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Be informed

Your heating system should be individual to your needs
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Ten Things Your Heating Contractor May Not Tell You

10 things your heating contractor may not tell you 

1. Do not install a geothermal system if you plan to move within 5 years

Everyone loves a geothermal system.  The low operating costs and high comfort are great, and it can be a good feature when it comes to selling your home.  However, most people will not pay extra for a new system when they purchase a new home.  It typically takes 5 years to recover the cost of installing a new geothermal system.

2. Do not install a geothermal system if your home is very small

If your home is very small your energy use is low.  This means that your monthly savings will be less.  This puts your break even point farther out.  It may not be in your best interest to purchase a higher cost geothermal system.  The exception to this is if you were installing radiant heat, a hot tub or swimming pool, all of which would heat much more efficiently with geothermal.

3. Do not buy more upgrades than you need 

A simple system can be the best.  However, some of the upgrades can be beneficial.  Too many of them can make your system more expensive than it needs to be, and can cause problems in the future.  You will get the same comfort and the same savings by purchasing only the important ones.  More on this in a separate report, upon request.

4. Do not install a geothermal system if your current system is relatively new

You must add the loss-of-use of your current system to the cost of a new geothermal system to determine the true cost of upgrading to a geothermal system.  A newer unit will be a bigger loss, which pushes the break even point farther out.  For example, if you paid $3,500 for your current system with a life expectancy of 15 years this means you pay $233.33 per year to have the unit.  If you have it for 5 years, you expect 10 more years, which is a loss-of-use of 10 x 233.33 and a total of $2,333.30 to add to the cost of your unit.

5. Do not undersize the heat pump 

Doing this will lower the purchase price but it will not operate efficiently.  Your unit will run continually.  Your geothermal loop temperature will be too cold for efficient heat transfer.  There are limitations to oversizing too, more about this in a separate report.

6. You should have more than one big cold air return

Any room that does not have a cold air return will not heat or cool without a door open.  This is not always convenient, as in a master bedroom for instance.  It is also good to install cold air returns in closets as they can become stuffy or develop odors.

7. Be generous with the vents

If you do not put many vents throughout the house, you may get a cheaper bid for your system, but the system will not provide even temperatures everywhere and you will feel a blast of air by each vent.

8.  Do not install a heat pump in a hard to reach location

If you install a unit in an attic or a crawlspace that is hard to access it will be difficult to maintain.  Filters will not be changed on schedule.  Service access will be difficult.  Service calls will be more expensive because technicians have to work in difficult conditions.

9. Do not install a too small geothermal loop

If a ground loop is too small it will run cold.  This will not be efficient, and you will not realize the savings you expect.

10. Do not be pushed into purchasing a system if you do not have the money

To determine the true cost of a geothermal system you must add the interest on the loan (if you are borrowing money to make the purchase)  This pushes your break even point farther out.  Only You know what is best for your financial health, you should not feel pressured into something you cannot afford.

Purchasing a geothermal heating and cooling unit is a long term investment.  It is of utmost importance you are fully informed about what you are getting and what the time frame you can expect to reach your break even point is.