Is a Heat Pump Right for Your Home?
Your climate, the cost of fuel in your area, and the efficiency of your home determine whether a heat pump is a good solution for your heating and cooling needs.
In recent years, heat pumps have been getting a lot of attention as an energy-efficient option for both heating and cooling. However, it’s important to understand that heat pumps are not ideal for every situation. Before you invest in a new heat pump, consider the following 3 factors that will affect how much this technology may save you on your energy bills.
First of all, consider the climate you live in. Heat pumps are most energy-efficient in heating mode, but only to a certain point. When temperatures drop below the system’s balance point (usually between 35 and 40°F), the system will stop producing sufficient heat. You would have to have a supplemental heat source such as a furnace in place to handle very cold temperatures. Here in California, we have a mild climate that suits heat pumps well and you may be able to use your heat pump as your sole heat source.
Next, consider the fuel savings you may realize if you switch to a heat pump. Typically, the least expensive heating fuel is natural gas, followed by electricity and then fuel oil. Therefore switching to an electric heat pump will produce the most savings if you used to rely on fuel oil. However, due to the improved efficiency of the system it may also provide savings if you have an old heater of any kind that is no longer operating at its top efficiency.
Don’t forget to also consider the refrigerant your heat pump needs. Though this is not technically a fuel, it is essential for the operation of your heat pump. While your old air conditioner probably uses R22 refrigerant, which is being phased out and is expected to increase in price each year until supplies are exhausted, new heat pumps use readily available and affordable alternative refrigerants.
Efficiency of Your Home
One final consideration is the energy-efficiency of you home. Obviously you will not achieve maximum performance and efficiency from your new heat pump if your home is full of drafts or poorly insulated. Therefore, it would be wise to schedule a visit from General Heating & Air Conditioning to check your home performance and address any issues before buying any kind of new HVAC equipment.