Buy a Heat Pump
Before you buy a heat pump, understand how it functions.
A heat pump is basically an air conditioner that performs both the cooling and heating chores for a home. The Quick Tip explanation is that a heat pump
moves heat from inside to outside for cooling, or from outside to inside for heating. Our
page explains this process in more detail.
A heat pump can be an economical choice for conditioning your home. You must consider your climate before choosing a heat pump. Extreme winter climates and
heat pumps are not necessarily a good match! However, if you live in an extreme climate, and you are determined to install a heat pump, those periods of
frigid temps below 40*F can be overcome if your air handler is a dual-fuel unit. Dual fuel means, simply, that the air handling unit is equipped with a
second source of heat. This second source of heat (gas or electric) takes over once the heat pump can no longer provide your heating efficiently.
If you reside in a mild climate, where temps seldom dip below 40*F, a heat pump can be an economical, dependable comfort system for your home.
also look at your utility costs. Historically, electricity is usually much more expensive than natural gas. But recent economic trends may have
changed this fact in your area. Do the research for your area, before you commit. There are also the few areas of our country where electricity is now, and
has always been, cheaper than natural gas.
Typically a heat pump is more expensive to install than a conventional air conditioner. This increased cost is due to equipment cost and your contractor's
labor cost is increased, as well. Fewer contractors are heat pump capable, so expect to pay more for service also. When you choose your contractor, take
this into consideration. Check his credentials carefully.
A conventional central air conditioner does not run year round. It gets to take a break 2 to 6 months of the year. If you invest in a heat pump, the unit
will typically run 12 months out of the year. This will take it's toll on the equipment, and will need replacing sooner than a conventional AC unit. You
can expect increased service costs for this same reason.
Size that heat pump
It is imperative that your heat pump be sized properly for your home. The same factors, which plague an air conditioner, can affect your comfort and
the performance and longevity of your heat pump. If a unit is too large, the unit will cycle on and off often, decreasing efficiency and creating
excess wear and tear on the components. A unit, which is too small, will run continuously and never achieve thermostat set-point.
To assure proper sizing, choose a contractor who will perform a
Manual J calculation
on your home. This heat loss/gain calculation is the only method
to ensure the proper size will be installed in your home, if you buy a heat pump.
can perform this service for you.
The cooling function of a heat pump is rated by
The heating efficiency of a heat pump is rated by
The higher the SEER
and HSPF, the more efficient the unit, and less expensive to operate. Higher ratings also translate to higher installation costs to buy a heat pump, but higher efficiency
units tend to be higher quality, therefore cost less in breakdowns.
Read more about Heat Pumps
The Pros and Cons about Heat Pumps
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