How to Choose a Geothermal Installer for your Home
December 30, 2020
Geothermal heat pump systems can be used to heat and cool your home, thanks to Earth’s insulating properties. Because most of your indoor comfort needs are right under the ground, it saves on your demand for electricity, gas, or oil. A home geothermal heat pump can cut bills by thirty to seventy percent, paying for itself within the first few years after installation.
If you’ve done your homework about geothermal, knowing it’s the right fit for you, it’s time to take an exciting next step … Choosing an installing contractor!
Choosing a contractor to install your entire system is an integral part of the process. Most contractors and builders aren’t familiar with geothermal installation. They tend to steer people towards what they know and the quickest most profitable solution for them, not necessarily for you. A geothermal heat pump is not a product to be installed by just any HVAC guy.
With geothermal, there are at least twice as many things you have to consider, making it two times as likely for a mistake with the wrong installer. The bar must be high, and you, as a consumer, want perfection.
No one wants to deal with improper design, leaks, or complications with setup. A good contractor will tell you what equipment they plan on using and how they will layout your geothermal loop.
Request a very detailed proposal and a report showing unit performance, anticipated operating costs, and a baseline representing what you’re paying now.
You probably know that approximately seventy percent of the energy used in a geothermal heat pump system is renewable energy from the ground. And tapping into this energy source requires proper training. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can call the guy that usually does your air conditioning service for advice. Geothermal horror stories happen when unqualified contractors do the installation.
The Ideal Geothermal Installer's Credentials Should Be Proven
If you can’t just set up an appointment with any local contractor, you may be asking yourself how to know what the right installer looks like. First and foremost, don’t select someone who dabbles in geothermal–you’ll be in for a lifetime of hurt. ClimateMaster supplies geothermal units and works with certified GeoElite dealers across the country. You can use our GeoElite dealer locator here.
Good contractors are doing twenty to thirty installs a year in a mid-sized area, fewer in rural communities, but even more in densely populated areas. Be sure that your installer has at least an average number of installs per year for your peace of mind.
The IGSHPA, International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, set up standards, practices, and training programs for designers and installers to follow as a bare minimum requirement. The installer you choose should, without exception, be IGSHPA certified.
It’s always a good idea to get customer referrals on any purchase, but with this kind of investment, you’re sure to need some input from people who are currently using geothermal technologies in their homes. Ask any potential installer for names of customers, builders, and dealers they’ve worked with before. These credentials alone will give you a good idea about whether or not to move forward.
Questions To Ask When Looking For Your Installer
A few initial questions can quickly reveal if you should hire a particular installer. First, ask if they have been through geothermal manufacturer’s training and, if so, which brands they install. Typically, if a contractor will sell you any brand on the market, they might not be the expert you’re looking for. Most qualified dealers have a brand or two they’ve grown to know and trust from experience.
Next, they must have fusion technician training. Ask if your installer is certified to weld geothermal tubes together. Be sure to confirm that their technicians carry these certification cards and ask about when and where their last install was.
Don’t forget to check on essentials like: if the company provides load calculations before installation, if they service the unit, and if they have their own service department. Questions like these will prevent you from hiring a person who may want the sale but doesn’t exactly know what they are doing. For an in-depth explanation and checklist, energy.gov provides an excellent resource for consumers considering switching to geothermal.
Lastly, ask your installer about available local and federal energy incentives and rebates. Most reputable geothermal installers should have this memorized.
When you take the time to ask the right questions, a residential geothermal installation will be a task you can approach with confidence!
Are you ready to interview geothermal installers? Download our contractor comparison guide below to help make the best decision.