If you’re shopping for a new comfort system, it’s likely that you’ve heard about the efficient, cost-effective and eco-friendly features of heat pumps. Heat pumps have been sought after in warm climates for a very long time. But considering they take heat from the outdoor air and transfer it inside, conventional wisdom suggests that installing them in cold climates is not sensible. This could have you asking if a heat pump is a good 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. In the last decade, the usage of heat pump technology has increased significantly in Northern European countries like Norway and Sweden. With standard January temperatures sitting around 20 degrees F, homeowners in these areas obviously depend on powerful heating options. Those who have installed cold-climate heat pumps have found that they meet their needs perfectly.
Heat pump technology was once unsuitable for temperate climates. As the temperature fell below freezing, these systems were just unable to collect enough heat to successfully warm a house. But this is no longer accurate. Here are the innovative features found in cold-climate heat pumps that enable them to perform efficiently at temperatures below 0 degrees F.
Heat pump efficiency is determined by its heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF), which conveys the total heating output during the heating season divided by the energy consumed for that period. The higher the HSPF, the better the efficiency.
Beginning in 2023, the national minimum efficiency rating for heat pumps will be 8.8 HSPF. The majority of cold-climate heat pumps offer ratings of 10 HSPF or higher, allowing them to operate at up to 400% efficiency in moderate weather. In other words, they move four times more energy than they use in the process.
Performance drops as the temperature drops, but many models are still around 100% efficient in sub-freezing conditions. Compare this to brand-new, high-efficiency furnaces, which max out at about 98% efficiency.
In terms of actual savings, results may vary. The biggest savers are likely to be people who heat with combustible fuels like propane and oil, as well as those who use electric furnaces or electric baseboard heaters.
However, heating with natural gas still is usually less expensive than installing a heat pump. The cost difference will depend on how severe the winter is, the utility prices in your area, whether your heat pump was installed correctly and whether you have solar panels to offset electricity costs.
If you’re looking at transitioning from a traditional furnace, boiler or electric heater to a cold-climate heat pump, remember these other factors:
Whether you’re replacing a current HVAC system or exploring options for a new property, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you make a cost-effective choice. We’ll review your home comfort needs, consider your budget and recommend 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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