A/C That Cools and Heats
In the late 1970’s natural gas shortages prompted manufacturers and home owners to look into heat pumps. Not a bad idea, considering that, unlike the name suggests, these work for both heating and cooling. How?
From a technical standpoint, it is a mechanical-compression cycle refrigeration system that can be reversed. It usually requires an indoor air handler and an outdoor unit, much like an air conditioner.
When in heat mode, it uses the same refrigeration cycle as within the air conditioner, but in the opposite direction. Instead of blowing the warm air from indoors to the outside, it recycles it indoors.
Think About it Like This…
A heat pump moves heat instead of making heat, giving you far more efficiency. It is powered by electricity with a SEER rating as high as 19.00. The efficiency of a heat pump is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. The SEER rating of a unit is the cooling output during a typical cooling-season divided by the total electric energy input during the same period. The higher the unit’s SEER rating the more energy efficient it is.
For example, by upgrading from SEER 9 to SEER 13, the unit’s power consumption is reduced by 30%. By some estimates. That could translate into a savings of $200 to $300 a year. For one thing, the new generation of heat pumps generates two to three times as much heat as an electric boiler or a baseboard heater, using the same amount of electricity. As much as 40 percent in savings has been estimated for some residents of the Northeast.
So, because heat pumps perform both heating and cooling functions, some homeowners prefer them over gas or heat furnaces. Also because of the potential savings. In many cases, people can add a savings to their winter fuel bills of $1,200 a year.
No Longer Limited to Southern Climates
In earlier days, the heat pump was favored more in temperate climates. In areas where the temperature dipped below 30 degrees F., a backup system was needed to compensate for the limitations of the heat pump. This is no longer a problem with newer systems. Today’s technology has developed a new generation of heat pump systems that can do the job of heating even during extreme conditions. This equals as low as 20 degrees below zero!
Even older systems today can be tweaked to meet maximum heating needs. One big improvement that has allowed heat pumps to function in cold climates is the introduction of variable-speed motors. These save energy by running more slowly — but not shutting off — when the house is at a comfortable temperature. Manufacturers have reworked a mix of refrigerants, making them better at transferring heat within. Insulated tubes have now replaced drafty systems of ducts.
Heat Pumps are Environmentally Friendly
Some environmental groups are pushing heat pump systems because they supplement or replace the need for oil-burning systems. Utility companies are offering rebate incentives to homeowners who install a new heat pump system. And the new systems utilize the mandated R410 coolant adding to a safer environment.
Heating and Cooling System Replacement
Is your present system showing signs of wear and tear? Will it make it safely through the Minnesota winter?
Not only age, 10 – 18 years average for a heat pump system, other signs will indicate a need to consider a new system, such as, does it require frequent repairs? Are your energy bills skyrocketing? Is it failing to adequately heat or cool some areas? It may be struggling to get the job done. Its days may be numbered, and you don’t want to wait until it fails completely on a cold frigid night.
Yes, replacement costs may be high, but you’ll receive compensation from having peace of mind, lower utility bills, and perhaps rebates.
If this is a consideration for your home, we at Abel Heating and Cooling would be happy to take a look and give an assessment on your present system. Then we can honestly recommend ideas for replacing the system. Perhaps the problem can even be fixed. We recommend having your system checked and maintained once or twice a year. If so, you may want to consider the Abel Performance Program. This will not only keep your system in peak performance, but will allow early detection of problems.
Call us at 952-472-COOL (2665) or Contact Us