So, Is Geothermal Worth It in Ontario? If you’re a homeowner in Ontario, you’re probably always on the lookout for ways to reduce your energy costs and increase the comfort of your home. One option that you may have heard about is geothermal heating and cooling. But you may be asking yourself is geothermal worth it in Ontario climate? The short answer is: absolutely!
What is Geothermal Heating and Cooling?
First, let’s define exactly what geothermal heating and cooling is. Here’s a great Wikipedia page on Ground Source Heat Pumps. Geothermal (or Ground Source Heat Pump) is a system that uses the constant temperature of the earth as a heat source in the winter and a heat sink in the summer. A network of pipes, called a loop, is buried underground and filled with a liquid (usually water or an antifreeze solution). This liquid absorbs heat from the earth in the winter and transfers it into your home, and in the summer, it absorbs heat from your home and transfers it back into the ground. A Ground Source Heat Pump is used to move heat to and from the ground loop.
The main advantage of geothermal heating and cooling is its energy efficiency. Because it uses the earth’s natural temperature to regulate the temperature of your home, it requires much less energy than traditional heating and cooling systems. Geothermal systems can be up to 40% more energy efficient than air-source heat pumps and up to 70% more energy efficient than traditional furnaces and air conditioners. This means that you could potentially save hundreds of dollars per year on your energy bills.
Will Geothermal Work in Ontario’s Cold Climate?
But what about the cold climate in Ontario? Won’t the ground be too cold to be an effective heat source in the winter? Not at all. The temperature of the earth a few feet below the surface is a constant 50-60°F (10-15°C) all year round, no matter how cold it is outside. This means that geothermal systems are still effective in the coldest parts of Ontario. Many homeowners in northern climates have found that geothermal systems are more efficient in the winter because they don’t have to work as hard to heat their homes.
How Long Do Geothermal Systems Last?
Another benefit of geothermal heating and cooling is its durability and reliability. Because the system is buried underground and protected from the elements, it has a much longer lifespan than traditional heating and cooling systems. It’s also expected that the ground loops will last up to 100 years. While the Ground Source Heat Pump is installed indoors (typically in a basement) will need replacement after 25-30 years. With the Heat Pump protected from the elements this provides a much longer lifespan compared to traditional systems. Air Source Heat Pumps typically need to be replaced after 15-20 years. Additionally, because the system is underground and out of sight, it’s much less prone to damage or vandalism. Of course, reliability and performance of any system is based on how well it is designed and installed. The professionals at Evolved Thermal Energy have been involved in the design and installation geothermal systems for nearly two decades. Our team is certified with the Heating, Refrigeration, Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI), the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) and the Ontario Geothermal Association (OGA).
How Much Does a Geothermal Heat Pump System Cost?
What about the upfront cost of installing a geothermal system? While it’s true that geothermal systems can be more expensive to install than traditional systems, the long-term cost savings and increased durability can more than makeup for the initial investment. Many homeowners find that they recoup their initial investment in as little as 5-10 years. Plus, there are various financial incentives available for homeowners who choose to install geothermal systems, including rebates and grants from the government and utilities.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems ARE worth it for homeowners in Ontario. Their energy efficiency and durability make Ground Source heat pump systems a great long-term investment. The potential cost savings make it a smart financial decision as well. So if you’re looking to reduce your energy costs and increase the comfort of your home, consider giving geothermal heating and cooling a try.
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