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Understanding the Types of Loops for Commercial Geothermal

geothermal-loopsNot many Toronto, ON, commercial HVAC contractors offer complete service to install, repair, and maintain ground-source heat pumps, i.e. geothermal heat pumps. But we do.

Not only are our commercial HVAC technicians experienced and skilled with geothermal services, we actively encourage our clients to look into the possibilities of using this alternative form of energy for climate control in their facilities. The benefits of geothermal systems are numerous—and they’re much more widely available than people often believe.

The Geothermal Loops

A reason commercial facility managers and owners often believe geothermal installation is out of their reach is because of the space requirements. Geothermal heat pumps use loops buried in the ground for heat transfer. This does take up space, but there are different loop configurations available that make geothermal systems more flexible about the amount of real estate they need.

There are four basic loop systems a commercial geothermal system can use:


This is the “default” configuration and the one most residential and commercial buildings use if they have enough space. These loops are buried down in trenches between 6 to 10 feet deep (depending on the frost line) that stretch under the property. They are basic to install, work at high efficiency, and are simple to repair when needed.


When a facility doesn’t have enough property around it for a horizontal loop system, the first alternative is a vertical configuration. The installers drill deep holes (from 100 to 400 feet) into the ground, then lower the loops into them. The loops are designed in U-shapes that are connected to each other at their tops. Although more work-intensive to install, vertical loops open up the possibilities for commercial geothermal.

Lake Loops

Yes, a geothermal system can also be a “hydrothermal” system that uses water as the medium for heat exchange. If a commercial facility is near to a body of water (it doesn’t have to be huge) the loops can be placed at least eight feet below the water’s surface. Even during a winter when the water freezes over, the loops have enough thermal energy to operate.

Open Loops

A type of loop that uses fresh water for heat transfer. The other systems we mentioned above are closed loop systems that circulate refrigerant (usually a water and antifreeze mixture). Open loops are connected to the water supply of the facility. These are rare in the Toronto area, however, because of the concern with freezing during the winter.

Consult With the Professionals

Don’t feel concerned if you are uncertain how best to put geothermal heating and cooling to work for your facility. No one expects you to be an expert on commercial geothermal power—that’s why you have people like us available. When you think making the switch to clean and efficient geothermal energy is a good option for your facility, schedule an appointment with us. One of our geothermal experts will guide you through the process of finding an energy-saving and eco-friendly solution.

Advantage Airtech Commercial Ltd. is the Double “A” name with the Triple “A” rating! Contact us for service in the Greater Toronto Area.

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