ALL ABOUT HEAT PUMPS
Considering a Heat Pump? Here's Information To Help You Decide What's Right For You
What Heat Pumps Do and How They Do It
While it may be difficult to believe, there is heat in cold air. Heat pumps extract this heat from the cold outside air and pump it back into the house as warm air. It's the same basic principle as what air conditioners do to take the hot air from your home and replace it with cold, with the aid of special refrigerant chemicals, only in reverse. Heat pumps will take the warm air from outside, process it through its electric resistance heat coils, and deliver it to the inside in the form of warm air, or heat. Heat pumps work very efficiently in moderate temperatures, around the 45-50 degree mark. The colder it gets, the longer the heat pump must run in order to maintain a warm indoor temperature. And if it gets too cold to work efficiently, most heat pumps will cause your furnace to kick in to help keep your home comfortable. You may find, if you live in a very cold winter climate, that using a heat pump to help heat your home may not save you enough money to justify the cost. Heat pumps also work well as air conditioners. Again, they work best in moderate temperatures, and are less efficient if you live in a very hot climate.
There have been many advances in this technology lately, which is why you should ask an HVAC technician for the most up-to-date details on heat pumps. We're also unable to give you every last detail in this article. You can also find additional information from the US Dept. of Energy's web site as well as Howstuffworks.com, Askthebuilder.com, Furnacecompare, and hometips.com.
Heat Pump Manufacturers and Their Heat Pumps
You will probably recognize many names in the list of heat pump manufacturers, since many of them also make gas, electric and oil furnaces. Here are some of the most well-known manufacturers and a snippet of information on their products. Two terms you will see are the HSPF rating and SEER rating. HSPF stands for Heating Season Performance Feature; SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Rating, and has to do with the cooling of your heat pump. Good ranges for HSPF are anything 7.7 and higher. For the SEER rating, look for models which give ratings between 14 and 18.
Trane heat pumps are built to last, and are a well-known name in the heating/cooling industry. They make the following models: XL19i, one of the most efficient heat pumps on the market today, with a HSPF rating of 8.9 and SEER rating of 17.9. The XL15i has a SEER rating of 16.0 and HSPF rating of 9.0. There are other Trane heat pumps to choose from, your HVAC technician should be able to tell you the best one for your home.
Carrier makes heat pumps as well as gas and oil furnaces and air conditioners. Their products are highly rated among their customers. They are probably the most well-known manufacturer, as well as the oldest, dating back to 1915. Their Infinity series heat pumps have a Seer rating up to 19 and HSPF rating up to 8.5
Amana makes a wide range of heat pumps, but the two most recommended models from Heat-pump-review.com are the PHD 13 SEER heat pump and the Distinction CLPJ.
Lennox heat pumps are well known for being reliable, economical and efficient. The XP19 is reported to be the quietest one on the market.
As we've researched the online sources to write this article, one thing that is agreed upon by all heat pump reviewers is that you cannot install this yourself, you need the expertise of a trained HVAC technician. Many dealers will not sell a heat pump to anyone else. The technician will come to your home and review your system and house setup before recommending the right heat pump for you. Buying one that is too big for your home will just allow it to run needlessly and wear it out prematurely, while a heat pump that is too small will be unable to heat or cool your home very well. Only your trained HVAC technician can properly recommend and oversee installation of the right heat pump. Before you call your technician, you should do some advance research so that you'll have an idea of what the technician is talking about when he comes to your home. As mentioned before, heat pumps work best in more temperate climates, so if you live in an area of extreme cold or heat, talk this over with your technician before comitting to something that may be expensive and take a long time to recover the cost in savings on your heating or air conditioning bills. Heat pump costs vary greatly depending on the size you buy and the installation costs, so we did not try to research this area at all. Be sure to check out the sites we did so you can form your own opinion and get the information you need for your own situation. Good luck, and happy heating and cooling!