If you’re searching for a new comfort system, it’s likely that you’ve heard about the efficient, cost-effective and enviromentally friendly features of heat pumps. These systems have been a favorite in warm climates for decades. But considering they use heat from the outdoor air and transfer it inside, conventional wisdom indicates that installing them in cold climates is not practical. This may have you asking if a heat pump is a better 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. Over the past decade, the adoption of heat pump technology has soared in Northern European countries like Norway and Sweden. With ordinary January temperatures sitting around 20 degrees F, homeowners in these regions obviously rely on effective heating options. Those who have installed cold-climate heat pumps have been delighted to discover that they fulfill their needs perfectly.
Heat pump technology was previously unsuitable for temperate climates. As the temperature fell below freezing, these systems were just unable to collect enough heat to efficiently warm a house. But this is no longer accurate. Here are the advanced features found in cold-climate heat pumps that enable them to work efficiently at temperatures lower than 0 degrees F.
Heat pump efficiency is determined by its heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF), which demonstrates the total heating output throughout the heating season divided by the energy consumed for that period. The higher the HSPF, the better the efficiency.
Beginning in 2023, the nationwide minimum efficiency rating for heat pumps will be 8.8 HSPF. Lots of cold-climate heat pumps can boast ratings of 10 HSPF or higher, allowing them to operate at up to 400% efficiency in temperate weather. In other words, they move four times more energy than they use in the process.
Performance falls as the temperature drops, but numerous 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 can vary. The biggest savers are probably people who heat with delivered fuels like propane and oil, as well as those who use electric furnaces or electric baseboard heaters.
Nevertheless, heating with natural gas still is usually less expensive than installing a heat pump. The cost variation depends on how harsh the winter is, the utility prices in your area, whether your heat pump was installed correctly and whether you use solar panels to offset electricity costs.
If you’re considering transitioning from a traditional furnace, boiler or electric heater to a cold-climate heat pump, consider these other factors:
Whether you’re replacing an existing HVAC system or comparing options for a new property, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you make a cost-effective decision. We’ll review your home comfort needs, consider your budget and point you toward the best equipment, which could 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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