What is a Heat Pump and How it Can Help You

As a homeowner, your utility bill represents a monthly battle. While it's a regular expense, you can save a lot of money even by small changes. For the best savings overall, you can either cut your energy usage or increase efficiency.

Of the two options, energy efficiency offers a more promising savings plan. Efficient appliances allow you to enjoy your heating or cooling systems at temperatures that your prefer. That said, it’s still smart to cut usage, which gives you a greater combined savings.

So, how can you increase your energy efficiency? One solution is through a heat pump. Heat pumps are an alternate heating and cooling system that many people don't know enough about. We will explain how heat pumps work and the advantages and disadvantages they offer. Use that information to decide if a heat pump is right for you.

How a Heat Pump Works

Unlike furnaces or air conditioners, which only focus on heating or cooling, heat pumps can do both. Heat pumps collect the heat in the air and push it in and out of your home, depending on the weather.

For example, during the winter, your heat pump will draw in air through the use of a fan and refrigerant. Then, the refrigerant will separate the hot air from the cool air. The pump releases the cool air but forces the hot air into your home.

In hot seasons or climates, you can reverse the refrigerant's action to lower the temperatures indoors. By working in the opposite direction, your heat pump attracts the hot air in your house and pushes it outside. All that remains is a cool, comfortable temperature inside.

Advantages of a Heat Pump

Consolidated Heating and Cooling

Heat pumps give you a single source for your heating and cooling needs. Heat pumps also perform well in most temperatures.

Their dexterity means you could go without a traditional air conditioner, although you probably should keep some sort of heating unit as a backup (more on that later).

Energy savings

Heat pumps are one of the most efficient ways to heat and cool a home. After all, they can deliver double the heating/cooling energy they consume. This saves you more money than most other systems.

Cleaner Air

A heat pump offers you cleaner air than many other HVAC systems. Heat pumps redirect existing heat in the air, rather than creating it through burning fuel. This removes any chance of fumes and soot that other systems create. If you have asthma or allergies, a heat pump may help reduce your symptoms.

Better Air Circulation

Heat pumps spread air more evenly through your home. The heating technique ensures hot air doesn't form pockets or dead zones through the home. Instead, the entire house receives a balanced temperature that doesn't fluctuate as much as other systems.

Long Term Value

Heat pumps add long term value to your home. Your lowered utility costs alone can help you pay off your initial investment over time. Also, if you need to sell your home, your heat pump installation may net you a higher appraisal value.

Disadvantages of Heat Pumps

Less Efficient in Colder Areas

Heat Pumps rely on heat from the outside to heat your home. When the temperature dips below 40° F, the heat pump has to work harder to extract heat from the air. If temperatures drop below freezing, then the heat pump has to work a lot harder. Over time, this can shorten its life. With this in mind, you may want to keep a furnace backup during the coldest winter months.

Greater Upfront Costs

Heat pumps cost more than air conditioners or furnaces. While they will save you money in the long run, many homeowners can't afford the initial startup costs. Still, don't immediately write off the possibility. If you want a heat pump, ask your supplier for information about tax credits or rebates.

Moderate Air Temperatures

Air from heat pumps might feel less warm than with other furnaces. This is because furnaces heat air rather than gathering it. If in doubt, ask your HVAC expert how the ambient temperatures of a heating pump compare with traditional heating solutions.

Higher Maintenance Costs

While your heat pump system is more efficient, it also requires vigilant maintenance. You need to maintain it throughout the year in order to ensure it functions properly. If it breaks, you need highly qualified technicians to fix it or install a new pump.

Despite the few disadvantages to this sort of system, remember: if you need an effective way to conserve energy and save money over time, consider a heat pump. They represent a long term investment that can lower utilities and increase the value of your home.

Use these suggestions to determine if a heat pump right for you. Then, compare your goals against the costs and benefits so you can make an informed decision.

Contact a HomeSmart representative for more information at 303-722-7587.

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