Despite rising electricity costs, heat pumps remain a popular choice for year round temperature control in homes and businesses. They take up less space, require less demolition to install, and offer tremendous energy efficiency. All these attributes impact their popularity.
Heat pumps use technology similar to that found in a refrigerator or an air conditioner. Like these traditional refrigerant systems, heat pumps use a compressor to take heat energy from the air. Heat pump technology circulates this heat energy between the outdoors and indoors – making heat in cold months and reversing as cool air in warm months.
A heat pump system consists of an indoor, mounted unit that is called an Air Handler, and an outdoor unit that is called the Heat Pump. When it’s cold outside, the unit extracts the natural heat energy in the air and moves it inside. When it’s warm outside, it reverses the process like a traditional air conditioner and removes the heat from inside.
Heat pump technology is extremely energy efficient. They are more efficient than traditional heating systems because the amount of heat they produce is more than the amount of electricity they use.
Because they move heat rather than generate heat, they don’t use combustion which requires fuel consumption. Heat pump technology allows them to provide equivalent space heating and conditioning at a quarter of the cost of operating conventional heating and cooling appliances.
Although their efficiency declines in subzero temperatures, so does the efficiency of any heating system that has to work to keep up with the demands when temperatures are that low for any length of time.
Heat pumps operate well down to outdoor temperatures as low as -22°F. While a secondary heating source is recommended, they are effective to use a primary heating source, even in Maine.
The cost of a new heat pump is going to vary according to the size of your house and your specific needs. Make sure you speak with a qualified contractor, and keep in mind that you don’t want to cut corners when it comes to contractors. A lower quote may mean inferior experience, service after the sale, or quality of equipment. A heat pump is a big investment, so you want to make sure it is installed correctly by a company that will stand behind their products.
There is an initial equipment and installation cost. While this cost may be higher than some traditional heating system options, Efficiency Maine offers considerable rebates on new heat pump installations. You may want or need heat pumps installed in only one or two rooms, or you may need more units depending on your situation. Either way, because of the high efficiency rating, Efficiency Maine helps residents pay for their upgrades.
Like all heating and cooling systems, heat pump sizing will vary depending on your specific needs and the square footage of the space. When a qualified contractor comes to your home to give you an estimate, they will do a series of calculations to determine what size you need, and discuss your options with you. Like most home systems, one size doesn’t fit all.
Everyone has different priorities, but there are thousands of Maine homes that are enjoying the year round comfort and energy savings from heat pumps. While the upfront costs may be slightly higher (or not, depending on rebates), the energy savings, longevity, and simple maintenance of heat pumps make them very affordable options in the long run.
Heat Pumps are a great alternative to traditional heating and cooling systems. And they provide both all in one assembly! Warm Waters is a licensed, certified installer of heat pumps, and we are happy to answer your questions and help you decide if a heat pump is right for your home or business. We are also a Registered Residential Vendor and Qualified Partner with Efficiency Maine. Please CONTACT US.
Check out more information on heat pumps, rebates, and installation FAQ at Efficiency Maine.