We often get asked, “When is the best time of year to start working on my home geothermal heating and cooling project?”. As with most things related to a heat pump retrofit or new installation project, our answer is: it depends. In this article, we’ll discuss some considerations that come to mind when working out the timing for getting started on your heat pump installation project, whether for a new home build or retrofitting the system into an existing home.
Geothermal Heating & Cooling Background – Why Geothermal?
To understand whether or not Geothermal Heating and Cooling is right for you, check out some of our focused blog articles, Why Replace Furnace With Heat Pump? or Geothermal Heating And Cooling: Is it Worth The Investment? In Short, if you’re looking for an investment that pays a reasonable annual rate of return while also providing zero emissions heating, cooling, and hot water and the highest level of comfort that an HVAC system can deliver. If this is the case, Geothermal Heating and Cooling might be for you. However, If a homeowner needs the investment to pay itself back quickly, Geothermal HVAC might not be for you. You must consider that a fossil fuel furnace, water heater, and A/C system do not pay you to own them – in fact, they cost more money than the Ground Source Heat Pump to operate, and in some cases, much more. This difference in operating cost, paid back to you over time, makes Geothermal Heating and Cooling a desirable investment to those who value the benefit.
Should I Start Geothermal Heating Project when I Need Furnace Repair?
Most homeowners don’t think about their home HVAC systems all that often. You might only need to consider your HVAC systems if you’re building a new home or if your existing furnace, AC, or water heater breaks down unexpectedly. Unfortunately, if your system already needs repair or replacement, this is the worst time to consider a heat pump system. Generally, time is of the essence in these situations, as the house needs these systems to be comfortable. A Geothermal Heat Pump system (or any Heat Pump system) requires some upfront planning. First, government grants are available through the Canada Greener Homes Program, and various Provincial governments are offering rebates on top of the Greener Homes program. Those programs take time and have specific requirements of work to be done BEFORE you call the contractor to install the system.
Transition to Geo Thermal Heating
Transitioning to a Heat Pump is much different than replacing a furnace, like-for-like. Understanding the energy requirements of the home and the systems that enable the conditioned air (or water) to move throughout the house to provide the desired heating or cooling effect is critical to the project’s success. We must remind homeowners that Heat Pumps don’t create Heat – they move it. Therefore, the fundamentals of how a heat pump system delivers space and water heating differ significantly from a fossil fuel furnace. This requires more upfront analysis to ensure the correct equipment is selected, and the supporting systems (i.e., ductwork, piping, electrical) can accept that system. So it is inevitable that this takes longer than if a traditional furnace or air conditioner is to be installed. Thankfully, our process at Evolved Thermal Energy is built to help homeowners and contractors through these critical beginning steps of the heat pump buying process. Click below to see if your home qualifies! We’ll be happy to help.
Should I Start Geothermal Heating and Cooling Project in Fall?
As an industry insider, we can tell you that most people in Ontario start their projects the week after school is back in September. You might think that this is not so much a problem because there is plenty of time between the beginning of September and when heating systems startup typically. However, because most people have the same idea – everyone is trying to get their system simultaneously. This leads to delays for the homeowner and challenges in finding an available contractor to review the project. Equipment distributors (like Evolved Thermal Energy) also run in high-capacity mode during this time. The fall is typically the highest demand part of the year for any of the significant manufacturers like Enertech GeoComfort, Waterfurnace / GeoStar, ClimateMaster, etc. This is another area where contacting Evolved Thermal Energy directly to start your project can help alleviate stress and challenges in finding the right system to fit your needs and the right contractor.
So When is the Best Time To Start a Geothermal Heating And Cooling Project?
The reality is that the best time to start is when is best for you! However, considering all the factors involved, the best time for the network of installers, distributors, and equipment manufacturers would be early in the year or spring to get the project rolling. This allows lots of time to review and create the project design, schedule the geothermal loop installation, and install the heat pump equipment. The caveat to this is for Lake Loop Heat Exchangers. Often, these systems have specific requirements (weather-related and aqua-culture related) that may govern the time of year lake loop systems can be installed.
One Last Question, What is a Geothermal Heater?
We’ve recently seen the term “Geothermal Heater” pop up on search results, and we wanted to address it. We believe that this Geothermal Heater term is just a slang short-form term that some people use to try and describe a Geothermal Heating and Cooling system or Ground Source Heat Pump. We may occasionally refer to Geothermal Heater in future blog posts to ensure that we are reaching out to the group of people using terms like Geothermal Heater, or even Geo thermal Heater, or any other term using Geo thermal that is spelled in that manner. So, in our view, a Geothermal Heater (or Geo thermal Heater) is the same system we discuss, just a little less technical!