Distribution Systems

The distribution system is an important component of a GXS. It must be designed to match the capacity of the heat pump. If it is inadequate, parts of your home may not be warm enough in winter, or cool enough in summer. A poor distribution system will also place unnecessary stress on the heat pump, shortening its life and causing unnecessary service calls.

If you are installing a GXS in a new home with a forced-air, or ductwork, distribution system, it is crucial for the contractor designing and installing it to know the amount of air that must be moved through the system for proper operation. If the air flow is restricted because the ductwork is too small, you will find that some rooms are not heated or cooled adequately; the system may also create air noise. You may find yourself making unnecessary service calls because the heat pump cannot distribute all of the heat produced. Finally, safety controls may shut the system off during summer or winter temperature extremes.

If you decide on a hydronic heating system, the contractor should ensure an adequate fresh air supply to all parts of your new home. A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) – well calibrated and installed according to the building code – with ductwork to each room can accomplish this effectively. Ventilation is especially important in new homes, as they are typically built to be more airtight than older homes.

Before you chose a contractor, ask detailed questions about the design of the distribution system. How were the duct sizes determined? Do they ensure adequate airflow to each room and for the system? How were the pipe sizes calculated? The cost of the distribution system can be as much as 15–25 percent of the cost of the system. If it is made too small, the system may cost less to install, but will probably not heat and cool your home as quietly, efficiently or comfortably as a larger one would, and cost more in service calls over its lifetime.

Heat Recovery Ventilator


The energy crisis of the 1970s spurred a lot of research on reducing the energy requirements in new homes. Home builders have worked hard to make houses more airtight. As a result, mechanical ventilation systems are now installed to ensure fresh air gets into new houses to replace the air that used to enter old houses through cracks around the windows, doors and joists in concrete basements.

Basic ventilation can mean simply flushing stale, humid air with a fan and introducing fresh air with a second fan, but in areas with a cold climate (including most of Canada) this represents a major heat loss.

A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) reduces the heat lost through ventilation by recovering between 60 and 80 percent of the heat from the exhaust air.

By introducing fresh air into your new home, you will be cutting down on many of the pollutants emitted by new building materials, carpet and furniture which can cause allergies and breathing problems. The fresh, dry air introduced by the HRV also reduces humidity levels in your home.

Air Filtration (forced-air distribution system)


There are two reasons to filter the air circulating through the heat pump and ductwork of your home. The first is to capture dust and pollen particles and keep them from being distributed throughout your home. The second is to prevent the air coil in the heat pump from becoming clogged with dirt and losing efficiency. There are several different types of air filters available, including standard disposable fiberglass filters (10-percent efficient), pleated filters, washable electrostatic air filters and electronic air filters (50-percent efficient).

Whichever type you have, make sure you change or clean it regularly to maintain the efficiency of the heat pump.



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