If you’re switching to an energy-efficient geothermal system, be sure to find the best HVAC contractor for the job
Nearly every state requires that heating and cooling contractors have a license to perform work. But if you are looking to hire an HVAC pro for a geothermal system installation, the rules aren’t quite as clear cut, and you’ll likely need to do a bit more homework.
When hiring a local contractor to install a geothermal system, you’ll want to look for one with several years of experience in the geothermal arena, not just general HVAC work. Here are a few more tips for hiring an expert geothermal installer for your home.
How to Find a Geothermal System Pro
Geothermal system contractors need significant knowledge and experience, as the installation process is very technical. Reputable pros are licensed and know how to design a system that complies with local regulations and works for your home's size, land, soil type. In addition to asking friends and neighbors for recommendations, you can also search Angi to find a geothermal pro near you.
Once you have found a few strong candidates, check the Better Business Bureau website and your state’s consumer protection agency to verify that the contractor represents themselves accurately and to check for any previous complaints lodged.
Before Hiring a Geothermal Pro
Before you move forward with hiring a contractor, it’s helpful to understand how geothermal systems work. Just like you would research buying a new car or appliance, familiarize yourself with the different types of geothermal systems and how they differ from standard HVAC systems.
Plan Your Geothermal System Project for Accurate Quotes
Geothermal systems are more sophisticated than traditional heating and cooling units, so the installation will also differ. A pro will need to know these things to provide you with an accurate quote:
Your home’s soil type
Amount of land available
Geothermal system type
Your land’s water table depth
To plan the project as accurately as possible, you should get quotes from at least three geothermal contractors and complete professional soil testing. Soil testing typically costs anywhere from $400 to $3,000 but is an essential investment in determining the correct geothermal system for your home.
Check Your Geothermal Pro's Qualifications and References
An experienced geothermal contractor should be highly skilled in electrical, excavation, piping, and HVAC work to complete your project from start to finish. They’ll also need to be licensed, bonded, and insured to perform this type of work.Because this is such a specialized project, it’s also wise to ask for references from previous customers. Depending on the type of system you are having installed, it may also be worth making a trip to see some of the contractor’s previous work in person.
Questions to Ask Your Pro
Before signing a contract, be sure to interview your geothermal pro and ask the following questions:
Is your company certified to install geothermal systems?
Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
How many geothermal systems have you installed?
What will you use to measure for the geothermal system?
What happens if you find any issues in the soil?
What permits or building permissions are required?
Hiring Your Geothermal Pro Tips
Introduce the things a homeowner should do when they pick and hire their pro. Expand on them in more detail in the sections below.
Interview With Your Geothermal Pro
While interviewing and checking multiple potential contractors is time-consuming, it's an important step in the case of a geothermal system. Ideally, the pro you hire will have extensive experience installing these systems, several solid references, and an International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) certification.
Ask for a Background Check
A reputable contractor shouldn’t have any problem complying with a background check request—they might even have a recent one on file to give you.
Get a Contract and Arrange Payments With Your Geothermal Pro
Before signing a contract, take the time to review everything thoroughly. Your contract should include the total project price, along with the down payment requirements, fee structure, balance payoff, and any extra caveats like overtime or permit fees.
Keep Records of Your Geothermal Installation Project
While your contract should explicitly outline all the terms and fees, keeping your own written records is also a good idea. Track any and all correspondence with the contractor and snap photos of the project. Jot down notes on hours worked, progress made, whether they’re sticking to the schedule, and more.
After Your Geothermal Pro Has Finished
Once your contractor has finished, they should explain how your new system works, maintenance requirements, and any potential issues you should watch for. Once you’re satisfied with the install, make the final payment and offer your pro a positive review or reference.
There are many benefits to installing a geothermal system and, with the right pro handling the job, you’ll enjoy your new heating and cooling design for years to come.