Best Heat Pumps

Best Heat Pumps

What is the best heat pump? This unbiased buying guide will help you arrange through the alternatives so you can make an informed decision.

Due to the fact that heatpump heat and cool homes relatively effectively, they have actually grown significantly in appeal over the last few years. Sadly, though the majority of people comprehend how furnaces and air conditioning unit work, they’re less acquainted with heatpump.

This purchasing guide can assist you become a lot more knowledgeable about them in the hopes that, if you go the route of having a heat pump set up, you may be able to save significantly on your energy bill. And, if you set up one with an Energy Star designation, you can qualify for a $300 tax credit.

Best Heat Pumps

Just like an a/c unit, a heat pump uses refrigeration principles rather than fuel combustion to both heat and cool. In cooling mode, it acts nearly exactly like an air conditioning system, extracting heat from indoors and expelling it outdoors. However, when switched to heating mode, it reverses this process, drawing heat– even from cold outside air– to warm interior rooms. For more about how the most common type works, see How a Heatpump Works.

Is a Heat Pump Right for Your Home?

Whether a heat pump will conserve you loan on energy costs depends upon a number of factors, including your environment, the type of fuel common in your area, and the quantity of insulation and other energy-efficient functions you have in your home.

Heat pumps are not terrific in cold climates. They are most efficient at conserving energy when in the heating mode. In a cold climate, nevertheless, your house requires more heat as the temperature level outside decreases– however the heat pump works less efficiently at lower outdoor temperatures. Below a temperature level referred to as the “balance point,” generally from between 30 and 45 degrees F., supplementary heat is needed– which suggests pricey electrical heating starts.

In a cold environment, the general knowledge is this: If you have gas readily available, it most likely makes sense for you to heat and cool with a conventional forced-air heating and air-conditioning system. Natural gas, required for a gas heating system, has actually typically been a more effective, more economical fuel than electrical energy– though this isn’t really constantly the case. For more about traditional furnaces, please see How to Buy a Heating system.

However in the Northeast or other regions where fuel-oil or electric-resistance heat is more the norm, a heatpump can understand substantial cost savings. Although an electric-resistance heating system is much less expensive to install than a heatpump, the heatpump can provide 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 times more heat with the very same amount of energy, depending on the environment, your home, and the system.

The proper way to decide the most suitable form of heating and cooling for your home is to do an economic analysis based on a system’s purchase price and performance, the cost of your fuel, and your home’s heating/cooling load requirements. Remember that if you’re replacing an existing forced-air furnace and air conditioner with a heatpump, the ductwork may need to be changed, too. Heatpump normally require larger ducts.

Heat Pump Efficiency Ratings

All heating and cooling devices bring a federal “Energy Guide” label that ranks the system’s energy performance for both cooling and heating modes. These ratings are based upon a relative scale; they let you know how a specific design compares to other low- and high-efficiency designs.

What is a SEER Rating? Makers typically use two indexes for measuring– the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Score (SEER) for cooling and the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) for heating. Both are come to through advanced screening and reflect performance over an entire season.

The SEER examines the performance of the heat pump when it remains in air-conditioning (cooling) mode. The ratio is calculated based upon the quantity of cooling created (determined in BTUs) divided by the amount of electrical energy used during the cooling season. A high SEER rating suggests a more energy-efficient unit.

Minimum SEER requirements. In the United States, air-conditioning systems must be made with a minimum SEER of 13. The HSPF is a more important number when it concerns warming a house. This is essentially the like the SEER however assesses additional energy usage such as thawing the unit during winter season and back-up heat requirements. Energy Star– qualified heat pumps have a higher SEER and HSPF than standard designs; as a result, they are about 8 percent more effective than basic new models and 20 percent more efficient than older models.

Effective Heat Pump Alternatives

What makes one heat pump more effective than another? The answer is that they have a variety of alternatives that used sophisticated innovation to heat and deliver conditioned air. For example, the most efficient heat pumps have variable-capacity controls. Rather than running the system at complete capability all of the time, these controls coordinate the compressor and blower to adjust to your house’s cooling and heating load requirements at any provided time. Since they hardly ever run at full speed, these heatpump are quieter, not to point out that they conserve you money over the long run.

