The Feasibility of Using a Septic Tank as a Heat Source for Geothermal Heat Pumps

[+] Author and Article Information
T. Hanegan

Coffman Engineers, W. 201 North River Dr. Suite 510, Spokane, WA 99201

K. DenBraven

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-0902

J. Sol. Energy Eng 121(4), 207-209 (Nov 01, 1999) (3 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2888168 History: Received May 01, 1998; Revised October 01, 1999; Online February 14, 2008


A geothermal heat pump (GHP) system with three ground coils was installed in a residence in northern Idaho with a portion of the ground heat exchanger wrapped around the residential septic tank. The septic coil provided a significant portion of the heating for the residence over the heating season. There was no evidence of the septic tank freezing up or failing to properly function. Utilizing a septic tank as a heat source for GHP systems is feasible design option if the septic tank is used on a full-time basis. However, the tank should be surrounded on all sides by a large amount of soil and/or insulated from the ground surface to ensure that ground temperatures near the tank remain warm during the winter.

Copyright © 1999 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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