When you buy heat pumps one of the benefits is that you don’t have to install different systems to heat and cool your home. Heat pumps don’t only heat and cool homes, they play a part in heating swimming pools as well. Some models of heat pumps are equipped with variable-speed or dual-speed motors on their blowers. The variable-speed controls keep the air moving at a comfortable velocity and maximize electrical savings. Some high-efficiency heat pumps are equipped with a desuperheater which is able to heat water far more efficiently than an ordinary electric water heater.
Heat produced by a heat pump for instance is not as intense as the heat from a furnace. Some people prefer the warmth produced by heat pumps, because they appreciate the fact that the heat is distributed evenly throughout the house, so you won’t find cold areas in the home. The heat pump will also turn on and off less frequently than a gas furnace.
There are a few things you need to consider before buying a heat pump, namely:
- The price of heat pumps
- Heat pump brands
- Efficiency ratings
- Size of heat pump
- Installations costs
- Maintenance and services
Different Types of Heat Pumps
There are a number of different kinds of heat pumps, but they all operate on the same basic principle, and that is heat transfer. The device moves heat from one place to another. The heat pump uses a small amount of energy to pull heat out of a relatively low-temperature area, and pumps it into a higher temperature area.
One of the more known types of heat pumps is the air-source heat pump. One of the advantages of an air source heat pump over a ground source heat pump for instance is that an air source heat pump requires far less space to install, as well as no excavations and this makes it more suitable for the average home owner. They absorb heat from the outside air and can be used for under floor heating systems or hot water in your home. The air source heat pump can get heat from the air even when the temperature is as low as -15° C. The air source variety is a pretty basic unit with two fans, the refrigerator coils, a reversing valve and a compressor inside to make it work.
Ground-source heat pumps absorb heat from an underground body of water, transferring it indoors. The more common type of ground-source heat pump transfers heat from the ground by absorbing it through buried pipes filled with water or a refrigerant. The pipes are closed-loop or open-loop systems. With the open-loop system, water is pumped out of the underground water source, the heat is extracted from the water, and the water returned to the well. More water is then pumped from the well to extract more heat in a continuous open loop. Ground-source heat pumps are better dehumidifiers than regular air conditioners, and this is because they have a larger, flat return coil that conditions and dehumidifies more air. Air-source heat pumps have about the same dehumidifying capabilities as air conditioning systems.
The All-Climate heat pump operates in temperatures as cold as -30 degrees F. The All-Climate heat pump is designed primarily for heating.
Is it Costly to Install a Heat Pump?
The cost to install and run heat pumps will vary. For instance, geothermal heat pumps are more expensive to install and this is because ground-source pumps require you to dig down to a heat source and involve more complex heat transfer systems. Air-source heat pumps will be much cheaper because these units are less complicated and installation is easier. However, air-source heat pumps may use more supplemental energy to run in colder climates, costing you more on your utility bill. What it costs to run as well as repair a heat pump will also differ with the type of system.
A ground-source heat pump is cheaper to run because the ground and water have a more or less constant temperature that allows the heat pump to operate efficiently. The systems also are not exposed to outdoor weather conditions which takes its toll on the wear and tear of the system. You need to bear in mind though, that the ground source heat pump will be more expensive to repair because you will need to access an underground portion of the system.
When you buy heat pumps you can certainly save on your utility bill, but remember that if you don’t maintain your heat pump, its efficiency will gradually be reduced. With heat pumps it is also important to learn how to control the system so you can get the most out of it. The technician who installs your system should explain to you how to control the system so you can use it most effectively.
Efficient Rating of a Heat Pump
Manufacturers rate the efficiency of heat pumps by way of SEER and HSFP ratings and the higher these are, the more energy efficient the unit will be. What does SEER mean? It is the seasonal energy efficiency rating, and for this reason it is a good idea to look for a SEER rating between 14and 18. Measured in BTUs, it is the ratio of how much energy is pumped outside in cooling mode divided by the electricity used for cooling. What does HSFP mean? It stands for heating seasonal performance factor. Always look for a unit with an HSFP rating between 8 and 10. HSFP takes into account supplemental heating needs and the energy used to defrost the unit.
Look out for Energy Star heat pumps because this means the products meets strict energy efficiency guidelines. These guidelines are set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Saving energy ultimately helps you save money on utility bills as well as protect the environment because greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.
So how do You Maintain Your Heat Pump?
Remember that you should always refer to the booklet that comes with any new appliance because there are always a few things you can to repair your heat pump problem before you call for professional help.
- Try resetting the motor – check the pump ignition and ensure you don’t have a blown fuse
- Check the thermostat
- If you like to use your heat pump often you should look at the filter often – make sure there are no airflow blockages
- Check that the air inlet grill and evaporator are free of leaves and other debris
- Check for loose parts
- Keep fans and coils clean and free from debris
- Have your heat pump inspected by a professional each year
- Avoid using the wrong refrigerant
If you are not into being a handyman, then rather, for the wellbeing of your heat pump, call a professional out. With proper maintenance your heat pump should last for about 15 to 30 years or even longer. Most heat pump systems come with a 10 year warranty.
One of the yearly checks that you are likely to be advised to carry out is to Any plants that have started to grow near the heat pump unit will also need to be removed. You may also be advised by your installer to check the central heating pressure gauge in your house from time to time. If so, you should be shown how to do this.
To prevent the heat pump from freezing in cold winter weather anti-freeze is used. Levels of anti-freeze and its concentration is one of the things that a professional installer will check when he comes to service your heat pump.
A Quieter Operating Heat Pump
Most heat pumps use electric resistance heaters as a backup but heat pumps can also be equipped with burners to boost the heat pump. Another advance in heat pump technology is the scroll compressor, made up of two spiral-shaped scrolls. Compared to piston compressors, scroll compressors have a longer operating life and are quieter. Heat pumps with scroll compressors provide 10°–15°F warmer air when in the heating mode, compared to existing heat pumps with piston compressors.
Once you have decided that a heat pump is what you want, there are a number of things to consider:
- You always want to choose from a reliable brand
- To prevent your heat pump from freezing, anti-freeze can be used but the levels of anti-freeze as well as its concentration can be explained to you by the professional installer.
- Choose a heat pump that is sized and suited to your particular house
- Choose a company who does the installation for you. A faulty installation will simply mean your heat pump will not work properly and its energy efficiency will be jeopardized.
- Decide if heating or cooling is what you are essentially after and select features accordingly.
- Always make sure that the heat pump is sized according to area you want heated or cooled – price and features will play a role.
- Select your heat pump according to efficiency rating, with Energy Star in mind.
Warranties are much the same with the different heat pumps, although depending on the brand, they may be slight variations. Some of the different brands are Amana, Armstrong, Bryant, Coleman, Carrier, York, Goodman, Friedrich, Comfortmaker, Goldstar, Goodman, and Payne amongst many others.
Amana, for example, offers a Lifetime Limited Warranty protection for the compressor to the original, registered, homeowner. To receive the Lifetime Limited Warranty, online registration is required within 60 days of installation.
People love to buy heat pumps because in this day and age they want heating and cooling systems that calculate the energy requirements. Heat Pumps are energy efficient and consumers love the clear and simple operating controls as well as the convenient and environmentally friendly benefits that they offer.