Are you environmentally conscious?
If you are, a heat pump is going to be an exceptionally attractive prospect for you. Air-sourced heat pumps have the highest efficiency ratings of any heating and cooling system except the (far more expensive and occasionally impossible to install) geothermal heat pumps. In fact, our friends in Japan have used heat pumps to achieve the highest energy conservation standards in the world, with heat pumps in 90% of their homes and seasonal cooling costs slashed nearly in half.
The US market is quickly following suit; we’ve seen enormous growth in heat pump sales versus traditional heating and cooling system installations over the last few years. That is due, at least in part, to the last decade’s increasing focus on reducing carbon emissions.
I, and most other Greencastle and Indiana HVAC professionals out there, support green initiatives wholeheartedly. Our industry is the one that retired the harmful R22 refrigerant, and our industry is constantly evolving and innovating and seeking new ways to make machines more efficient and more environmental.
In that spirit, heat pumps present a pretty amazing opportunity. A heat pump is a major asset to an eco-conscious homeowner, not least because:
- They use no fossil fuels, only renewable electricity.
- They can be up to ten times as efficient as traditional gas heaters, electric baseboard heaters, propane heaters, kerosene heaters, coal, wood or oil-burning furnaces.
- They operate through the movement, rather than creation, of thermal energy, which allows them to achieve the same results as fuel-based systems with lower energy expenditure.
- They allow the homeowner to install only one, rather than two, systems in the home to cover heating and cooling, which streamlines the home and further increases efficiency.
- They are, along with electric cars, one of the single largest ways a citizen can drastically reduce their carbon footprint.
At this point, I usually hear a question from our customers that goes like this:
This sounds too good to be true. Is it?
No. It’s true. But in the interest of total transparency, I’m perfectly willing to discuss the logical rebuttals other HVAC professionals occasionally have regarding heat pumps and the environment.
The first is performance related. Heat pumps don’t heat your home as quickly as a furnace will. We consider that a completely fair trade for a total lack of dependence on fuels, but it’s a valid consideration, nonetheless.
Is it a serious concern? We don’t believe so. A homeowner will rarely allow their home to go days without heat, after all. Typically, you’re not waiting until the temperatures are dangerously cold to turn your heat on – you’re maintaining the internal temperature of your home within a fairly consistent range year round. Based on the way most people heat and cool their homes, you’re unlikely to notice the relative speed at which a heat pump does its work.
The other main concern is related not to performance, but to capability. Heat pumps sometimes require supplemental heat. Here in Greencastle, which can sometimes get quite cold in the winter, it isn’t advisable to depend only on a heat pump.
Again, we don’t see this as any kind of insurmountable hurdle here at Royal Comfort. Why, you ask?
Because a supplemental heater will be part of your heat pump and AC installation process. We will do a load calculation and determine what you need (typically, a 10k-20k supplemental heater will do the job neatly) and make sure you’re all set to go as part of the installing process.
The savings a heat pump can provide you already takes that supplemental heating into account. So, in our opinion, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks – to an overwhelming degree.
Are you into energy efficiency?
Heat pump efficiency is a big deal. Heat pumps don’t create heat; they just move it around. That takes far less energy than manufacturing it through fossil fuel combustion the way a furnace does. In fact, a heat pump is essentially working on the same technology as your air conditioner – it uses a refrigeration cycle to heat and cool your home.
How is that possible?
Think about a central air conditioner. You probably have at least a basic idea of how that works – it cools your home by expelling hot air into the great outdoors, leaving your home pleasantly chilled. A heat pump does precisely that in the summer.
In the winter, it goes into reverse. It takes warmth from the exterior (it’s only cold relative to our skin temperature) of your home, and breathes that delicious heat indoors. Because of that, it’s able to operate at a stunningly efficient level all year-round.
Heat pumps will utilize the most efficient compressor settings available, temperatures permitting. When things start to drop below forty degrees, they’ll take a slight hit on efficiency as they work harder to draw warmth from frigid air, and as things dip below freezing, they may borrow a little help from the supplemental heat.
This no-nonsense approach to keeping your home warm allows heat pumps to enjoy remarkably high efficiency ratings,
And as you know, that directly translates to savings. Which leads us to the next point:
Are you forward-thinking and interested in saving lots of money on your monthly bills?
Of course you are. That’s what I call a rhetorical question. However, it’s a valid point to make. You really ARE going to save money by switching from less efficient systems to more efficient systems. That’s a no-brainer.
And heat pumps rank among the most efficient systems that money can buy.
Let’s talk about furnaces for a moment:
If you’re like most Greencastle Indiana residents, you probably grew up with a fuel-burning heater. Maybe it was a natural gas furnace, or an oil furnace, or even propane. Maybe you grew up in a household with a wood-burning fireplace? Either way, there is a comfort associated with that, and some people argue that heat produced by combustive fuels feels different.
