There are three main types of geothermal heat pumps:

Heat PumpsPackage Units
Package units, or water-to-air heat pumps, are not unlike traditional forced hot air furnaces. The compressor is in the bottom of the cabinet and the air handler is on top. The duct work is attached to the cabinet similar to traditional systems.

Split Units
Split units work in a similar fashion to package units except that the cabinet is split into two components: 1) the compressor and 2) the air handler. They are connected to each other with a refrigerant line that is run from the heat pump location to the location of the air handler. These types of systems are usually used when it is not possible to get duct work from the basement up to the attic.

The photo depicts a package unit on the left and a split unit on the right. Above the split unit is an energy recovery ventilator. Please visit our Facebook page to see more photos of a geothermal package unit and a split unit that were installed in the same house. Our YouTube Channel also has a video of geothermal heat pump installation with a package and a split unit.

Hydronic Units
Hydronic units, or water-to-water heat pumps, can behave as a boiler in the winter and as a chiller in the summer. Hydronic units look similar to split units and usually have one or two water storage tanks connected to them. These storage tanks, that have a volume of 85 gallons to 120 gallons are used to hold water that is pumped to air handlers that are located elsewhere in the building.  In the winter, these tanks hold hot water at a temperature usually between 110F and 125F. In the summer, they hold water at temperatures usually between 45F and 65F.