If you own a heat pump or are purchasing one, here’s what you should know about their efficiency and longevity in the Pacific Northwest.
Heat Pump Efficiency
The main reason homeowners purchase a heat pump is because of its energy efficiency. To understand a heat pump’s efficiency, it’s important to first know how they work. Air source heat pumps take the natural warmth out of the environment to provide heat inside the home. It then goes through coolant and compresses to increase the temperature even more.
In the summer, to cool the home, the process is reversed. The heat pump absorbs the warm air in the home and transfers it outside. The compressor circulates refrigerant to the indoor evaporator coil and the refrigerant absorbs heat as it passes through. The cool and dehumidified air gets blown back to enjoy in the home.
The reason a heat pump is so energy efficient is because it is not generating heat, but instead pulling it and moving it from one place to another. Because heat pumps use the warmth in the air, they are best suited for moderate climates like the Pacific Northwest. Especially cold climates, regions dropping below 25 degrees Fahrenheit regularly, require specially designed heat pumps that can work at lower temperatures.
The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provides guidance on energy efficiency ratings of heat pumps and their estimated savings. To view energy savings calculated for your home, you can use the Energy Star Saving’s Calculator here.
According to Consumer Reports, new air source heat pumps can reduce your heating costs by about 50% over electric furnaces and baseboard heaters.
Heat Pump Longevity/Life Span
On average, a heat pump will last about fifteen years. If you are looking to find the age of your heat pump, most heat pumps have a data plate on the upper right displaying this information, or it is included in part of the serial number of the heat pump. This should be relatively simple to find with a little searching in the manual or online.
There are ways to extend the life of a heat pump, including regular maintenance and location of the unit. If it is installed in an area that is easily covered in debris, keeping it clear and clean will help extend its life. Depending on maintenance, climate and location, a heat pump can last for as much as 20-25 years, although waiting to replace it can mean losing heating and cooling altogether while waiting for a replacement to be installed.
For more information about the benefit of purchasing or switching to a heat pump, contact us at Pilchuck Heating for all of your heating and cooling needs.
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