Geothermal heat pump systems

Geothermal heat pump systems are energy efficient and environmentally friendly. They use the earth's renewable energy to heat or cool your home.

A geothermal heat pump moves heat into or out of the earth to heat or cool your home. The system has 3 main components:

Illustration of a house shows where 3 geothermal components are located: main floor, basement, and underground.

How geothermal heating and cooling works in your home.

  1. Ground loop system;
  2. Heat pump furnace unit;
  3. Distribution system.

The ground loop system of polyethylene pipes extracts heat from soil beneath the frost line. In cooling mode, the pipes return heat to the earth. There are 4 basic ground loop configurations.

The heat pump furnace unit and distribution system are located inside your home. Heat is transferred from the ground loop system to the furnace unit. Once inside the furnace unit, the heat is moved to the distribution system to heat your home.

The system operates in reverse to cool your home. You can set the temperature with an electronic thermostat. The system will heat or cool to achieve the temperature.

We recommend inspecting/replacing the air filter monthly; routine checks to ensure supply and return air vents are clear; and an annual system check by qualified service professional. A certified contractor can inform you about additional operation and maintenance details of your system.

Benefits

  • Energy efficient
    A geothermal heat pump reduces a home's annual heating energy use by 50 to 70 per cent. The system can also reduce space cooling costs up to 40 per cent and domestic water heating costs up to 25 per cent.
  • Environmentally friendly
    Geothermal heat pumps draw on soil temperatures to heat or cool your home. This reduces your home's energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and harmful effects on the environment.
  • Comfort
    Compared to conventional heating systems, a geothermal heat pump system generally stays on longer and warms your home in lower temperature rises. This provides consistent heat distribution throughout your home.
  • Proven reliability
    Geothermal heat pumps are reliable in a variety of climates. There are more than one million geothermal units in operation worldwide.
  • Versatility
    Geothermal heat pumps move heat into or out of the house to heat or cool as required. This versatility means you don't need separate air conditioning and heating systems. A geothermal system can do both.

Consider:

  • Cost and savings
    A geothermal system is more expensive to install than a conventional heating and air conditioning system, but your annual heating costs will be 50 to 70 per cent lower. Financing is available to help with the cost of installation through the Residential Earth Power Loan.
  • Installation requirements
    Rural residences and new home construction are ideal for installation. They usually have fewer physical barriers, so installation is more cost-effective. Retrofitting (replacing a heating system with geothermal technology) disrupts landscaping. Home renovations may also be needed to install the interior components.
  • Power quality
    For all customers considering installing a geothermal heat pump system in a new or existing home, it is recommended that you contact your local office to ensure power quality will not be an issue. In some cases, electrical infrastructure may need to be supplemented due to the initial electrical load of motors on larger geothermal heat pump units (typically 5-ton systems and up). Read our checklist of questions to ask your contractor (PDF, 54 KB).
  • Hiring a certified contractor
    Expertise and skill are needed to install a geothermal system. It is not a do-it-yourself project. A certified contractor starts with a design heat loss calculation to see if geothermal technology is right for your home. A contractor will also help you apply for the Residential Earth Power Loan.

Financing is available to assist with the cost of installation. Qualifying homeowners may be eligible for a Residential Earth Power Loan.

Learn more about geothermal heat pump systems for First Nations communities.

Frequently asked questions.

For more information about geothermal heat pump systems, email us.

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