If your old heating system is in need of replacement, consider switching to something entirely different: a heat pump. Heat pumps are efficient ways to heat and cool your home. If you think a heat pump may be a good choice, check out these three questions that can help you choose the right one for your home.
Do You Have Existing Ductwork?
When choosing a heat pump, you can choose a ducted system or a ductless system. The best way to determine which system is right for you is to determine whether you have existing ductwork or not. If you do, you probably want a ducted system. Ducted systems work much like forced-air furnaces to push warm air from the exterior unit through the ducts and into the living spaces of your home. The downside, however, is that they fall victim to the same duct-related inadequacies as forced-air furnaces, such as allowing air to escape through holes or cool as it travels through the ducts.
If you don't have ducts, a mini-split ductless system is a better choice. Mini-split systems also have one exterior unit, but each room has its one interior wall unit, which looks like a fan. The air is sent to these interior units via tubes, which require little installation. The benefit of a ductless system is that it costs less to operate and you get an immediate return on your investment. On the down side, you have to install an interior unit in every room, which could be cumbersome and ugly.
Do You Want an Air-Source or Geothermal System?
A second question to consider is what heat source do you prefer: air-source or geothermal? Both units work similarly. They pull heat from outside the home and pump it inside. During the summer, they both work to pull cool air into your home and expel hot air outside. Air-source systems, however, pull heat from the air. They are less expensive to install, but they are not as efficient as geothermal systems.
Geothermal heat pumps pull heat from the ground, and they are more efficient and effective than air-source heat pumps. They can reach an efficiency of 300 to 600, while air-source heat pumps can only reach 175 to 300. The exterior system for a geothermal heat pump is located in the ground, which protects it from the elements and allows it to last longer. On the downside, geothermal systems cost more to install, so they are more of a long-term investment.
What Are the Efficiency Ratings?
If you're switching to a heat pump, it's probably because you want a more efficient system, so when choosing one, don't forget to consider the efficiency ratings. The SEER rating, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio, measures how efficient the system is during the summer to cool your home when compared to the amount of energy used.
The HSPF, or heating seasonal performance factor, measures how efficient the system heats your home when compared to the amount of energy used. Higher numbers usually mean the system is more efficient, and the minimum ratings are SEER 13 and HSPF 7.7, so you shouldn't see (and definitely shouldn't buy) any heat pump with a lower ratings. There are other efficiency options you can consider, such as a scroll compressor in place of a traditional compressor, but these options are usually on more expensive systems.
A heat pump can be an incredible upgrade to your home because it offers efficient heating and cooling, but you'll need to determine which system is right for your home. If you need more information or would like help discussing the best choice for your home, contact a company like Actionaire Inc.