Thinking of Buying a New Heat Pump? Read This First!
This winter hasn’t been particularly cold for Atlanta, but we’ve still been dealing with wintery weather enough lately that you’ve probably had the chance to take note of what’s good about your home’s heating system, and what could use some improvement. When it comes to both effective home heating and energy efficiency that will keep your bills nice and low, selecting a new heat pump is often the solution homeowners arrive at when it’s time to make a change. With so many types of heat pumps available these days with so many different features, we thought we’d give Atlanta residents some tips for choosing a heat pump with features that will maximize both performance and energy efficiency for their home’s heating system.
Heat Pump Features – What’s What?
Modern heat pumps are designed with options for everything from enhancing heat exchange, to in-depth control of heating options, to providing inexpensive water heating for your home in some cases. When shopping for a new heat pump, here are some increasingly common features you should consider.
Desuperheaters. Desuperheaters are an ingenious way to get more use out of the same energy – they are basically auxiliary heat exchangers that use excess heat, normally vented and thus, wasted, and use it to heat water held in your storage water heater. Since around 20% of energy expenditures in most households go to heating water, a desuperheater offers a way to save big money on energy bills by heating water up to three times more efficiently than standard water heaters allow. Wow!
Variable-speed air handlers. Variable-speed air handlers allow for much more comfortable distribution of airflow in your home by powering on in a low speed, and slowly increasing their speed to match the exact needs of your temperature setting. This means no more blasts of hot or cold air when you power on the system, and greater efficiency – variable-speed air handlers operate at a low to medium speed over 90% of the time, allowing the system to gently control air temperatures while using much less energy.
Two-stage compressors. Two-stage compressors are a step up from the compressors found on normal air-conditioning systems. They allow for precise regulation of the flow of refrigerant, basing their operation on current heating and cooling needs set by the homeowner. Two-stage compressors, especially when used in concert with variable-speed air handlers, can drive efficiency of your heat pump to more than 250% of what you’d find in a standard heat pump!
Two-stage thermostats. Two-stage thermostats serve as regulators for the heating source between your heat pump and the heat pump’s backup electric resistance coils. These backup heating coils are crucial for handling heating needs by augmenting your heat pump’s normal operation when the outside temperature falls below the freezing point. The problem with this setup is that electric coils are inefficient and lower your energy efficiency dramatically. A two-stage thermostat can solve this problem by allowing you to use a dual-fuel heating system with a gas furnace that can be turned on as the system backup during cold weather. The two-stage thermostat will determine the best time to switch to the backup heating source to maximize efficiency, keeping your house warm and preserving your energy savings.
We hope this information has been helpful for those of you looking into investing in a new heat pump this year. If you have any questions about heat pump models, features, and installation, give us a call – we’re Atlanta’s heating experts and have been for over 40 years.