What You Need to Know Before Installing a Heat Pump
Heat pumps do more than just heat the home; they also cool it and help to control the levels of humidity in your house. Buying and installing a heat pump is a major investment, and you should consider several factors to ensure that you get the most appropriate unit for your needs.
Here is what you need to know if you are in the market for a heat pump.
Many heat pump brands are available, but all fall under one of three categories — air source, mini-splits, or geothermal heat pumps.
Air-source heat pumps are the most common for both warm and cool climates. Refrigerant flows from the outdoor pump to the indoor air handler and back through your home’s duct system. Air-source systems do a great job of dehumidifying your home in warmer months.
Mini-splits, also known as split-ductless systems, are suitable for homes that do not have ducts. Like air-source heat pumps, mini-splits also have an indoor and outdoor unit. While the absence of ductwork can minimize energy losses, split-ductless systems tend to be costlier than air-source heat pumps.
Geothermal heat pumps transfer heat through a network of underground outdoor pipes that contain water. The water helps to remove and release heat into and out of your home accordingly.
Geothermal systems boast quiet operations, stand up well to inclement weather, have a longer service life, and are more energy efficient than traditional furnaces, AC systems, and dehumidifiers. However, geothermal heat pumps can be costly.
Manufacturers look to federal regulations to rate the energy efficiency of heat pumps. You want a heat pump that will consume low amounts of energy and deliver a higher cooling and heating output.
If you opt for an air-source system or a mini split system, the two important ratings to consider are the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF).
The SEER is a measure of the system’s cooling efficiency. Ideally, you should look for a heat pump with a minimum SEER rating of 13. The HSPF is the heating capacity of the unit. Look for a pump with a minimum HSPF rating of 7.7.
For geothermal systems, consider the Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is the cooling efficiency, and the Coefficient of Performance, which is the heating efficiency. The minimum EER should be between 17.1 and 21.1, and the COP should be from 3.6 to 4.1.
The size of the heat pump will depend on factors such as the size of your home, insulation, and ventilation, among others. A professional contractor will help you determine the heat pump size that will warm, cool, and dehumidify your home efficiently.
Consider the sound ratings of the heat pump. Some units can produce a loud and annoying sound. Opt for a unit with a low noise rating, measured in decibels, to avoid violating local noise bylaws.
Lastly, consider the installation requirements because these will add to the overall cost of getting a heat pump for your home. You may need to upgrade aged or insufficient insulation in your home. Adequate insulation minimizes energy losses and allows the heat pump to work efficiently.
You may need to construct a concrete stand to mount the pump on. You may also need to clear bushes and other structures around the location where the contractor will install the outdoor unit.
Investing in a heat pump is a cost-effective way to maintain suitable temperatures in your home. Have a certified heating and cooling professional install your heat pump to ensure optimal performance of the unit.