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Heat Pump Pros and Cons

Up until the last decade or so, heat pump cons outweighed heat pump pros because of our cold winters. However, new technology and engineering developments have made this HVAC appliance a viable choice for homeowners in throughout northern region.

Heat pumps work by moving heat from one place to another, just like a refrigerator does. In the summer, the pump removes the heat from your home and dumps it outdoors. In the winter, it extracts heat (there is always some heat in the air at all temperatures) from the outdoor air and brings it indoors. These systems have a reversing valve that changes the flow of refrigerant. A standard heat pump doesn’t require gas or propane to heat, although a dual-fuel option does exist.

Benefits of Using a Heat Pump

  • You’ll get the same energy-efficient cooling benefits from a heat pump as you would with a central air conditioner with the same seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating. The SEER indicates how efficiently the heat pump cools, and it’s measured across an average cooling season. The minimum SEER available is 13, and the most energy efficient heat pump SEER ratings go into the 20s—one of the best heat pump pros benefits.
  • Another of the significant heat pump pros is that this single appliance can both heat and cool your home, making it easy to switch from cooling in the summer to heating in the fall. Maintenance is fairly easy, as well, since there’s just one appliance to service.
  • In heating mode, a heat pump doesn’t dry the air as much as a combustion forced air heating system does because there’s no hot combustion involved. In gas furnaces, the air blows over a heat exchanger that gets very hot, which lowers the relative humidity inside.
  • Heat pumps excel at warming your home in the spring and fall when temperatures are above freezing. Their heating efficiency compared to an electric furnace or heater is significantly higher.

Disadvantages of Heat Pumps

  • One of the most apparent heat pump cons is their inability to heat in subfreezing weather. The heat pump can pull adequate heat from the air when temperatures are above freezing, but as it falls, the unit may not have sufficient heat to gather.

Overcoming Heat Pump Cons

  • Choose a system with a high heating season performance factor (HSPF) – This is the heating equivalent to the SEER rating. The minimum currently stands at 7.7 and goes as high as 13.
  • Use an intelligent recovery thermostat – These programmable thermostats override the heating coil. Instead, the thermostat will calculate the amount of heat your home needs and turn on intermittently to maintain the heat in your home, regardless of the temperature you’ve selected.Instead of letting your home drop to 65 degrees overnight to save energy, the thermostat triggers the heat pump to run so your home will maintain more warmth, thereby avoiding the need for the supplemental coil to turn on in the morning.
  • Opt for dual-fuel heat pumps – Dual fuel models are those that use a supplemental burner to create heat when temperatures drop too low for it to operate efficiently. The heat pump will turn the outdoor condenser off and turn on the combustion furnace in cold weather. Dual fuel systems are ideal ways to heat in our region because they can automatically select the fuel source most efficient for your home, reducing your energy consumption throughout the seasons.

To learn more about heat pump pros and heat pump cons, contact Comfort24-7.com. We provide HVAC services for Chicagoland homeowners, as well as those in southwestern Michigan and northwestern Indiana.

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