When heat pump units first appeared, in the 1970s, they were huge, noisy and unreliable and homeowners had no desire to install them. Modern technology has, however, changed that and also caused the price of heat pump units to drop remarkably. These days virtually every home has a climate control system installed as a heat pump is now modern, sleek, quiet and reliable and one of the cheapest ways to heat a home.
If you have energy bills that are taking your budget hostage because you do not have a heat pump installed then you need to investigate this modern means of heating and cooling your home for year-round comfort at a price that you can afford, and be kind to the earth at the same time because of great efficiency.
If your bills are climbing even though you have a heat pump installed then perhaps it is time for you to consider upgrading your heat pump to one that can better handle your particular situation and keep your family in comfort no matter the weather outside.
It is time to take control of your home’s comfort level and your heating and cooling costs by ensuring that the heating pump you have installed is still up to the task of providing energy-efficient heating or cooling no matter the weather outside. Heat pump units are the most reliable, advanced, and efficient heating and cooling systems available today, but they need to be maintained and kept in good order, and sometimes they also need to be upgraded.
One of the great features of heat pumps is that they offer great design flexibility and can be upgraded quite easily. There are no fumes, no flames like there were in the old furnace units so no need for vents and flues and wasted space. There is also more choice as to where to install the type of unit that best suits your home.
Reasons to Upgrade Your Heat Pump
Heat pump units are very durable and last for approximately 20 years in most cases. This being said, there are many reasons to upgrade your heat pump, not the least being the fact that technology has made such giant leaps in the past decade, which means greater efficiency and savings than ever before.
The federal government recommends that everyone with heat pump units that are older than ten years should either upgrade or replace them. The reason for this, as per the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency is that ENERGY STAR qualified heat pumps and air conditioners and offer substantial long-term energy savings. Replacing a central air conditioning or heat pump unit that is older than 10 years can save you a minimum of 20 percent on energy use.
According to ENERGY STAR, these are the most compelling three reasons to upgrade your heat pump unit:
- Your air conditioner or heat pump unit is 10 years or older: Older units are less effective and not as efficient. The more modern heat pump units can save you up to 20 percent more.
- Your unit needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are rising: Your equipment may have become less efficient, therefore costing you more.
- Your system has become very noisy: This could be caused by a problem with the indoor coil of your system.
Although it may cost a bit and may be something for which you have not budgeted, the initial outlay for upgrading your heat pump will be recovered over time. The higher the SEER unit you choose, the more your savings. There are also many government and manufacturer rebate programs which you can make use of to cut the costs.
The Lifespan of a Heat Pump
One of the important questions to ask when purchasing your home comfort system is what the lifespan of the equipment is. When it comes to the expected lifespan of heat pump units, it depends on various factors, but in general they last approximately fifteen years with good maintenance.
With preventive maintenance, annual tune-ups and safety checks, you can maintain the efficiency and maintain your equipment in good working order for much longer; there are individuals that report that their systems are still working perfectly 25 years later.
Other factors that affect the way that your heat pump system operates are:
- Frequency of use: Because heat pump systems are used for both heating and cooling purposes, it follows that they operate for longer periods and more frequently than the old air conditioners or furnaces.
- Filter changes: Changing your system’s air filters regularly is an important factor in maintaining the system in good order. Check your filters monthly.
- Keeping the area Clean: Keeping the area around the outside of the equipment free of plants, debris, leaves, ice, and snow will extend the lifespan of your system.
- Maintenance of evaporator and condenser coils: This need to be cleaned regularly and the dust that accumulates between the gaps in the fins and on the coils should be cleaned off.
What to Look For In a Heat Pump
One of the most important reasons to upgrade heat pump units is energy and financial savings, so it follows that the higher the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Heating Season Performance Factor (HSPF), the more efficient the unit, ergo the lower the operating costs and the higher the savings.
SEER is the ratio of how much energy (BTUs) is pumped outside in cooling mode, divided by the amount of electricity used for cooling. SEER ratings of between 14 and 18 are excellent and this is what you should look for when purchasing or replacing heat pump units.
The HSFP is the calculation of the ratio of energy pumped indoors for heating to energy used for heating, taking both supplemental heating needs and also the amount of energy used to defrost the unit into account. You need to look for an HSP rating of between 8 and 10.
Other things to look for in a heat pump unit are feature options such as a “desuperheater coil” which heats water by recycling waste heat. Dual mode motors and compressors save energy by automatically adjusting to the level of cooling or heating needed. Scroll compressors operate extremely quietly and are more efficient and longer-lasting that traditional compressors.
Also look out for tax rebates such as those offered by the government on Energy Star rated heat pump units, which can give you a tax credit of 30% of the cost of the unit, up to $1,500, just for installation.