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Signs You Need to Replace Your Geothermal System

In Illinois, a geothermal heat pump is one of the most efficient ways to receive heating during the winter. Standard air-source heat pumps have trouble providing warmth during Illinois winters (unless they have a back-up furnace), but a ground-source geothermal heat pump uses the steady temperature of the earth that varies only a few degrees, no matter how cold the surface becomes.

Geothermal systems are remarkably durable and long-lived, but they won’t last forever. You’ll need to know how to read the signs warning you that you should schedule a replacement for your geothermal system in Wilmette, IL. Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning has some tips to help you find out if it’s time for a replacement:

  • Heavy corrosion across the heat exchange coils: This is a good sign in general that any heat pump needs replacement. Corroded coils will restrict the heat exchange, just like dirt and ice, but corrosion also indicates extreme age that is affecting the whole system. If your geothermal system is over 20 years old at this point, then corrosion usually means it needs replacement. Your heat pump probably uses an older refrigerant blend, R-22, which needs to be switched for a system that uses the more environmentally healthy R-410A.
  • Consistent drop in heating/cooling levels: If you notice that your geothermal heat pump is no longer delivering the level of heating or cooling that it once could, and nothing else seems wrong in the heat pump unit, then there may be damage in the underground coils causing a leak in refrigerant. Have professionals inspect the unit to locate the leaks and determine if you need a replacement. Once again, if your system is over 20 years old, replacement is often the best option.
  • Consistent coil frosting: A loss of refrigerant will cause the indoor coils of the heat pump to frost over during cooling mode. Usually, a technician can repair leaks around the compressor or clean off the coils to fix this. But if this continues to happen to an older system, it probably means the underground coils are no longer capable of carrying out heat exchange.

Here’s a bit of good news about geothermal heat pump replacement: sometimes you will only need to replace the heat pump itself, and not the underground coils—a much less expensive procedure. The heat pump is more likely to need replacement before the coils, so make sure you consult with a geothermal specialist before you decide if you want the whole system replaced.

When you want an experienced opinion on your geothermal system or have any questions regarding heating installation in Wilmette, IL, look to Shavitz Heating and Air Conditioning and give us a call today—we’ve served Chicagoland for four generations!

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