If you’re thinking about replacing your air conditioning or adding a new heating system to your home, consider the possibility of adding a heat pump. These systems are energy-efficient and can save you a lot of money over time.
How They Work
A Heat Pump is a type of air conditioner that also has the ability to heat your home in winter. As the name suggests, it pulls heat from outside air to warm your home in winter, then transfers that same heat back out of the home during summer.
It’s a very simple concept that works very efficiently and can save you lots of money. It’s also very green and a great option for many homeowners.
The most basic types of heat pumps are air-source systems, which take heat from the outside atmosphere (not too different from what your refrigerator takes) and transfer it inside through refrigerant-filled coils. There’s a compressor, a fan, and sometimes even a reversing valve to make it all work.
There are a few variations of heat pumps that use different methods to extract and transfer heat. For example, some ground-source or geothermal heat pumps absorb and release heat underground and transfer that to your home. They’re very efficient and can cut down on your heating bills significantly if you live in a cold climate.
Another common type is a ductless mini-split system, which doesn’t rely on ductwork to move heated or cooled air throughout your home. These systems can be used for whole-home or specific rooms, and some are even designed to be installed by homeowners.
They can be expensive to buy and install, but they’re also one of the most energy-efficient options available today. In addition to lowering your energy bills, they can significantly reduce your carbon emissions.
Some heat pumps are extremely efficient, generating less carbon dioxide than traditional systems powered by oil or pellets. But they do require electricity to run, and that can cause a significant difference on your utility bill.
When comparing heat pump models, look for efficiency ratings in SEER and HSPF. The higher the numbers, the more efficient a model will be.
You may want to have a contractor calculate your heating and cooling needs to ensure that the unit you choose will be sized correctly. This calculation will also include any insulation or air-sealing upgrades you’ve made to your home and duct system.
The size of your ductwork can also affect how much air your system will be able to move and how efficiently it can run. It’s especially important to have your ductwork air-sealed, because that will reduce how much your unit has to blow out the sides of the ductwork to get the desired temperature in your home.
The key to a heat pump’s overall efficiency is the compressor, which moves the thermal energy from one place to the other in the vapor-compression cycle. There are different types of compressors, and the better ones will be variable-speed.