How to Choose the Right Geothermal Contractor

         It can easily be argued that the most important decision to make when purchasing a geothermal heating and cooling system is choosing the right contractor.  There is a phrase in the heating and air conditioning industry that the biggest factor in determining the efficiency of a heating and air conditioning system is the quality of the installation.  While there are several other factors that contribute towards efficiency, the quality of the installation definitely plays a large part.  When choosing the contractor to install your geothermal heating and cooling system, it is important to consider the level of detail in their proposal, the sizing of their proposed system, and their certifications and experience.

Where can find a list of local geothermal contractors? Right here – Local Geothermal Contractors

When selecting a geothermal contractor it is important to go through their proposal and sales process.  Be wary of contractors who use geothermal systems as a way to make other, less efficient, non-geothermal heating and cooling systems seem cheaper.  If a contractor offers geothermal but pushes you towards a high efficiency fossil fuel system, he may not have your best interests in mind.  Did the contractor go into the attic or crawlspace to inspect your ductwork?  Did they take the time to explain to you the effects that the drilling rig will have on your landscaping until the grass grows back?  While this is not always the case, many times the amount of effort that a contractor takes before a job will be a direct reflection of the care they take in actually performing the job.

In addition to ensuring they put time and effort into the proposal, you will also want to make sure that your geothermal contractor puts time and effort into providing you with the proper system sizing.  In order to properly size the geothermal equipment and loops, they have will have to perform a Heatload Calculation, also known as Manual J Calculation for a residence, in order to come up with the heating and cooling load needed for a home.  There are many different factors that go into this calculation such as the size of rooms, size of windows, orientation of the home, insulation values for the home, type and color of shingles, etc.  While some contractors may not perform a Heatload Calculation until a contract is signed or an upfront fee is paid, all quality contractors should perform this calculation before installing the equipment to ensure that the equipment and ground loop are properly sized.

Working with a geothermal contractor who has many years of experience and a driller who is familiar with the local terrain can give you a head start in feeling confident that you have chosen the right contractor.  To ensure they have a good reputation in the industry, look into their profile with the Better Business Bureau and check out online reviews for the company.  While asking for referrals or to speak with a company’s previous customer can be helpful, most often contractors will only provide you with a customer that they know will give them a rave review.  In addition to finding out how much experience a contractor has, you should also ask them about their certifications.  An important certification in the geothermal industry to look for is IGSHPA (International Ground Source Heat Pump) certification and an important certification in the over-all heating and air conditioning industry is NATE (North American Technician Excellence).

Contractor drilling a geothermal loop

         Choosing the right geothermal contractor can be a daunting task.  Do not let the fear or uncertainty stop you from making a great decision to purchase the most efficient heating and cooling system available.  Spend time with potential contractors going over the details of their proposals, ensure they are performing proper Heatload Calculations, and look into their experience and certifications.  Use this time to learn more about geothermal heating and cooling systems and choose the contractor that is right for you!

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