This topic has been inspired by feedback we receive from homeowners, builders, architects and installers from around the country. We received it again just last week after a home show event and it usually starts with something like:
“My (insert relationship to person telling story) installed one of those geothermal systems and it (insert outcome where the system didn’t perform up to expectations).”
Of course, this immediately piques our interest so we explore further. Inevitably, the story unfolds of how it was a DIY attempt by the homeowner or, even worse, an effectively DIY attempt by a trades person who has promised to ‘have a go’. Even worse, a trades person that is openly selling and installing systems that do not aspire with international best practise or are intentionally using sub-standard equipment to save some dollars on the install cost.
After all, how hard can it be? All you do is lay some pipes in the ground, pump water through it and connect it to a heat pump. The concept is indeed simple. However, like all great systems the ‘art of the science’ is in the subtleties and nuances that integrate the different elements of the system and ensure great results.
It is easy to sell a geoexchange system cheaply. You simply ‘short loop’ the ground heat exchanger and import/build your own sub-standard ground source heat pumps to reduce the install cost. The nature of the technology is such that it may well perform ‘adequately’ for a few years. Great for the installer who has received payment and moved on, not so great for the homeowner.
‘Adequate’ performance for a few years is not good enough with geoexchange systems. 15 years of highly efficient operation and subsequent energy savings should be the bare minimum. This is an industry benchmark that surpasses all other systems and it is the benchmark to which geoexchange system should comply.
To assist homeowners select a reputable and certified installer we developed the below video that identifies nine questions to ask potential installers. For the sake or your own home and our industry, we encourage you to view the video and use the nine questions worksheet when speaking with potential installers.
9 Questions to Ask Your Geoexchange Installer
Homeowner printout: 9 Questions for your Geoexchange Installer