FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Have a question about geothermal? We’ve tried to answer the most common questions below. If you don’t find the answer you’re seeking here, please contact us.
The cost of installing a geothermal system depends on the type of system you choose. You can have an open or closed loop and it can use forced air, hydronic baseboard or radiant floors for heating and cooling distribution within the building. The initial installation cost is higher than a conventional HVAC system but the operation costs are far lower. For a quote on what it would cost to install a geothermal system in your home or building, visit http://www.hrai.ca/contractor-locator to find a geothermal contractor near you.
Solar power is a better alternative for heating outdoor pools but geothermal is an efficient way to heat indoor, enclosed pools.
It is possible but it basically requires that an entirely new system is built from scratch since hydronic systems use copper or aluminum hot water baseboards, cast iron radiators or radiant heat, all which operate at much higher temperatures than geothermal systems can handle.
Generally not in extremely cold climates. Water is not the heat source; it is a heat transfer fluid heated by the earth and is required to maintain a constant temperature. Therefore, the water must be brought up from below the frost line in colder climates where the ground freezes in the winter.
If a home is used solely during the summer months and completely closed down during the winter season (including draining all water pipes), it is not recommended to install a geothermal system.
The heating and cooling costs as well as the demand costs are significantly lower on a geothermal system than a conventional fossil fuel system. It is also quiet, safe and trouble free.
- Lower utility bills
- Less maintenance
- Higher levels of even indoor comfort year-round
- Environmentally friendly: geothermal systems burn no fossil fuels and therefore produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions
- Safer to occupants relative to fuel burning systems as it eliminates major potential sources of CO within the home or building
- Waste heat removed from the house or building during the cooling season can be used to provide virtually free hot water for additional cost savings to the end user
Units can include a component to heat water for potable or sanitary use. Heat pumps can also be used to control condensation to dehumidify moist indoor spaces such as indoor swimming pool areas.
Geothermal systems do not use combustion to make heat unlike fossil fuel systems.
Air-source heat pumps extract thermal energy (heating or cooling) from the outside air whereas geothermal systems extract energy from the ground.
Home/building owners interested in providing fresh air and enhanced defrosting without creating negative pressure inside can integrate the geothermal system with a heat recovery ventilation (HRV) unit.
It is highly recommended that all HVACR systems, including geothermal, are designed and installed by qualified and certified (licensed) contractors. For a list of geothermal contractors near you, visit http://www.hrai.ca/contractor-locator.
No. The CSA Standard (CSA C448) bans placing a ground loop near septic systems.
This depends greatly on the soil conditions and the length and depth of the pipe required. A qualified geothermal contractor will be able to offer more information based on your specific needs. To find a qualified geothermal contractor near you, visit http://www.hrai.ca/contractor-locator.
Based on the assumption that the system was properly designed and installed, the following factors could potentially affect the performance of a geothermal system:
• Dirty air filters (fixed by cleaning the air filters)
• Air trapped in the ground loop (fixed by purging the ground loop)
• Declining anti-freeze levels (fixed by adding more anti-freeze to the loop)
• Mis-setting the thermostat (human error – fixed by setting the thermostat at the correct temperature)
• Dropping water table or increased mineral content in the ground water
The temperature of the ground below the frost line maintains a constant temperature and is not generally affected by the outdoor ambient temperature.
The OGA is an affiliated association of the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI)
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