Horizontal Trench Loops
If adequate land is available, horizontal loops can be installed. Trenches are dug using a backhoe or chain
trencher. Polyethylene pipes are inserted and the trenches are backfilled. There are various designs of horizontal
loops, using one, two or three circuits per trench. The more pipes in each trench, the shorter the trench can be.
Trenches normally range from 100 to 300 feet depending on the design.
A typical home requires 1⁄4 to 3⁄4 of an acre for the trenches. A variation on the horizontal loop is the
horizontal bore loop. This type of loop is most often used in a retrofit situation to minimize disruption to the
landscape. It requires special equipment to bore holes horizontally under the surface. The operator can “steer” the
drill head to go deeper or shallower, or turn right or left.
This machine drills at a slight angle down to a typical depth of 10-12 ft., then back to the surface, typically
200 ft. away. At that point, two ends of pipe are attached to the drill bit and pulled back through the hole until
the pipe is buried. This technique allows the loop to be placed underneath homes, basements, wooded lots or even
Image used with permission from Waterfurnace, Int.
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