Ask any homeowner about a change they would make to their home, and chances are many will say they want it to be more efficient in terms of heating and cooling. With energy costs rising every year, maintaining a comfortable temperature is more expensive than ever.
One of the fastest growing trends in home heating and cooling is therefore the heat pump. Heat pumps are considered a viable alternative to the oil, gas, and electrical systems that have prevailed for decades, and transport heat via a compressor that circulates a gaseous or liquid refrigerant to generate heat that is pumped indoors.
The process is reversed for cooling. While some newer stoves are very efficient, heat pumps can be up to 300 percent more efficient, making them a popular choice with homeowners looking to save money and be greener.
But is a heat pump the right one for your home? Aside from the cost of installing a device, which can cost thousands of dollars, there are some significant advantages – and some disadvantages – to using a heat pump to heat and cool your home.
Advantages of a heat pump
One of the main selling points of a heat pump is its efficiency. If your heat pump is well maintained, it can produce three times as much heat This means that you can save a significant amount of money on energy bills. There’s no need to spend thousands on oil or gas to fire your combustion heating system, and most homeowners report a drop in their utility bills compared to using traditional stoves and air conditioners.
However, it is not just cost savings that add to the efficiency of the heat pumps. They are also more environmentally friendly than traditional heating and cooling methods, although their electricity consumption means that they are not 100 percent climate neutral. Not only do they reduce your consumption of fossil fuels, but they also release less carbon dioxide than other heating methods. If you maintain your heat pump, it can potentially work for up to 50 years.
Maintaining your heat pump is also important for safety, although they are generally safer than traditional combustion heating systems. Maintenance isn’t difficult either. Most annual maintenance is simple and can be done by the homeowner with a professional inspection Repair by an HVAC contractor in Baltimore only necessary every 3-5 years.
After all, heat pumps are easy to use. Switching between heating and cooling requires the push of a button. In the warmer months, no bulky and noisy air conditioners need to be installed or invested in a central air conditioner. Heat pumps also help maintain the moisture level in the air so it doesn’t get too dry or humid. Ultimately, a heat pump can also add value to your home, as many home buyers look for improved heating and cooling systems.
Disadvantages of a heat pump
With all the advantages of a heat pump, there are some disadvantages to consider. For starters, the initial installation costs. Depending on the size and layout of your home, you will need to install multiple heat pumps and either multiple or one larger compressor. Since the air compressors are usually installed outdoors, you will need to make room for them and may incur additional costs to find a suitable place for them. You also need to know the possible effects of the elements on the compressors, especially if you live in a colder climate.
Possible damage to the compressor is not the only concern for those in cold climates. In general, as the temperature drops, heat pumps become less efficient and cannot heat the house as effectively. Most experts recommend maintaining an additional source of heat if you live in an area where temperatures routinely drop below 15 degrees.
Despite these drawbacks, a heat pump can be an efficient and environmentally friendly source of heating and cooling that will save you money. If you are thinking about changing the system of your home or planning to build a new house, you should speak to an HVAC contractor about these devices and how they will work in your home.