If you’re doing research on upgrading the heating or cooling systems in your home or office, you have already come across heat pumps as a high-efficiency replacement for older heating and cooling technologies. One of Green City Heating and Air Conditioning’s specialties is fitting heat pumps into your home.
Unlike the older heat pump models which were considered too expensive to use in cold climates like New England, heat pumps have gotten a technological makeover. The new generation of ductless heat pumps can keep a typical home warm even located in extreme conditions — some in conditions as low as 20 degrees below zero. Even though they are still powered by electricity, which was considered an expensive way to heat your home, the new heat pump technology is so efficient that they can actually cost much less to run than a conventional oil heat system.
Some homeowners in cold climates estimate that a new-technology heat pump could save them up to $1,200 a year, using cold-climate electric heat pumps. The electric will be higher during the winter period, but the savings over oil will more than make up for it. The new heat pumps work so efficiently that environmental groups around the country – and particularly in the colder areas – are highlighting them as a high-efficiency component or a complete replacement for older oil-burning and electric heating systems.
Many utility companies are offering rebates and similar inducements to encourage homeowners to use high-efficiency heat pumps. Due to this revolutionary new heat pump technology, sales have been increasing steadily in the past few years. Manufacturers have improved various system components — including the refrigerants, compressors, and heating coils used in a heat pump — that deliver heat. Indeed, Tacoma WA and both King & Pierce County utility companies each have programs that help consumers switch to heat pumps.
One of the biggest improvements that have allowed heat pumps to function efficiently in colder climates is the use of variable-speed motors. These help save energy by running more slowly — but not completely shutting off — when the house is at a comfortable temperature. Unlike older model heat pumps which were either fully on or completely off, new models cycle up or down, rather than hitting full ON to full OFF repeatedly during the day and night. The revolution came about when electronics became more solid-state, computerized, and sophisticated, and manufacturers have developed the refrigerants to make them more efficient at transferring heat inside. And insulated tubes have replaced many a drafty system of ducts. Currently, most popular residential high-efficiency heat pump, called a mini-split, consists of wall-mounted indoor system connected to an exterior unit that looks like a small central air conditioner turned on its side.
The basic system uses differences in air temperatures to move heat into a home during winter and remove it during hot weather. Unlike conventional systems using ducts, the mini-split system does not have vents or ducts that can lose heat along the way. The indoor and outdoor units are connected by refrigerant-circulating tubes that are fed through small holes in the wall. This new generation of cold-climate heat pumps could cuts energy costs drastically. Using the same amount of electricity, a cold-climate pump generates two to three times as much heat as an electric boiler or a baseboard heater. That usually means huge savings for Seattle, Bellevue, Lynnwood, Kirkland, & Eastside King County WA homeowners, as well as Tacoma, Lakewood, University Place, Fircrest, Puyallup, Sumner, Bonney Lake, Fife WA, and all Pierce County & South King County residents who still use electric systems to heat their homes.
This is critical news, considering that during the upcoming winter electricity prices are expected to soar to their highest level in decades. Heating technicians caution that some homeowners can not rely on a few mini-splits as their only heat source unless their home was well-insulated. They caution to have a qualified, experienced heat pump installation contractor who is an authorized dealer for quality heat pumps perform an energy analysis on their home before making any decision. Those same contractors say that demand for the systems has soared in recent years, because homeowners facing the replacement of aging heating & cooling systems are drawn to them as a simpler, energy-efficient method to combine heating and cooling systems. On hot days, a heat pump’s flow can be reversed to suck heat from inside and dump it outside. On newer systems, all it takes is the push of a button.
Don’t wait until you have to wait months for an energy assessment! Call Green City Heating and Air Conditioning today to schedule your free, no-obligation assessment of your home.
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