Heat pumps are a smart and energy efficient HVAC solution no matter where you live. It’s true, heat pumps are most popular in the South or Southwest where temperatures rarely dip below freezing. But even if you live in colder areas of the country, a heat pump may be the right choice for your home. A heat pump can be matched with a furnace or other electric heating device that will only kick in when temperatures reach below freezing. This way, your home will continue to stay warm on the coldest days and run more efficiently for the bulk of the season.
The heat pump is most effective by itself down to temperatures around 25 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point, either a gas furnace or an air handler with supplemental electric heat will kick in and help heat your home. The most efficient heat pumps like the Trane XV0i can operate in temperatures as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat pump effective temperature ranges
A heat pump is most effective in temperatures of 30 degrees Fahrenheit and above.
A heat pump is most effective when supplemented by a secondary heat source at 25-30 degrees Fahrenheit and below.
The main advantage of a heat pump is energy efficiency. What makes it so energy efficient is that heat pumps extract heat from the air and move it instead of burning fuel to generate heat - which takes considerably less energy. In the summer, a heat pump acts just like an air conditioner and has similar energy output and energy efficiency based on the model you choose. That’s why for year-round energy efficiency, a heat pump is more energy efficient than an air conditioner and furnace HVAC setup.
Compared to a traditional furnace and air conditioner home heating and cooling setup, a heat pump can save you as much as $526 a year in energy costs**
Heat pumps tend to cost more as compared to a single furnace or air conditioner - but remember, they’re doing the work of both, so in many cases your total costs may be less in a heat pump only setup.
A heat pump has similar operating costs to an air conditioner in the cooling season. During the heating season, the operating costs for a heat pump can be much lower than a traditional furnace.
The average lifespan of a heat pump is generally 15-20 years. This is comparable to furnaces and air conditioners.
*The majority of systems installed prior to 2006 are 10 SEER or lower. Potential energy savings may vary depending on your personal lifestyle, system settings and usage, equipment maintenance, local climate, actual construction and installation of equipment and duct system.
**Based on Energy Star's Savings Calculator for a 3-ton 21 SEER/10 HSPF heat pump and programmable thermostat versus the industry standard 14 SEER/8.2 HSPF 3-ton heat pump and standard thermostat in St. Louis, MO.
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