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Heat Pump Ultimate Resource Guide

Ground Source Heat Pumps Victoria BC

 

Welcome!

 

Thanks for visiting our heat pump ultimate resource guide. It's broken down into 9 Chapters and the goal is to give you as much information as we can about heat pumps.

 

Chapters

 

Below are the list of chapters. Feel free to click on the chapter link to jump ahead to that chapter as this guide is long and jam packed with informative information.

Chapter 1 - What Are Heat Pumps?

 

When the season shifts to cooler weather, many homeowners start scheduling a tune-up for or replacing their existing heating system.

Among the concerns homeowners have with older heating and cooling systems is whether a tune-up is worth the expense of the service call. After all, it worked well enough through last year, didn’t it? Another concern is, “What do I buy to replace the old unit?” One possible replacement option is the heat pump.

Heat pumps – The Basics

Basically, a heat pump is a mechanical device that uses a small amount of energy to transfer heat between your house and the outside air. This movement of thermal energy is the opposite of wind generation – here, heat is absorbed from a cold space (outside) and released into a warmer space (inside). In nature, heat tends to flow from a higher to a lower temperature.

There are several types of heat pumps that can create this exchange of cool/warm air:

  • Air-source heat pump –in which heat from outdoor air is drawn in and transferred to indoor air ducts to be distributed through your house. The reverse of this system can be used to cool the house in the summer months.
  • Ground-source heat pump – absorbs heat from the ground (or an underground water source) and transfers it in or out of the house, depending on the season.
  • Mini-split heat pump – operates on the same principle as the standard heat pump but is ductless and connects the outdoor air-source unit to many indoor units such as radiant panels, space heaters (wood, kerosene, propane), and hot water heating systems.

Heat pumps – A Brief History

Although we often think of “refrigeration” as something related to cooling, it is a process of moving heat from one place to another. It might surprise you to learn that the heat pump grew out of an early demonstration of artificial refrigeration pioneered in 1748 by William Cullen.

 

That process led to the scientific principle of the heat pump, developed around 1852 by William Thomson, Lord Kelvin. Lord Kelvin envisioned applying this principle to cooling buildings and refrigeration systems. Peter von Rittinger is credited with developing and building the first heat pump system between 1855 and 1857.

 

It was not until the late 1940s that an American inventor, Robert C. Webber, developed the first ground source heat pump. Webber observed that his deep freezer produced constant excess heat. Connecting the outlet piping from the freezer to a hot water heater, then hooking the heated water to a piping loop and utilizing a small fan, he found that his system could propel warm air into the building. From that first system, he developed a full-sized pump that could provide heat throughout his home.

 

Heat Pumps Pros and Cons

There are a number of benefits to a heat pump system for heating or cooling your house. Some of them include:

  • Air-source and geothermal heat pumps are more efficient than gas furnaces.
  • The operating costs of a heat pump are typically (but not always) lower than those of natural gas furnaces.
  • Heat pumps are more environmentally friendly.
  • Heat pumps distribute heat evenly throughout the house, reducing/eliminating the cold spots.

Some potential disadvantages are:

  • The heat produced by heat pumps isn’t as intense as that produced by oil-burning or gas furnaces; some people find this an uncomfortable difference.
  • The efficiency of older heat pump systems decreases during the coldest periods, requiring a supplemental/backup heating system to augment the heat pump.
  • Some heat pumps develop leaky or noisy ducts.

Heat pump systems are not the perfect solution to every heating need but they are an increasingly more efficient and effective alternative to traditional heating systems.

 

Chapter 2 – How Heat Pumps Work

 

Heat pumps are cost-effective, eco-friendly, safe systems for heating and cooling homes in moderate climates. Recent advances have even made heat pumps work more effectively in climates with greater weather extremes, too.

 

You may be unfamiliar with heat pump systems and the differences between them and more traditional home heating systems:

  • Traditional HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) systems have separate air conditioning and heating units.
  • Heat pumps are a single component that can either heat or cool a house.
  • Heat pumps don’t burn fuel to create heat; they function by transferring heat.
  • Fuel-based furnaces produce carbon monoxide byproduct that can pose health risks.
  • Heat pumps don’t produce waste gases or by-products.

