One of the main benefits of a geothermal heating and cooling system is the number of years it can last without needing serious repairs. The ground loops can endure more than 50 years of use, while the indoor heat pump elements are often in solid shape for 20 years or more. But geothermal repairs are still a possibility, even with the most stringent annual maintenance. Here, we discuss some of the common repairs a geothermal system may need.
Occasional Geothermal System Repairs
1. Sealing Ground Loop Leaks
The plastic loops that carry the refrigerant (usually a mixture of water and antifreeze) through the ground and to the heat exchanger in the heat pump are made of tough material that resists corrosion and leaking. Nonetheless, leaks can sometimes occur, and if you detect a loss of heating or cooling power from your geothermal system, a leak might be the issue. Geothermal specialists can pinpoint where the leaks are occurring using a dye inserted into the system, and afterwards, they will use targeted excavation to reach the damaged loop and seal it with the least amount of disruption to your property.
2. Acid Flushing the Loops
Some ground-source heat pumps use an open loop system where they bring in water from the municipal system. This outside water can carry deposits that will build up inside the loops and cause a spike in water pressure. Technicians can easily remedy these with an acid flush sent through the loops to clear them out.
3. Repairs to the Heat Exchanger
The antifreeze solution in the ground loops is not what runs through the indoor heat pump to either absorb or release heat. Instead, the antifreeze goes into a heat exchanger and adds or absorbs heat from the standard refrigerant, and this refrigerant is what enters the heat pump’s coil. Problems in the heat exchanger will prohibit the system from working correctly and will require that professionals apply repairs.
4. Additional Minor Repairs
There are also standard repairs that any heat pump may need: defrosting the coils, recharging refrigerant, replacing capacitors and motors, etc. Geothermal specialists are familiar with all of these repairs and will know how to get to the bottom of the problem that’s afflicting your system.
How Often Should I Schedule Geothermal Maintenance?
Regular maintenance is a standard and essential part of caring for your home comfort system. Whether you have a gas furnace or an air-source heat pump keeping your home comfortable, scheduling routine maintenance from a heating and cooling specialist ensures that the system remains energy-efficient and reliant.
At Advantage Airtech, we strongly recommend that you schedule maintenance once a year for your system, the same way you would for any heater or air conditioner.
What Maintenance Tasks are Typically Done?
Geothermal systems have relatively simple inspections and tune-up jobs, but it is crucial for technicians to discover any possible problems with the components and operations as soon as they can so they can prevent larger issues and more expensive issues. Should trouble develop with the underground coils (which is rare but can happen) you will be very thankful that the maintenance specialists caught the problem in its early stages.
The inside heat pump elements of the geothermal system require the same kind of maintenance that other heat pumps do, and will need replacement parts and repairs sooner than the underground coils.
During maintenance, the technicians will:
- look over the coil of the pump,
- lubricate the motors,
- change the air filter,
- and check on the electrical systems
These are the standard maintenance steps necessary to see that this section of the geothermal heat pump does not wear down rapidly.
If you have an open-loop configuration for your heat pump (i.e. it runs water from the municipal supply through the loops), it will occasionally need an acid flush during maintenance to clear out mineral build-up. Technicians will be able to tell if it is time for this service during the annual visit.
Schedule Your Annual Maintenance with Advantage Airtech ClimateCare
A geothermal heat pump is one of the best investments you can make for home comfort: don’t let it spoil because you let a repair need go without attention. Contact Advantage Airtech in Toronto, ON, for geothermal system repair whenever you require it.