Heat pumps can save you as much as 75% on traditional heating and cooling costs.
Since heat pumps do not have to generate heat, but merely transfer it, they require much less energy to run than traditional combustion systems. Although electricity is needed to move the heat from outdoors to indoors during heating season and from the indoors to the outdoors during cooling season, high-efficiency heat pumps have very low operating costs because they take advantage of heat that is already naturally available.
Besides saving you on operating costs, heat pumps also tend to take up less space and provide better humidification levels than your standard furnace or air conditioner. Contrary to common belief, heat pumps are all-in-one systems, able to both heat and cool your home and substitute your individual heating and cooling systems.
There are three main types of heat pump systems available: air source, water source, and ground source, which indicate where the heat pump collects its heat from.
- Air Source Heat Pumps are best for moderate climates, since they harness heat from the outdoor air, which is difficult to do in subfreezing conditions. Depending upon the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and heating season performance factor (HSPF) of each individual unit along with proper installation and maintenance, just as with air conditioners, the heating and cooling efficiency ranges quite a bit. These systems generally boast huge energy savings in moderate climates and are safe and convenient to use since they do not rely on flammable fuels.
- Absorption Heat Pumps are essentially air source heat pumps, but instead of being powered by electricity, they use natural gas, propane, solar-heated water, or geothermal-heated water as a heat source. The refrigerant still absorbs and releases heat, but since it uses ammonia-water, a heat source is necessary to boil the ammonia out of the water, which completes the cycle. These systems are great for when there is no access to electricity and are highly flexible, allowing you to use nearly any other heat source to run the unit. These systems are best for homes larger than 2,000 square feet.
- Water Source Heat Pumps are mostly used for industrial and commercial purposes since they can simultaneously provide heating and cooling, allowing individual zone control. Although a large enough home could benefit from a water source heat pump, keep in mind that the maintenance is more expensive and they tend to have shorter lifespans that other systems. If you have a pond or a lake on your property, it might be the best choice for you.
- Geothermal Heat Pumps can be both ground source or water source heat pumps and are some of the most efficient and environmentally friendly HVAC systems available. Although the temperature dramatically fluctuates up here on the surface, just a couple meters below us, the temperature remains fairly constant. As a reliable, sustainable, and cheap energy source, geothermal, or “earth heat” energy, can supply your home with heating, cooling, and water heating as well. Assuming regular maintenance, geothermal ground loops are good for over 50 years and the internal components will last over 25 years. Although the initial installation costs are much higher than air source or combustion based heat pumps, you will get compensated the extra costs over just 5 or 10 years from lower operating costs.
- Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pumps are cheaper to install and can be customized to create zoned systems, given that these systems do not require an air duct system. For homes without duct systems, this is probably the best way to retrofit your home that uses radiant heating, space heaters, and hydronic (hot water) heating. They are also great for any add-on rooms or additions. With their small size and easy zoning abilities, mini-split systems will save you money since you only have to heat the zones that people are using. No more expensive air duct cleaning, or worrying about air duct leakage. These sleek and modern looking machines offer a lot of flexibility for interior design, allowing you to install them on ceilings, floors, walls, or hidden completely.
If you are looking to replace your outdated, and probably inefficient, heating and/or cooling system, give us a call now to discuss you energy-efficient heat pump options! Our licensed, trained technicians will be more than happy to help you decide which system is best for your home. We are a customer-driven company, so rest assured your needs will always be met.