I always took my home's heating and cooling system for granted. That is until I found myself battling one of the hottest days in years and my air conditioner simply refused to turn on. After contacting my local HVAC contractor, I learned that my cooling coils had frozen over from a lack of maintenance. He did get my AC back up and running that day, but he also helped me to look at my heating and cooling system in a whole new light. I have spent a lot of time over the last few years learning more about how to properly maintain my HVAC system and ultimately lower my energy costs. Today, I would like to share this knowledge with you so that I can help you to avoid some of the costly mistakes I have made in the past.
Although you've always been able to get through the summer and winter seasons by either changing your attire or keeping a throw blanket on hand, you're beginning to realize that you need a form of temperature control to keep your home comfortable. However, with rising energy costs for both gas and electricity, you're looking for a way to heat and cool your home without breaking the bank. For this reason, you've decided to install a residential heat pump. To ensure you select a heat pump that's ideal for your home, ask yourself these three questions:
Does Your Local Climate Experience Extreme Temperatures?
Since heat pumps typically aren't as powerful as air conditioners or furnaces, they're typically used in climates that don't experience drastic temperature fluctuations between seasons. However, heat pump manufacturers have begun to design heat pump systems that don't possess this downside.
Standard heat pumps transfer heat through the air. If a heat pump is in cooling mode, then it will transfer the hot air inside your home to the cool outdoor air. Similarly, a heat pump in heating mode will transfer heat inside your home. This basic heat pump design is is called an air-source heat pump.
Air-source heat pumps are not capable of providing sufficient temperature while indoor or outdoor air is extremely cold or warm. If you experience scorching summer and freezing winter seasons, then a specialized geothermal (or ground-source) heat pump will be the best option for you.
Geothermal heat pumps remain efficient even in extreme temperatures since they dissipate or draw in heat from a nearby source of groundwater. Since surface temperatures are only capable of affecting underground water up to a certain depth (known as the frost line), geothermal pumps remain effective even during extreme temperatures.
Does Your Home Contain An HVAC Infrastructure?
If your home used to have a central air conditioner or furnace, then you can reduce the installation cost of an air-source heat pump by purchasing one that's compatible with your existing infrastructure. Air duct installation requires a significant amount of renovation and physical labor, so sizing your heat pump system to your existing ducts can save you hundreds of dollars (depending on your contractor's fees).
However, if you plan on using an air-source heat pump but don't have air ducts, there's no need to worry. Mini-split heat pumps offer the same efficiency and ease of use that central systems do, but they don't require a duct system. Instead, mini-split units can be installed in key locations of your home to maximize temperature control. Although mini-split pumps take up wall space, they're easy to install in discreet locations and can even complement other interior design features of your home.
Do You Need A More Efficient Form of Water Heating?
Some geothermal heat pumps are equipped with desuperheaters—a fancy word for a heat exchanger. Desuperheaters use water from your residential water tank to improve the efficiency of your heat pump system. After the water absorbs heat, it's pumped back into your water tank for use in your plumbing fixtures. Geothermal pumps with desuperheaters are capable of significantly decreasing your water heating costs while functioning as a temperature control system as well—which allows you to make your home dramatically more energy efficient.
After answering these three questions, you'll be able to easily determine which heat pumps will be ideal for your home. Regardless of which system you choose, leave the installation of the system up to a professional technician. If you attempt to install your system on your own, you're likely to cause accidental damage to your system without any prior experience.Share
23 July 2015