Air-source heat pumps are ideal for the climate of southern California. They work like a high-efficiency air conditioner in the summer and an adequate furnace in the winter as long as the temperature doesn’t drop below freezing. When this happens, backup heat kicks on and the system isn’t nearly as efficient. However, before you have a new system installed, you need to ask three questions related to heat pump performance.
What is the airflow? The ideal airflow for maximum heat pump performance is between 400 and 500 cubic feet per minute for every ton of the system’s cooling capacity. Your heat pump will run significantly less efficiently as airflow decreases. Make sure the technician you work with knows how to test and correct airflow issues.
Are the ducts insulated and sealed? To minimize energy loss as air travels through the ducts, ducts should be insulated and any gaps in joints should be sealed. If ducts aren’t insulated, they will transfer heat as they travel through unconditioned spaces, such as the attic and garage. Gaps allow air to escape, which reduces airflow and decreases heat pump performance. Have your ductwork inspected for efficiency before you have your system installed.
Is the refrigerant charge correct? Heat pumps should be charged perfectly before they leave the manufacturer, but technicians should double check the charge when they install your unit. After this initial inspection, verify the numbers with the technician and keep them written down in a safe place. Then, when the charge is re-examined at every service call, verify that the numbers match the original reading. The correct charge and lack of leaks in the system are essential for heat pump performance to match what the manufacturer advertises. Even if the charge is off by more than a few ounces, the efficiency of your heat pump will be affected.
For more information about improving heat pump performance, or to browse through a selection of efficient heat pumps, please contact Around the Clock Air Conditioning and Heating in Los Angeles. We’re happy to answer your heat pump-related questions and offer expert advice on making a selection for your home.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.