Comfort is on the Horizon

Is There a Heat Pump in Your Future?

Is There a Heat Pump in Your Future?

Time To Start Thinking About Your Home’s Heating System

As the dog days of summer begin their slow fade into fall, we all have to face the fact that winter is coming sooner than we would like it to. Now is a great time to think about your home’s current heating system – as you sip a tall glass of ice-cold lemonade on a hot afternoon under the shade of your favorite tree, of course. Are you ready for winter?

Consider Air-Source Heat Pumps

If you have an aging oil-fired furnace or an air conditioning system that is more than 15 years old, you may want to consider replacing them with an air-source heat pump. Not only is this the most common type of heat pump, but it is also well suited to homes where the furnace and central air conditioning system need to be replaced simultaneously. The single mechanism will save you money on your initial investment and can improve your home’s energy efficiency in the long term.

Air-source heat pumps are not for everyone, though. Heat pump HVAC systems only make sense if you live in a moderate climate – one in which heating and cooling are needed at various times of the year but where outdoor temperatures rarely dip below 40 degrees F for extended periods of time.

This is because the electric-resistance heater inside the pump automatically kicks on when the temperature falls below 40 degrees. If you are lucky enough to have reasonable electric rates, this isn’t a big deal. But if you live in an area where electricity charges are high, your utility bills will take a nasty upturn during a prolonged cold spell.

What Should You Do Prior to Replacing Your Old HVAC

Before you commit to replacing your old HVAC system with an air-source heat pump, check the average winter temperatures for your area. If cold weather temps regularly drop into the 20s or 30s, consider a dual-fuel system instead. These units combine an electric heat pump with an oil- or gas-powered furnace. That way, the furnace – and not the pump’s resistance coil – provides the necessary heat boost in cold weather, and the heat pump delivers energy efficient, low-cost heating and cooling during milder weather.

What Should You Expect

For many of us, a dual-fuel system is a smart investment. If you are considering this option for your home, have your HVAC contractor perform a “Manual J” heat-load calculation. This measurement will help determine the size of the heat pump and furnace that will best meet your home’s climate control requirements. Once you know what size unit you need, you can easily compare different models. Pay particular attention to the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) for heating and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) for cooling. Most heat pumps fall somewhere between 10 to 16 SEER and 6 to 9 HSPF. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit is and the less you will pay in operating costs. A higher efficiency rating also means a more expensive initial purchase price, so be sure you are prepared to compare costs as well as efficiency features.

Contact Horizon Services

So, are you ready to install or replace a heater or air conditioner? Our friendly and experienced team of Comfort Specialists knows heating and air conditioning systems inside and out. They’ll take the time to study your home, understand your heating and cooling requirements, show you all of your options and assist you with finding the quality home comfort system that best meets your family’s needs and budget.