installed by hooking them up to an array of buried vertical or horizontal loops, thus simplifying zone control and internal load balancing.

Are Geothermal heat pump systems difficult to install?

Most units are easy to install, especially when they are replacing another forced-air system. This is known as a retrofit. Geothermal heat pumps can be installed in areas unsuitable for fossil fuel furnaces because there is no combustion and thus no need to vent exhaust fumes. Ductwork must be installed in homes without an existing air distribution system. Your dealer or installer can assess the cost of installing ductwork. 

Can I install a geothermal heat pump system myself?

It's not recommended. Thermal fusion of the pipe, drilling and trenching are procedures best handled by licensed professionals. Non professional installations may result in less than optimum performance, which could cancel out anticipation savings.

How far apart are trenches and vertical boreholes spaced?

Trences are spaced four to five feet apart while boreholes are spaced ten to fifteen feet apart.

How long does it take to install a horizontal geothermal system?

This depends on soil conditions, length and depth of pipe, and equipment required. A typical installation can be completed in one or two days.

How long does it take to install a vertical geothermal system?

With the veritcal installation, time varies with conditions on the site such as type and depth of the overburden, type and hardness of the bedrock, and the presence of aquifers. Typical drilling times are one or two days; total installation can usually be accomplished in two days.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the horizontal and vertical installations, respectively?

Horizontal installations are simpler, requiring lower cost equipment. However, they requre longer lengths of pipe due to seasonal variations in soil temperature and moisture content. Since a horizontal heat exchanger is laid out in trenches, a larger area is usually required than for a vertical geothermal system. Where land is limited, vertical installatins or hotizontal installation can be ideal. If regional soil conditions include extensive hard rock, a verical installation may be the only available choice. Vertical installations tend to be more expensive due to the increased cost of drilling versus trenching, but since the heat exchanger is buried deeper than with a horizontal system, veritcal systems are usually more efficient and can get by with less total pipe. Your geothermal contractor at Hoffmann Brothers will be able to help you decide which configuration best meets your specific needs.