If you’re looking for a new comfort system, odds are you’ve heard about the efficient, cost-effective and enviromentally friendly features of heat pumps. Heat pumps have been popular in warm climates for many years. But since they absorb heat from the outdoor air and transfer it inside, conventional wisdom indicates that installing them in cold climates is not practical. This could have you questioning if a heat pump is the right choice for your home in the Northern U.S. or Canada.
Before going into more detail, rest assured that modern, cold-weather heat pumps are acceptable for northern climates. In the last decade, the usage of heat pump technology has surged in Northern European countries like Norway and Sweden. With ordinary January temperatures sitting around 20 degrees F, homeowners in these regions obviously depend on powerful heating options. Those who have installed cold-climate heat pumps have been delighted to discover that they fulfill their needs perfectly.
Heat pump technology used to be insufficient for cooler climates. As the temperature fell below freezing, these systems were simply unable to collect enough heat to efficiently warm a house. But this is no longer accurate. Here are the special features designed for cold-climate heat pumps that allow them to operate efficiently at temperatures lower than 0 degrees F.
Heat pump efficiency is determined by its heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF), which illustrates the total heating output during the heating season divided by the energy consumed for that period. The higher the HSPF, the better the efficiency.
Beginning in 2023, the national minimum efficiency rating for heat pumps will be 8.8 HSPF. Lots of cold-climate heat pumps offer ratings of 10 HSPF or higher, allowing them to operate at up to 400% efficiency in moderate weather. In other words, they move four times more energy than they use in the process.
Performance drops as the temperature drops, but various models are still around 100% efficient in sub-freezing conditions. Compare this to brand-new, high-efficiency furnaces, which top out at about 98% efficiency.
In terms of actual savings, results may vary. The biggest savers are usually people who heat with combustible fuels such as propane and oil, as well as those who use electric furnaces or electric baseboard heaters.
That being said, heating with natural gas still tends to be less expensive than installing a heat pump. The cost gap is based on how harsh the winter is, the utility prices in your area, whether your system was installed correctly and whether you use solar panels to offset electricity costs.
If you’re considering switching from a traditional furnace, boiler or electric heater to a cold-climate heat pump, consider these additional factors:
Whether you’re replacing a current HVAC system or checking out options for a new property, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you make a cost-effective choice. We’ll evaluate your home comfort needs, take a look at your budget and recommend the best equipment, which might be a cold-climate heat pump or similar product. To ask questions or schedule a heat pump installation estimate, please contact your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office today.
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