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Some Methods For Selecting Heat Pumps

Views: 292     Author: Kaylee     Publish Time: 2023-11-13      Origin: Site


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Some Methods For Selecting Heat Pumps

How To Pick A Heating System?

Dimensions (Ability)

An inadequate heat pump will find it difficult to maintain a pleasant temperature in your house. However, a bigger unit will cost more and will cycle on and off more frequently than it should if it isn't a variable-speed type. This makes your home less pleasant, stresses out components, and reduces efficiency.

The cooling power of a heat pump is expressed in British thermal units per hour (Btu/hr.). Another way to quantify Btu/hr is in "tons," where 1 ton is equivalent to 12,000 Btu/hr. Make sure your contractor does a load calculation using an approved technique, like the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual J, to guarantee that your heat pump is sized appropriately. Whether you're installing a new system or updating an existing one, the calculations should be done after any improvements to your home's insulation or air sealing.

One thing to think about is that you might want to acquire an undersized heat pump if you intend to use it in conjunction with a backup heating system. You can determine if this makes sense for your house with the assistance of a contractor.

Because heat pumps are so much more energy-efficient than furnaces or boilers, they require significantly less capacity to heat a place. For instance, your house might only require a 36,000-Btu/hr heat pump if a 100,000-Btu/hr furnace was required.

Type Of Compressor

The component that actually pumps the heat in a heat pump is called the compressor. Simple heat pumps just have one speed on their compressor. It can be turned on or off. Although this system functions rather effectively, your home's temperature and relative humidity will fluctuate as a result of the cycles. Although the fluctuations are lessened by the two speeds in certain compressors, they are nevertheless noticeable.

A compressor with variable speed is the gold standard. It is intended to operate nearly continuously, gradually regulating its temperature to provide only the minimum amount of heating or cooling required to maintain a pleasant home. Additionally, it controls relative humidity far better than single-speed ones.

Compressors with variable speeds use less energy and maintain a more pleasant house. Moving a small amount of heat continuously requires a lot less energy than moving a large amount of heat quickly, despite what may seem contradictory.


To provide the same degree of comfort, some heat pumps require less energy than others. The seasonal energy-efficiency rating, or SEER, is a standard way to express efficiency in cooling mode. The efficiency increases with the SEER. The heating seasonal performance factor, or HSPF, is the measurement used in the heating mode. Once more, the device is more energy-efficient the higher the number.

Higher SEER and HSPF heat pumps are often more expensive, but they will frequently pay for themselves over time in lower energy bills, and they could qualify for bigger tax breaks or rebates than less efficient ones. There's no direct correlation between SEER and HSPF ratings, however heat pumps with higher SEER ratings also typically have higher HSPF ratings. In hotter climates, be sure to pay more attention to the SEER. Seek for a higher HSPF in colder regions.

In the United States, a new split system heat pump must have a minimum SEER of 13, and in the southern part of the nation, it must have a minimum of 14. 8.2 is the HSPF minimum. Systems with a minimum SEER of 15 are considered energy-star compliant. Early in 2023, the federal minimum criteria will rise to a minimum HSPF of 8.8 and a SEER of at least 14 in northern regions and 15 in southern regions. The most energy-efficient models have an HSPF of 14 or a SEER of 33.1.

Performance In Climate

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If you live in an area where winters are harsh, you'll need to either choose a heat pump that can withstand the lowest temperatures your area frequently sees or have a backup heating system in case your heat pump breaks down.

When temperatures drop, all air-source heat pumps have difficulty operating; their effective heating area decreases and their efficiency declines. The cutoff point for subpar performance differs across models: At 25°F, some heat pumps stop working, while others fail at 17°F or below.

Cold-climate heat pump models are capable of operating at maximum efficiency down to 5°F, and they may even be able to provide some warmth at -20°F or lower. Working with a licensed local contractor who is familiar with the kind of equipment that are most effective in your region is the best option.

A simple heat pump can take care of the majority of your heating and cooling requirements if you reside in a place where the temperature seldom or never goes below freezing (32°F). For unforeseen cold spells, you can maintain a basic electrical-resistance backup system—which is occasionally integrated into the heat pump itself.


Manufacturers typically list the decibel levels of their devices online and in the user manual. They frequently give decibel-based noise estimates for a range of outdoor temperatures and fan speeds. It is preferable to have a lower rating, particularly if the heat pump will be placed next to a bedroom window.


