Geothermal Heat Pump Buying Guide

A geothermal heat pump is one of the most efficient tools available to provide both heating and cooling without sacrificing comfort. The work effectively, and can last for decades. They are simply fantastic! Use our Geothermal Heat Pump Buying Guide to learn critical information about these great home system.


Geothermal Heat Pump Buying Guide

Ground-source technology delivers a lot of benefits:

  1. They take advantage of the relatively constant temperature environment only a few feet below the earth's surface.
  2. With the right set-up, all systems can heat, cool, and provide hot water.
  3. Geothermal tech is quieter, lasts longer, and operates more efficiently than air-source heat pumps.
  4. Many homeowners save enough money to equal the additional costs in 5 to 10 years.



Geothermal Heat Pump Components

Ground Loop

The ground loop forms an underground, closed pipe network. Filled with refrigerant or water, the ground loop allows the system to exchange heat in a stable sub-surface environment.


The pump component of a ground-source system houses the compressor and other necessary control components. It is housed inside in a mechanical room, attic, or basement. Unlike a heat pump condenser, a geothermal pump is never exposed to inclement weather.

Air Delivery

A forced air geothermal system uses a typical HVAC fan or blower to distribute the heated or cooled air through a duct network. Since most American homes already have ductwork, air delivery systems are common.


Desuperheater technology enables a geothermal installation to use some of the heat it generates to heat water for household use. Because geothermal can make heat as a byproduct, desuperheaters are a great way to save money on domestic water heating.

Auxiliary Electric Heater

Many ground-source units integrate an auxiliary electric heater into their overall design. The auxiliary heat can assist the system on the coldest days of the year. It is also a good idea to have an emergency heat source available if the regular system malfunctions.


Geothermal Heat Pump Installations

Closed-Loop Horizontal

A horizontal closed-loop installation uses a horizontal, parallel trench networks to house the underground pipe network. As a result, the configuration requires substantial surface area to install, and is most popular in rural or suburban areas.

Closed-Loop Vertical

Closed-loop vertical installations bury the refrigerant looping in vertical boreholes typically spaced a few meters apart. Consequently, they work well for space-premium sites, or locations with soil consistency not conducive to broad, shallow trenches.

Closed-Loop Pond/Lake

Sites in proximity to a pond, lake, or other body of water can opt for a closed-loop pond/lake installation. A pond/lake loop is similar to a horizontal loop. The difference being that in a pond/lake loop the piping is submerged underwater instead of being buried underground.


Open-loop geothermal installations are the most economical to set-up, and achieve the highest efficiency ratings in operation. However, many municipal regulations prevent such discharges, and they require access to a good supply and quality of well water.


Forced Air vs Water-to-Water

Forced air geothermal is the most common style of installation in North America. In this type of system, the ground-source equipment is connected to conventional ductwork. As a result, a blower or air handling unit pushes the conditioned air through the network to heat or cool.

Water-to-water systems operate differently. A water-to-water geothermal heat pump distributes a heated fluid to radiators or sub-floor pipes to spread heat throughout an interior space. Because of their high heating efficiency, water-to-water is popular in Northern Europe.


Still Have Questions?

We know you still may have questions our geothermal heat pump buying guide doesn't answer. Feel free to reach out to us via email, chat, or by phone. We'd be happy to answer any questions you have.

9 comments (view/add)
  • Steve
    Posted on 9/17/2020

    I am considering an open loop system. My current concern is the water quality of my potable well (it produces more than 30 gpm), What testing do I need? PH, TDS and iron seem like the basics. Are there others elements I should be testing for?

  • Dan Danowski
    Dan Danowski from Ingrams
    Posted on 9/21/2020

    Those would be the main things to test for. The install manual for a GeoCool unit show what you should test for on page 15. You can check it out here:

  • EUGENE j Hampton
    EUGENE j Hampton
    Posted on 7/16/2020

    if you have in floor heat can you cool that with geo thermal closed loop system

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 7/17/2020

    There are geothermal setups that can work with heated flooring systems, if that's what you're asking about.

  • Dipankar Sutradhar
    Dipankar Sutradhar
    Posted on 5/9/2020

    Hi Tommy McCutcheon, from a user or owner perspective, it means that since the compressor is single stage, it either runs - on or off; while 2 stage compressor has 2 mode (higher or lower stage), and can run full mode high stage when cooling/heating demand is high and lower stage just to maintain certain temperature. Therefore 2 stage can be more efficient of the two.

    I once found a YouTube video where it shows how it works by the 2 exit hole of the spiral compression mechanism. Quite interesting!

  • Tommy McCutcheon
    Tommy McCutcheon
    Posted on 4/11/2020

    Closed loop pond installation...!How do you keep fish out of geothermal heat pump?
    Also what is the difference between single stage and 2 stage units?

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 4/13/2020

    The loops are closed (i.e. - sealed), so fish could not get inside. A single stage unit has a single-stage compressor. A 2-stage has a 2-stage.

  • Kat Zee
    Kat Zee
    Posted on 10/6/2018

    So how much would a heating and cooling system cost for a 1325 sqft home in Southport, NC???? The duct work in the home is established and in good condition.

  • Kyle
    Kyle from Ingrams
    Posted on 10/9/2018

    How much? That depends a lot on the particular system you want to use, its capabilities, and how difficult (or not) the installation would be. Give us a call at 800-360-1569, and we can help you figure it out.

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