I think that’s nonsense – warmth is warmth, and if you can have it for less money (and save the planet, to boot) you might as well jump on the bandwagon.
You probably know that electricity generally costs a bit less than gas for the same equivalent energy. If you didn’t, now you do! Of course, modern gas furnaces are also very energy efficient. That means that it’s just possible that the monthly bills to run a super-efficient gas furnace will be about the same as a heat pump.
But natural gas prices are a little less stable than electricity too. You’ve got less of a guarantee, because it’s subject to price hikes to reflect availability.
If you’re using oil or propane, you’re dealing with even more financial worries, as those prices can vary widely – and they’ve got to be delivered to your home in a truck, which is hardly the most convenient way to live.
Are you safety conscious?
I’m really on fire with rhetorical questions today. Of course you want to be safe.
And I’m not saying that furnaces aren’t safe. They’re designed to be as safe as possible, and modern furnaces are a testament to the ingenuity of HVAC engineers. But if you’re looking at a new heating and cooling installation, I’ll just come right out and say this:
Heat pumps are safer.
Why? Because they use electricity, instead of BURNING COMBUSTIBLE MATERIALS. No matter how safe a furnace is, by its very design, it is at least a slight risk, as it does produce carbon monoxide. This combustion by-product is expelled via a metal or PVC flue pipe into the atmosphere around your home. The problem is when the flue pipe fails over time or the furnace itself leaks this dangerous carbon monoxide into your home. And, yes, such leaks are rare but they can and do happen.
Heat pumps come with no such concerns. Like a central air conditioner, they operate using electricity and a closed-loop refrigerant system. There is no risk of hazardous fumes, and no risk of fire or uncontrolled combustion.
In my book, that sounds like a point in the heat pump column.
Is comfort a big deal for you?
There’s lots of ways to be comfortable, and a traditional setup of a separate furnace and AC installation will surely get you there, but in my opinion, a heat pump gets you there faster and better.
Because of the efficient use of energy and the way that heat pump compressors cycle, a heat pump typically dehumidifies better than a standard central air conditioner. Humidity plays a key role in comfort, and so an argument could be made that, all other things being equal, a heat pump is more comfortable in the summer.
Furthermore, fuel-based heaters produce a very dry heat that can sometimes create too much dryness in your home. Because heat pumps work through a simple temperature exchange, the humidity level in your home in the winter will also be comfortable, so an argument could be made that, all other things being equal, a heat pump is more comfortable in the winter as well.
Compelling argument? I think so.
Are you worried about taking up precious space in your home?
Heat pumps are relatively simple installations. Having a heat pump installed in your Greencastle home means one less thing taking up space in your utility room, as a single air handler does the job of both heating and cooling. You’ll also have an outdoor compressor unit, but a central AC would have that, as well.
Heat pumps are also available as ductless models, which makes them very convenient for home additions, or in spaces where ductwork either hasn’t been installed or is insufficient to the home’s needs.
In summation, heat pumps bring a lot to the table.
Indiana isn’t the warmest place on earth, and so you may read articles online that suggest you don’t choose a heat pump. That information is out of date – heat pumps are no longer unable to work in colder temperatures, and the efficiency of these systems is such that even when they’re working overtime to squeeze warmth out of frigid winter air, they’ll keep your home cozy year-round.
As development of heat pump technology has continued to advance, the drawbacks and limitations of these alternatives to a standard AC installation are getting smaller and smaller, while the benefits continue to loom large.
If you have additional questions about a heat pump installation for YOUR home, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends at Royal Comfort Heating & Air. Our experts know the ins and outs of heating and cooling your Greencastle Indiana home, and we would be happy to give you a free estimate.
Call us at 765-653-8802 for fast service and quick answers to your questions!
greencastle heat pump - 6 smart ways to decide if a heat pump system is right for your home
Be honest with me:
I’m not surprised, it’s a pretty expensive proposition, and one not many Greencastle homeowners look forward to.
However, I think you should look at it as an opportunity. Instead of focusing on how a new furnace, heat pump or air conditioning installation will damage your bottom line, focus on the opportunity to save money long-term by investing in a more efficient system that will reduce your operating costs.
HVAC contractors make a living out of helping our customers make the right decision. Trust capital is our stock in trade, because our systems last for years – so it is in our best interest to give our customers the best advice we know how.
In recent years, that has meant a lot of discussion of heat pumps. As the technology has advanced, it has overcome the initial shortcomings (which we will discuss) that made it a questionable choice in a cold climate like Indiana.
The frigid winters here in Greencastle meant that for most people, the only option was a traditional ac installation, and pairing that central air conditioner with an entirely separate heating system.
It doesn’t have to be that way anymore. With increasing frequency, our customers are asking about modern heat pumps and whether they are the right choice for an Indiana home.
In this article, we will go over six well-thought-out benefits of heat pumps, and how or why they may impact your decision regarding a new HVAC solution for your home.
Ready? Let’s begin.