As more and more homeowners become concerned about their environmental impact, there is an increasing demand for heat pumps. Unfortunately, some homeowners don’t properly understand this type of technology and may be missing out on a more energy efficient option. So here is a brief guide into heat pumps and how they work.
The Heat Pump Basics:
As the name suggests, a heat pump forces heat from one location to another. This type of system can pump heat into your home during the cold, winter weather and move heat from the home in the hotter months. This means that basically, you benefit from a two in one system. Unlike furnaces that require electricity or fossil fuel to generate heat, a heat pump does not actually generate heat already existing in the home. This means that this type of system is highly energy efficient.
The Energy Efficiency:
The energy efficiency of heat pumps is measured with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating or SEER. This figure is used to rank the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor or HSPF. The higher the SEER figure, the greater the efficiency of the system. With the regulations and technological innovations today, there are systems with a rating of up to 26 SEER and an HSPF of more than 10.
Heat Pump Equipment:
A complete heat pump system includes an indoor unit, an outdoor unit, and a thermostat. The indoor unit has a coil, fan, air handler and supplemental heater. The outdoor unit has a coil, fan, reversing valve and compressor. There are different types of heat pump, including water sourced, geothermal and air. These systems use energy from a lake, pond or ocean, the energy in the ground or the surrounding air respectively.
The primary difference between these types of heat pumps is the heat source temperature and the temperature of the delivered heat. The greater the difference, the lower the energy efficiency. For example, with a ground sourced heat pump, the temperature differential will be affected by the time of year. Arguably the most important feature of this type of system relates to the operating temperature. Using HVAC terminology, the lift is the difference between the delivered temperature and the sourced temperature. When the lift is larger, it requires more energy. In simple terms, geothermal heat pumps will pump heat in a shorter temperature differential compared to air sourced pumps as they have less lift. This means that geothermal pumps are more energy efficient.
If you are interested in improving the energy efficiency of your heating system when you upgrade your existing equipment, you may wish to consider a heat pump. There is a vast range of heat pump systems available, which can be integrated into existing ductwork and is compatible with your home. Your HVAC professional will be able to assess your home to determine if a heat pump would be the best solution. They can also provide recommendations and guidance to help you to choose a new system that can offer the most energy efficient heating for your home.