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Common Questions About Heat Pumps Answered

One of the less popular contenders for home heating and cooling is the heat pump. Many consumers are a bit confused about how these pumps work and how they can implement them into their homes. We’re going to address these questions and more so that you can get a better idea of whether or not a heat pump is right for your needs.

How Does It Work?

Heat pumps are heating and cooling systems that are installed on the exterior of your home. They work as a method to transport heat to a desired location via refrigerant. In the summertime, the system will transfer the heat inside of your home to the outdoors. In the wintertime, the system will transfer the heat from the outdoors into your home. Many people get confused because they don’t believe that there is heat in the outdoor air during the winter months. This couldn’t be further from the truth as there is heat in the outdoor air that can be utilized to heat your home.

What Fuel Does It Use?

Heat pumps are specifically designed to utilize electricity as their fuel source. They do not burn fossil fuels like oil or gas furnaces do. Due to the fact that these systems don’t actually produce heated or cooled air, they are very energy efficient.

Are There Different Types of Heat Pumps?

There are two main types of heat pumps out on the market. These are air-source and ground-source heat pumps. The most commonly used are air-source heat pumps, which are responsible for transferring heat from the indoor and outdoor air. These are most popular for residential heating and cooling needs. The second type of heat pump that is out there is the ground-source heat pump, which is also referred to as a geothermal heat pump. This type of system is responsible for transferring heat between the air inside of your home and the ground outside. This geothermal system tends to be more expensive to install due to the excess labor of digging into the ground. However, geothermal pumps are more efficient and have lower operating costs than air-source heat pumps.

Where Are Heat Pumps Most Effective?

Heat pumps are recommended for homes that are in milder climates. These systems work best when the environment doesn’t get below freezing temperatures. However, homeowners can couple utilizing the heat pump with another heating source like a furnace to get the most energy-efficient operation. This type of system is called a dual-fuel system.

Are There Ductless Options?

Yes. Rather, indoor wall units are placed in each of the main rooms throughout your home. A 3-inch hole is drilled directly to the outside of your home, and the conduit is run down to the compressor unit. The outdoor compressor unit is responsible for transferring heat either indoors or outdoors, depending on the settings that the homeowner has. The lack of ducting in these types of systems is a major benefit because they are more energy efficient. No longer are you losing warmed or cooled air through leaks in your ductwork.

Is There One or More Than One Thermostat?

A great benefit of using ductless heat pump systems is that they allow you the convenience of zone heating and cooling throughout your home. Instead of having one main thermostat that you set to the desired temperature for your entire home, you can set individual temperatures for each indoor unit that you have. Most units are going to come with a remote that allows you to change the settings at your will. The thermostat for each unit is typically inside of the remote itself. This means that you can set your living room temperature slightly higher in the wintertime than what your bedroom temperature would be. This not only helps to provide more comfort when you’re going to sleep but can also allow you to be more energy efficient by being able to alter the temperature in each room.

Will They Work When the Temperatures Is Really Cold?

Heat pumps are created to work in colder climates. However, it’s important that you pay attention to the specific model heat pump that you have. Each one will have its own rating for how cold it can be and still produce heat. For example, one heat pump may work until -13 degrees Fahrenheit while another one may only work until -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Is the Defrost Cycle?

If you opt for getting a heat pump, it’s important that you understand what the defrost cycle is or it could be quite alarming when it first happens. Most heat pumps are specifically designed with a defrost cycle that helps to remove ice buildup and frost from the outdoor coils. Whenever there are frost conditions outside of your home, your heat pump will expel its energy to produce heat at the outdoor unit. This will look like steam coming off of your compressor unit. It will continue to produce heat for a short while until the coil reaches around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This cycle is necessary for heat pumps because frost on the coil can make the system work much harder than it needs to produce heat for your home.

How Much Do Heat Pumps Cost?

The cost of purchasing a heat pump is highly dependent on the size of your home and the type of unit that you purchased. On average, most homeowners will pay between $3,500 and $7,500 for unit and installation costs for an air-source heat pump. On the other hand, homeowners looking to install a geothermal heat pump will end up paying anywhere between $13,000 and $36,000 for the unit and installation. It’s important to note that there are many different factors that have to be taken into consideration when determining the price of your heat pump. The most common are the size, brand, installation cost, SEER rating, and HSPF rating.

How Long Do They Last?

A general rule of thumb is that heat pumps will last anywhere between 10 and 20 years. Most homeowners find that their unit lasts for around 15 years. Most manufacturers offer a five- to 10-year warranty for their system. It’s important to look at the warranty to see whether or not they’re going to pay for the labor or just the parts.

What Is a Heat Pump’s Average SEER Rating?

If you’re considering purchasing a heat pump, you’ll want to purchase one that has a high SEER rating. The higher the rating, the more energy efficient the system is. Most heat pumps range anywhere between 14 and 20 on the SEER rating scale.

What Is a Heat Pump’s Average HSPF Rating?

Since heat pumps work as both a cooling and heating device, it’s important that you also pay attention to the HSPF rating as you want to get a system that provides efficiency in the wintertime. Most heat pumps will range anywhere between 7.7 and 10 HSPF.

Excellent Heat Pump Services

Dynamic Air Services offers excellent heat pump services for the Lake Forest, CA, area. We’re proud to be here for all of your air conditioning, heating, indoor air quality, home security, duct cleaning, and commercial HVAC needs. Contact us today to get the assistance that you require.
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