The only goal of this post is to educate homeowners, and help them to select a good water-source heat pump contractor. We hope this helps homeowners feel more confident with the contractors they choose to enter their home and complete work. This is a very basic list of questions that we feel a heating contractor should answer off hand at any time. Hope this helps…
Some of these questions may seem too technical and have you thinking “who cares”, but they’re really not. It’s a good idea to educate yourself about this technology before making a substantial purchase. I see it kind of like hiring an attorney. You can drop off a stack of files, say take care of it, and then forget about it. The results you get may not have your best interests in mind. It’s always better to educate a little, and then help yourself as much as you can along the way. Contractors will be eager to inform, and surprised by your knowledge base. Good luck…
- What factors will determine the size of equipment that best fits my needs?
- Would my home benefit from a zone system?
- Can the system adjust its output capacity and airflow to serve small zones?
- Will my existing ductwork handle the system being proposed?
- What impact does undersized ductwork have on the system?
- Can I monitor the exact energy consumption of my system and compare to my power bill?
- Try to compare bids “apples to apples”. Does the system proposed:
- Have two-stage operation?
- Have a variable speed blower?
- Have a full 10 year parts and labor warranty?
- Include excavation / trenching / plumbing / electrical / zoning?
- Include ductwork modifications and what are they?
- Include the “Hot Water Generator” option and associated plumbing?
Open Loop System:
- Who will be performing the water quality testing on my well water?
- Is the testing directly related to the water quality specification provided by the equipment manufacturer?
- Will there be water noise during operation? How will this be addressed?
- Will you (the heating contractor) be installing all plumbing & components to support the unit?
- How will I know the water flow rate through my heat pump?
- What is the required flow rate for my heat pump?
- Where in the plumbing is the water control valve located and why?
- How will we address discharge water location?
- What do I need to monitor during the first few weeks after installation?
Closed Loop System:
- How will my ground loop / pond loop be sized?
- What are the maximum and minimum temperatures of my ground loop?
- Is the old saying “1 loop per ton” adequate for my system?
- How long is each loop?
- How much does it cost for an additional loop?
- Why should I care about how many loops my system has?
- Is the fluid flow in my ground loop laminar or turbulent and how do we know?
- Why do fluid flow properties matter?
- What is used for freeze protection? Why? Down to what temperature?
- How will a circulation pump be selected for my ground loop?
- Will my ground loop have a hydration system?
- Can I monitor the temperature of my ground loop year-round?
Auxiliary Back-up Strip Heaters:
- How much aux. back-up heat do you recommend? Why should it matter?
- Can I turn the aux heaters off?
- How will I know if the aux. heaters are running?
- Can I still set my temperature back down to 60 degrees overnite & then back to 70 for the daytime?
Knowledge of the System & Equipment Being Installed:
- What is Heat of Extraction / Heat of Rejection?
- Why is Heat of Extraction less than the units rated capacity?
- What diagnostics will be performed at start-up to verify operation?
- Can a COP / EER or efficiency be calculated directly after install?