Allentown, PA -- Heat pumps are often misunderstood or not understood at all. Because of this, consumers may not realize that there may be a better heating and cooling option than a furnace or air conditioner.
"Although its name is misleading, a heat pump is an efficient method of heating a home during the cold winter months and also cooling it during the blistering summer months," said Dave Holschwander, Vice President of Hannabery HVAC.
Whether it's winter or summer, a heat pump works by moving heat to keep indoor environments comfortable. During the winter, heat is collected from the outside and used to warm the air inside. Even "cold" air contains heat. In the summer, a heat pump operates like a standard electric air conditioner. It collects heat from the air within a home and expels it outside.
"Heat pumps are capable of providing years of worry-free heating and cooling and significant savings on electric bills," Holschwander said. The amount a consumer can save depends on many factors. For example, the efficiency of old equipment compared to that of a new heat pump could have an effect on how much will be saved. The climate in which a consumer lives, as well as electric rates, are also factors.
While many people find the winter operation of a heat pump difficult to understand, it is during the heating cycle that the heat pump produces the most savings. "Unlike a furnace that turns fossil fuel or electricity into heat, the heat pump collects heat that already exists in the outdoor air by means of its refrigeration cycle," Holschwander said. "Consequently, a heat pump will produce two to three times more heat than the energy it uses."
A heat pump also produces savings while cooling a home. A SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)rates cooling efficiency. A higher SEER produces greater savings. A SEER of 7.0 is typical in homes over fifteen years old and a new, higher efficiency heat pump can be as much as 56 percent more efficient.
If a consumer's old non-electric furnace is still working, an add-on heat pump is an effective option. "With a duel-fuel system, the two systems share the heating load, each system operates when it is the most cost effective," Holschwander said. The heat pump will be the primary heating and cooling system. However, when the temperature drops below the heat pump's set point, the furnace will take over until the temperature raises enough for the heat pump to operate more efficiently.
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