Zoned Heating & Cooling

Zoned cooling and heating is among the most popular brand-new ideas in effective energy usage. With a zoned system, you can individually control the airflow sent out to different rooms or zones in your house, directing cooling or heating where you desire it at numerous times of the day. To make this possible, a system requires an unique multizone programmable thermostat and a couple of motorized dampers.

For best outcomes, the air handler’s output must be variable. In truth, it’s best if it can be controlled over a limitless series of speeds, automatically adjusting the amount of heating or cooling provided throughout your house inning accordance with the requirement. If you are in the market for a heat pump, there are several developments to try to find that have actually greatly improved heat-pump effectiveness:

Two-Speed Compressors

Two-speed compressors allow heat pumps to cool or heat only at the capability needed at any offered time, while heatpump with a basic compressor can only operate at maximum capability. This function not only minimizes energy costs, but it likewise lowers wear and tear on the compressor. If you have a large home with a zone-control system, a two-speed heat pump connected to automated dampers will permit you to keep different rooms at various temperature levels.

Variable-Speed Motors

Variable-speed or dual-speed motors on the blowers, outdoor fans, or both help to maintain a constant and comfortable air velocity, also resulting in savings on your utility costs. An added benefit is a reduction in noise since the blower does not have to run at complete speed at all times.

Super High Performance Heat Pumps

Really high-efficiency heatpump feature a “desuperheater,” which utilizes waste heat from the pump’s cooling mode to heat water at a rate 2 to 3 times faster than a regular water heater. Scroll compressors, unlike the piston compressors used in standard heatpump, do a much better job of requiring the refrigerant into smaller and smaller sized areas. This not only leads to a longer and quieter operating life, however it also provides 10 to 15 degrees F. warmer air when in the heating mode.

Backup Burners

In addition to electric-resistance heating systems as a backup in cold weather, heat pumps can also be supplemented with burners that run on a number of different types of fuel.
Backup burners resolve the issue of offering heat during very cold weather and at a reduction in electrical expenses. Few heat-pump producers integrate both types of heat supply in one system, however two smaller sized systems can share the exact same ductwork. This kind of system can save money on energy expenses, depending on how pricey the combustion fuel in your area is compared to electrical power.

Heat Pump Sound

When picking a heat pump, look for a system with an outside sound rating of less than 7.6 bels (76 decibels). Likewise, speak with the dealership about the accessibility of noise-reducing platforms and sound screens.

Sizing a Heat Pump

Many heatpump manufacturers make items in several sizes inning accordance with the amount of air they move. Systems are designated by “tons”– a measurement that initially referred to the quantity of ice needed to cool a comparable quantity of air. Normal home sizes range from 1 1/2- to 5-ton capability.

Though sizing a system ought to be handled by a professional, you can get an approximation of size by figuring about 400 square feet of living space per heap in older homes, so, a 1,600-square-foot house would typically need about a 4-ton system. Newer houses with double-paned windows and more insulation can get by with smaller sized systems.

Rates for products range from just under $2,000 for small, low-efficiency models to $7,500 for high-grade, high-efficiency systems.

Heat Pump Refrigerants

The refrigerant a heat pump uses for heat transfer is an important factor to consider when buying a brand-new model. Nearly all significant brand names of heatpump on the marketplace today have moved from R22– likewise known as freon– to more environmentally sustainable refrigerants.

R22 refrigerant is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon that is known to deplete the ozone layer and can subject the earth to hazardous ultraviolet rays from the sun. It will be totally phased out of domestic use by the year 2020. Till that date, R22 is expected to become increasingly more costly to obtain as makers cease production and existing recycled stocks decrease.

Environmentally friendly refrigerants. Other, non-harmful refrigerants have been established and are readily available, however it is necessary to understand that heat pumps that use R22 can not be accuseded of the newer, more secure refrigerants since the systems are not compatible.


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Morris T. Parson, Tech Support

Leading specialist in electronics and engineering. Author of dozens of articles on various topics from the world of hi-tech. Sound independent analysis of products, exploring new niches and global trends is his special passion.

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