How to buy a heat pump

Tomorrow we're going to ask a contractor "ok, how do we pay you"?

It's taken 6 months to get to this point. We went through several stages to hunting:


Upon contemplating producing copious amounts of our own electricity (not with dinky solar power) I started to wonder how much hydro we'd need to heat a home. The answer is about 50 kW (over 200 Amps at 220V). Insane. Then I tripped upon ground source heat pumps which are over 500% efficient(heat energy output is 5x the energy required to operate).

The EcoCite condos on Bank St were touting that they we going to be heating the building using this same technology.

What sealed the deal? My wife grew up in home that went from wood fire to GSHP and she didn't freeze. So I got the green light.


Calling around to a few Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) contractors who specialize in these systems we found the cost to start at $25,000 CAD. We spent less than that on our car.


$25,000 is a LOT of money for heat. The federal and Ontario government has paired up to provide $3,500 x2 in rebates for these heating systems. On top of this, the Ontario Power Authority offers $750 for GSHPs. Look at my links to the left for "show me the money" links.

If we were to replace our low efficacy gas furnace and air conditioner (which we never use) that would be another $8,000 without even thinking too hard. So we're down to $10,000. Assuming $2,000 per year in natural gas - that's a 5 year return on investment. Hydro costs will be higher with our higher usage, so stretch that to 7 year ROI to be safe.

Good deal.


We started by talking to a contractor who had a lot of experience with GSHPs. Problem was, he was too busy with other work to get to us. His price was quite a bit lower than others we had contacted, so we waited. And waited. And waited. And gave up.

Contractor-2 was friendly and knowledgeable. His initial price for closed loop (our preferred option) was $50,000. Too rich for us. We asked for a different configuration (open loop) and he could to $25,000.

Contractor-3 equally nice, priced $30,000 closed-loop, $20,000 open-loop.

Contractor-4, $25,000 closed loop DX from Nordic. Price is right, smaller chance of ground water contamination than open-loop, and they were prepared to show us a contract.


We called references from all the contractors. Everyone was pleased (surprise, surprise) with the functioning of the units. Only complaints were unavoidable things like "it made a mess of our yard" and "I didn't have ventilation before, and that was a mess".

So tomorrow, I hand over 1/4 of the $25,000 to get things going. Let's hope we get it before Christmas so I can put up videos.