Reliability is by far the best indicator of an owner's overall satisfaction with a heat pump, according to our member survey.Based on information that Lantai members have supplied on nearly 13,500 heat pumps they have purchased new and installed in their own homes between 2005 and 2021, members may view the estimated dependability and owner satisfaction ratings for 24 brands of heat pumps. The Most and Least Reliable Heat Pumps guide provides a summary of these findings.

Locate The Ideal Contractor  

A new heat pump system should be designed and installed by professionals, as is the case with most heating and cooling systems. Because there is less room for error with heat pumps than with conventional heating systems, accurate sizing is crucial. These pointers can help you choose a reliable installation.

Ask people.Ask your neighbors, relatives, business associates, or nearby green energy resource groups for recommendations. In colder regions of the country, heat pumps are still somewhat of a niche product (though this is rapidly changing); green-energy resource groups may be able to assist you in finding a contractor who is knowledgeable about the technology and skilled in system installation. Obtaining pricing quotations from three or more contractors is a smart move.

Examine their past.When submitting a proposal for your installation, contractors should provide you with proof of bonding, insurance, and any necessary contractor licenses. For complaint records, inquire at the consumer affairs office and Better Business Bureau in your community. To service home heating and cooling equipment, it is advantageous if technicians hold certifications from trade associations like HVAC Excellence or North American Technician Excellence. These and related programs evaluate the technician's proficiency with particular equipment kinds and their appropriate maintenance techniques.

Obtain details.Contractors that base estimates only on house size or nebulous guidelines should be avoided. When calculating the necessary heating and cooling capacity, contractors submitting bids for your project should use an accepted formula, such the one in the ACCA's Residential Load Calculation Manual, often known as Manual J. Manual D is an extra resource for determining ducting requirements. The computations result in a thorough study of the heating and cooling requirements for each room. Request a hardcopy of all the calculations and presumptions, including the design of the ducting.

Additionally, your contractor needs to determine where the outdoor unit should be placed. For a compressor to function properly, there must be enough airflow. Ensure that there is a minimum of two to three feet of distance between the unit and any nearby plants or buildings. Additionally, there must be five feet of space between the unit's top and any overhead trees. Additionally, you should confirm that there is adequate room for you or a professional to access the device and do maintenance. Furthermore, the distance an outdoor compressor can be permitted to be from a neighbor's window or property line may be governed by local building standards.

Is A Standby Heating System Necessary?  

New Energy Material Dryer

A backup heating system shouldn't be required if your home and local climate are properly suited for the heat pump and system design.

However, having a backup system on hand may be the most economical approach to maintain a warm house in a chilly region. Instead of thinking of it as a system with a backup, you could even consider it a hybrid arrangement. The majority of the time—including during the summer, when it handles all of your cooling—you will utilize the heat pump; the backup system will only be needed on the coldest days when the heat pump is unable to keep up. The device can be configured by an electrician to turn on automatically at a predetermined external temperature.

In colder climates, hybrid systems can provide some peace of mind and still save a significant amount of energy and carbon emissions when compared to most other arrangements.

These are some typical hybrid configuration types.

1. Power Strip:

Often found in temperate regions, an electric heating element of modest size can be integrated into the domestic air handler or the heat pump itself. Although these strips consume a lot of electricity, they are a relatively affordable installation and maintenance cost, making them an economical means of surviving brief cold snaps.

2. Radiators Plus Mini-Split:

Oil or propane-powered radiator systems, or "regular" electric resistance heat, are typically more expensive to operate than mini-split systems large enough to heat an entire house. Installing a smaller mini-split that can manage the majority of your heating (and cooling) requirements and saving the old radiator system for the coldest days is a common compromise.

3. Furnace And Ducted Heat Pump:

The radiator and mini-split combination above is based on the same idea. Installing a heat pump is similar to installing a central air conditioning system.

Upkeep Of Heat Pumps  

Although our reader survey revealed no association between maintenance frequency and a heat pump's likelihood of needing repairs or maintenance, it is conventional wisdom that heat pumps should receive frequent maintenance for maximum efficiency. However, a system that is well-maintained ought to function better.

The following tasks should be completed once a year by a service specialist you hire: vacuum the blower compartments, empty the pan and drainage system, and clean and flush the coils. In addition, the contractor must verify that all mechanical parts are functioning correctly, that the system is correctly charged with refrigerant, and that no leaks are present.

Some maintenance is something you can do by yourself as well. Every month, clean the grills and filters. Make sure the drainpipe is clear of obstructions and clean the condenser coils of dirt and debris. Observe the filter manufacturer's recommendations regarding how often to change the filter as well as the instructions for changing it. Generally speaking, a disposable filter requires replacement less frequently the thicker it is.

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