A heat pump is an energy-efficient alternative to a furnace and an air conditioner. It’s also an environmentally friendly option, as it can run on electricity that’s generated by clean hydroelectricity and reduce your household’s greenhouse gas emissions compared with fossil fuel-based heating systems.
They are usually more expensive to install than a conventional central AC system, but they can save you money on energy costs over time. In addition, some state governments and utility companies offer tax credits or rebates for installing a heat pump.
When shopping for a Heat Pump, look for a unit with high SEER (seasonal energy efficiency rating) and HSPF (heating seasonal performance factor) ratings. These ratings tell you how efficiently the unit can warm or cool your home using a specific amount of electricity.
Variable-speed compressors are more efficient than single-speed models because they adjust their speed to control temperature and relative humidity. They also last longer and deliver more comfortable air quality.
The air-source or geothermal component of a heat pump collects and transfers heat from the outdoor environment, either from the atmosphere, water, or ground. They can be used in existing homes or new construction, and they work well for a variety of climates.
They can be combined with a furnace in a hybrid heating system. This is a common option for homeowners who want to use a heat pump but are concerned about the cold.
During moderately cold temperatures in the spring and fall, a heat pump can provide adequate indoor comfort. However, as outdoor temperatures get lower, the average heat pump’s heating capacity and efficiency decrease.
Hybrid heating systems are available that combine an air-source or geothermal heat pump with a gas furnace. They can be used in existing homes or in new construction and are typically configured to automatically switch between the two systems, depending on the temperature outside.
Most heat pumps are designed to handle only about half the heating capacity of a furnace, so you’ll need a backup system for areas that see extreme cold weather. A typical electric-resistance backup system, such as a wall heater or a wood stove, can be installed in tandem with the heat pump for supplemental indoor heating during especially harsh cold snaps.
In addition to running on electricity, heat pumps can be powered by solar panels or other renewable sources of energy, making them an even more eco-friendly choice. They may not be the best choice for every home, but if you’re looking for an efficient, low-carbon way to heat your home, they are worth considering.
A heat pump needs regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly and safely. It’s important to keep it clean and free of contaminants like mold, mildew and dust. Dirty or clogged heat pump parts can affect the air quality in your home, affecting both the comfort level and the health of your family.
A professional can help identify and fix any issues your heat pump is experiencing, as well as advise you on how to prevent future problems. A good contractor can also recommend the right size and type of heating and cooling system for your home and can install it properly. They can also install a programmable thermostat to help you better control the unit’s output.