A Heat Pump Buyer’s Guide for Homeowners
The items on a heat pump buyer’s guide take into account factors like heating and cooling efficiency, options and existing systems such as ductwork. For all but the coldest winter spells, heat pumps function as both cooling and heating systems for your home. Supplemental heating is generally only required when temperatures dip toward freezing. In fact, some of the newest, highest-efficiency units can even heat adequately below 32 degrees. Even with all the currently available features, heat pump technology continues to evolve.
For the here and now, however, these are just three of the bullet points on a heat pump buyer’s guide:
- HSPF and SEER – These rating systems express heating and cooling efficiency, respectively. Heating system performance factor (HSPF) ranges for a current minimum of 7.7 to the highest efficiency heat pumps with HSPF 10. SEER, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio, rates the air conditioning function and ranges from 13 for standard efficiency units to as high as 20. The best balance between upfront cost and energy efficiency is in the range between SEER 14 and 18.
- Available options – A two-stage compressor runs at lower output when temperature conditions permit, saving energy and reducing wear and tear on components. Variable-speed blowers with electronically commutated motors (ECMs) maintain a more efficient, continuous circulation of air versus the conventional one-speed on/off blowers. Desuperheater technology available on some units lowers household water heating costs by reclaiming spare heat pump energy to pre-heat water.
- Ductwork matters – Connecting a high-efficiency heat pump to leaky, deteriorated ducts is counterproductive. Heat pumps actually operate at a higher air volume requirement than your old air conditioner/furnace combo. Your HVAC contractor can calculate the capacity of your new system and determine if ductwork should be upgraded as well. Existing ducts should also be pressure-tested for leaks and sealed if they’re re-utilized.
For sales and service to emergency repairs and complete system upgrades, Sobieski Services has homeowners covered. Call us for fast answers to any issues on your heat pump buyer’s guide.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
Image credit: Simon Cocks