Piping and Valves

Locating a Geothermal Heating System

What is a geothermal heating system?

During the heating cycle, a geothermal heat pump uses the earth loop to extract heat from the ground. As the system pulls heat from the loop it distributes it through a conventional duct system as warm air. The same heat energy can also be used for a radiant floor system or domestic hot water heating.

Geothermal Heating System Types

Open-loop Geothermal Heating system

Open Loop Geothermal Heating System An open-loop geothermal heating system draws ground water from an extraction or supply well, passes it through a heating system, and discharges the temperature-altered water either back to the ground in a return well. See figure above from Ohio Water Resources Council.

Closed-loop Geothermal Heating system

Closed Loop Geothermal Heating System A closed-loop geothermal heating system circulates a heat transfer fluid, usually a mixture of water combined with an antifreeze additive, through a loop or multiple loops of piping installed below ground or within a surface water body without the withdrawal of ground water.

Geothermal Heating System Issues

Geothermal has become very popular throughout the country. For us locators, it has become a very difficult utility to locate when a tracer wire is not installed.

ALWAYS USE A TRACER WIRE on any geothermal heating system


Just like the pictures above, a homeowner installed the system, now needs to dig, and called us to locate it. Unfortunately, we were unable to locate it because there was no tracer wire. We attempted to locate it with ground penetrating radar (GPR), but the land was regraded and covered with several feet of clay, making the GPR signal impenetrable.

The Moral of the Story

The moral of the story is: ALWAYS USE A TRACER WIRE on any geothermal system, commercial or residential! It makes locating it a breeze when needed. Tracer wire is designed specifically to detect and locate geothermal lines in the event that they need to be found.

This was the case with the residential job we did in Roaring Springs, PA. Tracer wire comes in a variety of jacket colors, tensile strengths, and lengths to accommodate any job.

What do you need located? Contact us today for a quote.

Locating a Geothermal Heating System
Article Name
Locating a Geothermal Heating System
For us locators, a Geothermal Heating System has become a very difficult utility to locate when a tracer wire is not installed.