What is the Fluid in a Geothermal Ground Loop, and is it safe?
What Geothermal Fluid is Used in the Ground Loop?
There are two commonly used types of fluids that can be circulated through the ground loop system. The Standard Geothermal uses a mix of water, antifreeze (Propylene Glycol), and refrigerant. While, the Waterless Geothermal System uses R-410A refrigerant.
Is the Loop Fluid Environmentally Safe?
The fluid that circulates both inside the geothermal unit and throughout the copper ground loop is R-410A refrigerant (often referred to as Freon), which is environmentally safe. This refrigerant happens to be the same refrigerant that circulates through the unit inside of your home for every water source geothermal manufactured today. This refrigerant is safe, non-toxic, and a non-flammable fluid. The EPA has approved the refrigerant and copper ground loop to be safe and environmentally friendly to the earth (see EPA Statements below) compared to the conventional closed loop water geothermal system that uses antifreeze, which can be very harmful to our ground water.
Although there is a chance that R-410A refrigerant could leak in the ground, it’s not dangerous for the environment. The R-410A simply boils into a vaporized gas at -46°F, so even in the event of a leak, once it comes in contact with the 55°F ground surrounding the loop it will vaporize and pose no threat to the ground or groundwater.
As a testament to its safety, think about your household refrigerator. For more than 50 years a household refrigerator has been susceptible to spring a leak in the coil. If a leak were to happen, the refrigerant would leak into the freezer compartment where the food is being stored. It could take days or even months before you might realize that the refrigerator is getting warmer and has a leak. However, if the food was exposed to the refrigerant it can still be consumed without any harm to anyone.
EPA Statements of R-410A Refrigerant Safety
EPA Statement- Refrigerant: “There is no reason why it (refrigerant) cannot also be used with confidence in underground heat exchangers as part of a DX (waterless geothermal) system.”
EPA Statement- Ground Loop (Underground Heat Exchanger): “R-410A (refrigerant) is also a nontoxic, inert gas, posing no direct health threat to humans- nor to groundwater– and it can be used with confidence in underground heat exchangers as part of a DX (Waterless Geothermal) System.”
Here at Buschur’s Refrigeration we sell and install the most efficient residential geothermal systems around. Our geothermal system is innovative and state-of-the-art technology, that distributes heating and cooling when you need it, while saving you many dollars on energy, and saving the environment. Want more details? Contact us today, and our team of Geothermal Specialists can help you find the geothermal solution that works best for you!
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