How Much Energy Do You Save With Heat Pumps
Looking for a new way to heat and cool your home? Maybe it’s time to look at a heat pump. Heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular because of their high efficiency and “clean” energy capabilities. Originally installed to provide heating, they are increasingly used for summer cooling as well.
What Is A Heat Pump?
A heat pump operates in a similar manner to your refrigerator. Refrigerant flows through connected indoor and outdoor coils.
To heat your home, liquid refrigerant flows to the outdoor coil. It passes through an expansion valve that creates rapid expansion of the liquid, causing it to become a gas. This results in a very rapid cooling of the refrigerant. As it flows through the outdoor coil, it absorbs heat energy from the air flow. Before it passes back into the indoor coil, it runs through a compressor where the gas is compressed, increasing both the pressure and the temperature. As it moves indoors, the gas condenses, releasing the underlying heat.
To cool your home, the process works in reverse.
What Do Heat Pumps Use For Energy?
Heat pumps provide several sources of energy for creating hot and cold air:
Air to air units – can be used effectively in areas where the heat source is plentiful. As temperatures fall, air to air heat pumps can require defrosting and will not produce heat during this process.
Ground to air units – have the advantage that ground temperatures are usually fairly constant year round. They can also provide high efficiency even on very cold winter nights.
Water to air units – water is an excellent source of low grade heat, but the building or home must be located near a water supply in order to put this into use.
Because of their increased interest, you’ll find many heat pumps on the market, including heat pumps that are able to carry the ENERGY STAR label. These heat pumps use up to 30 percent less energy than other heat pumps in the marketplace. An ENERGY STAR heat pump has been tested to perform at our typical highs and lows, and when properly sized and installed can continue to work and heat and cool your home efficiently for years to come.
A heat pump will come rated with a heating capacity. These are based on standardized testing under laboratory conditions.
- An H1 rates the unit’s heating output when the outside temperature is at 7°C.
- An H2 rates the unit’s heating output when the outside temperature is at 2°C.
- An H3 rates the unit’s heating output when the outside temperature is at -7°C.
These ratings allow you to select the right heat pump for the climate conditions in your location. It is important to remember that heat pumps are rated based on lab testing; results will vary depending on your geographical location and your family’s lifestyle.
What Heat Pump Size Is Best For Your Home?
In order to get the best results and operate at full efficiency, it’s important to size the heat pump correctly.
If you choose a heat pump too large for the location, the system will cycle on and off repeatedly as the temperature is quickly reached. This is an inefficient way of heating/cooling and will reduce the life expectancy of the unit. If your system is operated through ducts, they will experience higher than normal pressure, which can cause leaks to form throughout the system.
If you choose a heat pump too small for the location, the unit will operate continuously as it attempts to reach the desired temperature. This reduces the outside coil temperature and causes it to operate in defrost mode on a regular basis.
As a professional HVAC company, we can help you select the right size heat pump for both your location and for your lifestyle. Size should be determined by taking a variety of things into account, including things like:
- Geographical location
- Orientation of your home or building
- How many windows you have
- How much insulation is in place
- Number of people living in your home
- Activity level
And of course a whole lot more.
How Can You Optimize Efficiency With A Heat Pump?
For many people, their desire to switch from a more traditional way of heating and cooling their homes, to a heat pump heating and cooling system is for the energy efficiency benefits.
Heat pumps don’t generate heat; they move heat instead. As a result, they have a very high ratio of heat output to energy input.
Heating efficiency is expressed as a coefficient of performance (COP) while cooling efficiency is expressed as an energy efficiency ratio (EER.)
In most cases, a residential heat pump can achieve a COP of anywhere from 2 to 4.5, which means the heat pump produces anywhere from 2 to 4.5 times as much heat as the electricity it takes to produce it. For heat pumps that fall under ENERGY STAR guidelines, we’re finding some heat pumps can go as high as 5.7 COP.
What makes a heat pump such an exciting entry into the heating industry is it is currently the only form of heating where the COP in most cases is above a 1 rating. A heat pump is the most efficient form of residential heating available.
With cooling, a residential heat pump can achieve EER at about 2.5 to 4, which means that the heat pump produces about 2.5 to 4 times as much cooling as the electricity it takes to produce it. For heat pumps that fall under ENERGY STAR guidelines, we’re finding some heat pumps can go as high as 5.8 EER.
Is a heat pump for you?
When considering a heat pump, consider its primary use. Will you use it mostly for heating or for cooling?
To learn even more about the benefits of installing a heat pump system in your home, get started by giving us a call. We’ll help you evaluate your current methods of heating and cooling and show you how a heat pump may be the best addition you can make to your home.