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Does an Electric Heat Pump Save Money?

Whether it’s used during the cold months of the Pacific Northwest winter or it’s used to cool things down in the summer, an electric heat pump can be a great way to save money, cut carbon emissions, and keep your energy needs simple and affordable. The professionals at Entek have the information you need.

How Does a Heat Pump Work?

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Heat pumps are designed to run all year long. They have three settings, including summer, winter, and defrost. They’re designed to optimize heating and cooling depending on the temperature and pressure set for the unit. In order to warm the house, your heat pump will suck in warm air from outside (even if it’s chilly out) and then distribute it throughout the house.

Summertime brings the opposite: your heat pump will move the warmth from inside your home to outside. The defrost mode is simply what it sounds like. If the coolant inside the machine gets too icy, it will need to be thawed—a short process of a couple of minutes or less—before it’s returned to its workable summer mode.

A Heat Pump Is an Investment

Technology continues to make bounds and strides when it comes to the development and complexity of new tech. As for heat pumps, according to the Gas Research Institute, as the efficiency of heat pumps increases, so do their anticipated life spans. They have the potential to last for 10 to 30 years, and in that time, it’s more likely that you’ll be required to replace the boiler a time or two before there would be anything going on with the heat pump. The geothermal ground-source variant will likely last longer.

Upfront costs will sometimes set you back $2,000, $4,000, $6,000, or more, but a higher-end electric heat pump can last you a couple of decades. The overall costs will depend on whether you’re buying a ground-source or an air-source pump. Ground-source pumps are more expensive just because of the actual source placement time, energy, and materials needed to set the system up. Air-source heat pumps can still cost you a medium investment, but they’re less expensive because of their simpler unit structure and an easier installation.

Buying a heat pump is like an investment in future savings and current environmental benefits. By decreasing your output, you’re curbing your impact.

Costs of Running a Heat Pump

There are a few “running” costs you should take into consideration before investing in a heat pump. These include factors that are subjective to each home and the region where it’s built, so before deciding on a heat pump, be sure to factor in these components.

Cost of Electricity

One of the first components to consider (and research) is the price of electricity. This is a number that’s related to both where you live and your habits. According to Home Advisor, the annual cost of running a heat pump, for both your heating and cooling needs, will run you about $850. This is the estimated cost for a very efficient model, so if yours isn’t as efficient, expect this number to increase. The average annual heating cost for an electric heat pump will be closer to $500.

Amount of Heat Required

The costs will also depend on how big your home is and the overall quality of the system you purchase. If you have a mansion, for example, the costs are going to be very different than the sample figures above. The higher the square footage of your home, the higher the cost of heating your home. This fact is pretty universal to all fuel types.

The amount of heat required will also be based on the personal preferences of the home’s residents. Some people will heat at moderate temperatures, while others desire a much warmer base temperature. The same goes for cooling during the summer; some people prefer a cooler environment.

Along with personal preferences, you’ll want to consider daily use of your pump. Most homeowners opt for milder temperatures when they’re away from home or sleeping: slightly cooler than comfortable in the winter and slightly warmer than comfortable in the summer, for example. However, if a homeowner works from home or stays home with their kids every day, they’ll want to keep the house at a more comfortable temperature throughout the day.

Heat Pump’s Efficiency

A heat pump can save you somewhere between 30 to 40 percent on your utility bill. The unit’s efficiency can alter that number some, so it’s best to keep on top of maintenance (changing out the filter, keeping the coils and fan free from debris, etc.) and make sure it’s kept in working order. Efficiency can decrease with neglect. If you’re running the system daily, it makes sense to replace the filter on a monthly basis. If you’re only using it occasionally, you can replace the filter every three months instead. Keeping your system in good shape will give it a longer life span and keep saving you money.

Temperature Outside

When buying a heat pump, your climate region is a very important factor to consider. The system you purchase should be a good match for the outside temperature and type of weather you experience during all the seasons. The savings you have from the heat pump will be worth the initial investment if you’re taking into account all the factors that make your purchase a sensible one.

There’s also another point to consider with your above-ground unit. What climatic elements will it be exposed to? It’s important to do your research on this point, as the selection of the most-efficient model and type for your area can make all the difference in how much money an electric heat pump can save you over the course of a month, a year, and the course of the system’s lifetime.


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