EARTH ENERGY SOCIETY OF CANADA
Société canadienne de l'énergie du sol

 

QUESTIONS

Earth energy heat pumps provide one of the lowest life-cycle costs for heating and cooling in Canada (ie: the total cost for initial installation and annual operating costs, will be lower than the comparable cost for a conventional heating/cooling system).

Earth energy technology is different from a gas or an oil furnace, and it is a long-term investment in comfort and home equity. A system requires regular servicing, which the homeowner must arrange through a service contract.

Proper performance reflects the quality of installation, and consumers should insist that the system be installed by a reputable earth energy contractor. The national installation standard in Canada (CSA C448) addresses aspects of design and installation, but some key points are left to the discretion of the contractor and/or manufacturer.

The following checklist will provide some preliminary questions to homeowners, which will help you to select the best dealer available to install and service this energy investment.
 

Questions to ask about the contractor:

  what is the training or accreditation of employees to be involved in the installation (eg. HRAI heat loss or ventilation, CEEA loop installation, IGSHPA certification, manufacturer training course, water well driller, etc);
   to which trade associations do the workers belong (eg. EESC, IGSHPA, HRAI);
   how much of the installation will be sub-contracted;
   who is ultimately responsible for what segments of work;
   who is responsible for clean-up of the outside and inside, and to what degree of perfection;
   who performs the heat loss analysis; is it conducted to the CSA F280 standard;
   to what percentage of heat loss will the system be sized (range is 70% to 100%);
   has the dealer explained the implications of sizing to 70% versus 100%;
   how many years has the contractor been in business, under the same name;
   how many systems has the dealer installed; are local references available;
   what is the payback period; what monthly costs (heating and cooling and water) are anticipated;
   what guarantees / warranties are provided for the installation;
   does the dealer offer detailed operating instructions and consumer instruction;
   how does the dealer provide emergency service if / when required;
   what are financing options or payment terms.

Note: As of 2005, CSA C448 regulates both design AND installation of residential AND commercial systems.
Obtain written confirmation from your contractor that all sections of this national standard have been met.


Questions to ask about the manufacturer:

   how long has the equipment manufacturer been in business, under the same name;
   what standards are used to size components (eg. CSA-C13256, ARI 3xx, former CSA-C446);
   what is the heating and cooling output of both the furnace and collector loops;
   is the ground loop sized and configured to manufacturer specifications;
   what is the manufacturer or supplier warranty for each component of the system;
   how will the furnace be insulated for noise;
   what is the range of annual operating costs under average conditions;
   is special ductwork required in any part of the house;
   does the house require humidification;
   can / should the system installation be staged;
   what annual maintenance is required by the homeowner and when;
   how long will the installation take; who cleans up inside / outside.
 




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