Heat Pumps do work in the cold Northern
The new higher efficient heat pumps will do a great job of heating your house down to as low as 20 deg. F. outside. Then as the air outside continues to drop the system needs to be able to switch to an alternative source of heat. We will get more into that below see Dual Fuel. Using a heat pump down to about 20 deg. is also extremely efficient.
Insulation: the very 1st thing everybody needs to do before having a new HVAC system installed is make sure your insulation meets efficiency standards. It does not matter how efficient of a furnace, heat pump or air conditioner you have in your house if your insulation is poor you will not save much money on bills. Insulation is one of the cheapest ways to save on your utility bills. About 3 years ago we had our attic insulation increased from a R-19 which was standard when our house was built, up to an R-50. What a huge difference this made in our home. Our utility bills were already cheap but they still dropped by about 40% after the insulation. If your windows are poor quality that is another good place to put your money. We have to keep in what is in and out what is out.
How does it work? Now that we have our house sealed up and were are not leaking out our conditioned air, lets get down to business. If you have Natural Gas or Propane in your house you can do what we call a dual fuel system. This is when we install or use your existing furnace and add a high efficient heat pump to it. You gain a high efficient air conditioner in the process. We set up the controls so we have an outdoor sensor. When the outdoor ambient temp. drops below our balance point (read on) your furnace will automatically turn on and heat the house. Any time the air outside is above the balance point your heat pump will run the heat the house. If you don’t have natural gas or propane you will use an electric furnace as your back up. Either way using the new heat pumps with R-410a will save big time on utility bills. The Balance point is established by entering btu’s of equipment, cost of kilowatt per hour of your electricity, cost of natural gas or propane, location in the world. We plug this into a computer formula and it will tell us what the balance point is. The heat pump actually pulls the heat out of the outside air and transfers it to the indoor air of your house. It is amazing how much heat you can pull from 20 deg outside air. The use of high efficient heat pumps and refrigerant that operates at higher pressures allow the system balance point to be much lower than it used to be. If it is a ground source heat pump or a geothermal system it pulls the heat out of the earth or water, what ever is being used for the ground loop. Geothermal is a hole different animal and that will be covered in another blog.
Controlling the system. There are many thermostats on the market that will control a dual fuel system. We can set us systems with super cool high definition screen programmable or non programmable thermostats. We can also set up systems to be controlled by a fairly simple programmable or non programmable thermostat. See the thermostat section of this website under products for a sample of the thermostats available. What ever way the system is set up it should be completely automated and not require any extra effort on the home owners part. Every now and then you have to go knock the snow off the top of the outdoor unit if it has not melted yet. This does not happen very often but is does happen.
Accessories. With your system you can have humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air cleaners and ultra violet lights installed to increase the overall comfort of your home.
So if you ever decide to upgrade your
HVAC system consider a heat pump it will
cost a little more upfront but the savings
can be huge!!!!