Geothermal Q & A

What is Geothermal and how does it work?

Geothermal uses energy stored in the ground to heat and cool your home or building. Click here for a slide presentation.

 

What advantages does geothermal offer?

In most cases, Geothermal offers a substantial cost savings. In addition, it is almost maintenance free, with no equipment outside effected by the outdoor elements. There is no open flame or combustion with Geothermal, which means no carbon monoxide risk or fire hazard. Property value is increased. And lastly, the comfort of the home is greatly improved as a result of more constant heat.

 

How much does an installation cost?

Installation cost obviously varies depending on size, age, and location of the home as well as land space available. An average 2000 sq ft home with land available is generally in the range of $20,000 - $30,000.

 

How does it compare to conventional systems?

We can prepare an accurate cost comparison to a conventional system or an existing system with our specialized software so potential clients can see what their savings will be at current energy costs.

 

Is there a return on investment & how long?

Again, our software can be used to determine return on investment. Sometimes the ROI is as low as 5 years, depending on various factors.

 

Are there government grants available?

Currently there are no grants available in Ontario for retrofitting or installing a geothermal system.

 

How long will the system (loop/equipment) last? 

The loop is made of high density polyethylene pipe, and will out last our life time. The manufacturer of the unit gives a life expectancy of approximately 25 years depending on run time and environment.

 

What kind of service & maintenance is required and how often?

A home owner is simply required to clean the re-usable electrostatic filter regularly. There is no chimney, fuel lines, fuel nozzles, belts or pulleys on the system that need servicing on a regular basis.

 

How much land is needed?

Sometimes the loop can fit horizontally in an area of around 1/2 an acre. This is determined by our sales staff on the initial site assessment.

 

My land has drainage tile, will that still work?

We typically bury the pipe at a depth of 5 - 6 ft. Drainage tile is generally down 3 ft or so. If we know where the tile is located, we avoid as much as possible. If digging through some tile is unavoidable, we flag the location of any functioning tile, lay our loop lines, backfill up to the tile, compact the soil and repair the tile.

 

How long does an installation take?

Installation of an entire system typically takes less than a week.

 

How much will my hydro bill go up?

Most peoples hydro bill will rise after installing a geothermal system, unless you were heating with electric heat before the heat pump was installed. But it will only go up by a fraction of what was being spent previously on oil or propane if the system was sized, designed and installed properly.

 

Can I use Geothermal for my shop?

Geothermal works great for a shop. Since a shop is generally kept at a lower set temperature than a residence, the system can be sized smaller to account for that.

 

How do we determine the system sizing /design?

Sizing is done by doing a heat loss analysis on the home. Taking into account factors such as weather data for the area, insulation in the home, exposure to elements, set temperature, and number of occupants in the home.

 

What kind of regulations are in place for this industry?

The Canadian Geo-Exchange Coalition provides the industry with guidelines and regulations that installers have to comply to. We are certified as a company and also have certified designers and installers on staff.

 

 

 

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June 19, 2010 - Ask the Experts interveiw on 920 CKNX - Click to download

MP3 format - 16.1 MB - 44 mins