Here is the list of questions I asked all of our geothermal contractors. Click here for the post on how we picked our geothermal contractor.
- How many geothermal systems have you installed?
- What types of systems do you install most (horizontal, vertical, closed, open)?
- What are the most common problems you encounter?
- Do you subcontract any of the work?
- How do you calculate heating/cooling load?
- What should we consider in planning for an addition to the house?
- Will you do locates for all of the utilities?
- What heat pump do you use?
- How much area do you need to dig?
- How far from the house can the system go?
- Are you able to install the loop on unlevel ground? (The answer to this one is yes)
- What are the electrical requirements for the system? Can you upgrade the electrical if it’s required?
- What changes to the duct work will be required?
- What hot water system do you use? How does the hot water system work?
- How long does installation take?
- When are you able to book the installation?
- How many people will be on site for the install?
- How does service and maintenance work?
- What warranties are on the system?
- Will you remove the existing furnace, air conditioner, hot water heater, oil tank?
- Do we need to have the ducts cleaned? Do you take care of this?
- Where will the thermostat be? How does the thermostat work?
- Does the weather affect the system?
- Does the type of soil affect the performance of the system? (The answer to this one is no, but the wetter the soil the more efficient the system)
- Do you take care of CGC certification? Is there a cost for this? (Certification from the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition is a requirement of the ecoEnergy program)
- What forms of payment do you accept?
I found these questions were a good way to learn about our system and understand geothermal technology. I tried to integrate the questions into our conversation during the site visits, rather than quizzing the contractors one question after another. Seeing how the contractors responded to all of my questions gave me an idea of their overall approach to customer service as well.
I guess you can call me a demanding client, but I believe when I’m making an investment, especially when it’s as big as a geothermal system, I want to know exactly what to expect and what I’m getting.
For previous posts in the Going Geothermal series, click on one of the links below: