HVAC Heating Pump Guide: Choosing a Heat Pump
Heat pumps have grown considerably in popularity in recent years. These systems cool and heat homes effectively, making them a good option in many regions. Unfortunately, although most people have a general idea of how air conditioners and furnaces work, they are less familiar with heat pump units. That's why the first step for most shoppers is wondering where to find the best heat pump.
When selecting a heat pump, HVACDirect.com will help you make an informed choice from our range of heat pumps for sale. Our guide has the answers you need whether you're wondering what the best heat pump brands are or thinking, what is a heat pump?
How Does a Heat Pump Work?
Heat pumps can be used to cool or heat a space. A heat pump consists of an indoor unit called the air handler, and an outdoor unit referred to as the condenser. In heating mode, the outdoor unit absorbs heat from the outside air and transfers it to the indoor unit, heating the indoor space. In cooling mode, the indoor unit absorbs heat from the air and expels it outside through the outdoor condenser. The outdoor unit includes a coil and a fan. The fan blows air over the coil to allow for efficient heat exchange. The coil is filled with a refrigerant that is able to carry heat absorbed from the air.
Are Heat Pumps Efficient?
Heat pump systems offer an effective and energy-saving way of providing cooling and heating to our homes. At outdoor temperatures above 35 degrees, they're up to four times more efficient than gas furnaces and central air systems. As such, they can save between 25% and 50% on your utility bill.
Initial Expenses vs. Operating Expenses
The largest expense over the life of any cooling and heating system isn't the upfront cost of purchase and installation - it's the accrued monthly cost of operating it. Typically, as a unit's efficiency rating increases, so does its initial cost.
However, as the efficiency ranking increases, the monthly cost of operating the unit decreases. You'll want to consider the significance of a high-efficiency system and the trade-off between the monthly operating expenses and your initial cost. If you intend to reside in the same home for five or more years, consider installing a system that's more efficient.
When looking at long-term operating expenses, a heat pump may be a better choice than a furnace and an AC system. While a heat pump may cost more initially, they are way more efficient in the long run, reducing operating costs and improving the comfort of your home.
If you don't currently have them, consider double-pane windows and sufficient insulation levels in subfloors, attic areas, and walls before buying a new heat pump. By doing so, you can select a smaller pump because a well-insulated house maintains conditioned air for a longer time. This not only decreases the HVAC equipment's cost but also decreases energy consumption, resulting in decreased utility bills.
Your heat pump's operating cost is primarily dependent on its efficiency. Consequently, the United States Energy Department requires that these machines carry HSPF ratings (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) as well as SEER ratings (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). The former measures heating while the latter measures cooling efficiency.
For the SEER, look for a rating between 14 and 18. As for HSPF, you'll find the most effective pumps carry a rating of 8 to 10. Bear in mind that a high HSPF/SEER heat pump could also increase your home's value, which is vital to today's energy-conscious home purchasers.
We recommend two-speed compressors because they condition air only at the required capacity at any given time. In turn, they use less energy and exhibit less wear and tear on interior parts because the pump isn't functioning at full capacity as with normal compressors. Furthermore, less stress on the machine extends its life and decreases the likelihood of expensive future repairs.
Heat Pump Size
Size is an important factor when purchasing an effective heat pump. Our dedicated staff can evaluate your house's cooling load and recommend the appropriate size unit. Remember that selecting a machine with a suitable output for your home size is vital in maintaining a comfortable home while decreasing energy bills. A pump that's too big will cycle off and on too often, decreasing its effectiveness and making it wear out faster. On the other hand, if it's too small, it may be unable to keep you warm during winter and cool during summer.
Bear in mind that there's no shortcut to establish the pump size your home requires. You'll have to engage the services of an HVAC contractor to determine your home's heating load. The calculation considers your home's insulation, size and other vital factors. Don't avoid this step because appropriate sizing of the pump is the most significant factor in establishing its effectiveness.
You can count on our experienced personnel who possess the training and expertise to help assess your needs.
It's important to consider exterior features when making a decision. For instance, the steel cabinet should be galvanized to protect the condensing unit against outdoor hazards. You should also ensure you choose a powder-painted cabinet with a high-quality enamel for enhanced appearance and durability.
Your ability to save on energy costs will depend on the heat pump you purchase for your home, so you must make the right decision. HVACDirect.com has heat pump systems for sale at wholesale prices from top-rated brands like Goodman and AirQuest.
Heating Pump Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a heat pump and central air?
A heat pump is a type of central air system. A standard central AC system uses an AC condenser for cooling while relying on a separate furnace or boiler for heating. What sets a heat pump apart is that by working in reverse, the condenser handles both heating and cooling, making it a year-round option for keeping your home comfortable. Unlike a central air conditioner, a heat pump can be a winter heating option, too.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a heat pump?
The biggest benefit of a heat pump vs. furnace and central air system is that they cost less to operate. They also require less maintenance, are safer, and produce fewer emissions. A few disadvantages are that they can be pricier upfront, don't work as well in cold weather and have a shorter lifespan.
How efficient is a heat pump?
At peak levels, heat pumps transfer 300% more energy than they use(1). By comparison, even the best gas furnaces have an efficiency rating of 98%. Heat pumps work best at 50 degrees, and their effectiveness drops considerably at temperatures below freezing.
(1) DTE. Air Source Heat Pumps. Blog. SEO Blog. Accessed 16 July 2020. https://newlook.dteenergy.com/wps/wcm/connect/dte-web/home/service-request/residential/electric/electric-services/air-source-heat-pump#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20Department%20of%20Energy%2C%20these%20all-electric,it%20consumes%2C%20resulting%20in%20up%20to%20300%25%20efficiency.