In the late 1970’s, natural gas shortages prompted manufacturers and home owners to look into installing heat pumps. Not a bad idea, considering that, unlike the name suggests, these work for both heating and cooling. How?
From a technical standpoint, a heat pump is a reversible mechanical-compression cycle refrigeration system. It usually requires an indoor air handler and an outdoor unit, much like an air conditioner. It uses the same refrigeration cycle when in heat mode as the air conditioner does, but in the opposite direction. Instead of blowing warm air from indoors to the outside, the heat pump recycles it indoors.
Think About it Like This…
Because the heat pump moves heat instead of making heat, you receive far more efficiency. Powered by electricity, the system can reach a SEER Rating as high as 19.00. The efficiency of a heat pump measures the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. Otherwise, the cooling output during a typical 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 may be reduced by 30%. By some estimates, that translates into a savings of $200 to $300 a year. The new generation of heat pumps puts out up to two or three times as much heat as an electric boiler or a baseboard heater. Using the same amount of electricity. As much as an estimated 40 percent in savings 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 add a savings to their winter fuel bills of $1,200 a year.
No Longer Limited to Southern Climates
In earlier days, heat pumps were 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 to do the job of heating to as low as 20 degrees below zero!
Even older systems today can be tweaked to meet maximum heating needs. One big improvement today, allowing a heat pump to function in cold climates, is the introduction of variable-speed motors. These save energy by running slower, but don’t shut off when the house is at a comfortable temperature. Manufacturers have reworked a mix of refrigerants. This makes for better transferring heat within. Insulated tubes have replaced drafty systems of ducts.
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 upcoming Minnesota winter? The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting colder temperatures and more snow this year.
The age, 10 – 18 years average, and other signs will indicate a need to consider a new system. 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 are 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.
The Abel Performance Program (APP) will insure periodic maintenance and inspection. This not only keeps the system in peak performance, but allows early detection of problems.
Call us at 952-472-COOL (2665) or Contact Us