How a heat pump works

What makes a heat pump system so effective, and how does it work? Let’s briefly return to the basic description from Chapter 1:

"Basically, a heat pump is a mechanical device that uses a small amount of energy to transfer heat between your house and the outside air."

An air-source or geothermal-source heating system has these components:

  • a compressor
  • a condenser
  • an expansion valve
  • an evaporator

(For this example of heating, let’s focus on the air-source heat pump.)

The heat pump system consists of an outdoor unit and an indoor distribution system. Both are powered by electricity.

  1. The outdoor unit of the air-source heat pump system draws air in and uses a fan to force the air over a heat exchanger (special tubes through which refrigerant flows). This process extracts heat from the air.
  2. The evaporator takes the heat gained from the heat exchanger and boils the refrigerant, converting it from its liquid form into a vapor.
  3. The vapor is transferred to the compressor which compresses (reduces) the volume of the vapor. As the volume is reduced, its pressure and temperature are increased.
  4. The now-hot refrigerant flows to the condenser/heat exchanger and the heat gained from the environmental source (the air) is transferred to the heating system.
  5. The heat exchanger heats the domestic hot water and powers the central heating system. Warm air is distributed through the duct system of the house.
  6. When the refrigerant has expended its heat load and starts cooling down, it flows back through the expansion valve to the outside unit and picks up more heat (air).
  7. The cycle is repeated.

Year round comfort and safety

 

A heat pump provides a stable temperature within the home. Once the room reaches the temperature you prefer (for either cooling or warming), the heat pump will maintain that temperature. Newer heat pumps also have programmable timers that can be preset to warm the house up before you get out of bed in the morning, or to warm the house ahead of your return from work.

 

Heat pumps don’t create waste – no ashes, soot, smoke, moisture, or other waste material. The refrigerant used in newer heat pumps is more eco-friendly, contributing fewer greenhouse gases.

 

And because there is no gas heating or wood burning, there also are no hot surfaces or flames that can burn people or pets. The heat pump can be safely left on whether you are asleep or out of the house.

 

Want to know more about the performance and efficiency of heat pumps? Please continue to the next chapter.

 

Chapter 3 – Performance and Efficiency of Heat Pumps

 

The benefits of heating and cooling your home with a heat pump system can sound pretty appealing. But if you are a cost-conscious homeowner, you probably want to know about their performance and efficiency as well.

Heating and cooling– a changing climate

Although the heat pump is powered by electricity, a properly installed heat pump delivers from one-and-a-half to three times more heat than it consumes in electricity. The reason for this efficiency is that the heat pump moves heat; it doesn’t convert heat from a fuel like oil or propane.

 

Tradition has it that heat pumps are most effective for heating and cooling houses located in moderate-to-warm climates. The newer generation of heat pumps (“cold pumps”) is proving to be efficient and effective in even the colder climates.

 

The Canadian GeoCity initiative and the New England states of Vermont and Massachusetts are promoting installation of new generation heat pump systems. The heating efficiency of the newer systems is proving to be far less expensive than conventional fuel-based heat systems typically used in the northeast and Canada.

 

Improving efficiency and performance

 

Let’s look at some of the changes incorporated into the new generation heat “cold climate” pumps.

  • Variable speed compressor – once the house is at a comfortable temperature, the variable speed motor runs more slowly (instead of shutting off). This breaks the cycle of heat-up-cool-down-heat-up, etc., and produces more even temperatures for increased comfort.
  • Thermostatic expansion valves – improve the control of the refrigerant flow to the also-improved indoor coil, increasing its ability to transfer heat inside.
  • Insulated tubes –replacing existing drafty duct work with newer insulated tubing systems can also increase efficiency, when properly installed.

Measurable Efficiency

 

The efficiency of your heat pump is based on “outdoor” temperature and comparing the amount of energy delivered by the heat pump vs. the amount of energy consumed. Consider the efficiency of energy usage measured in kilowatts (kW).

 

An air-source heat pump is estimated to provide a Coefficient of Performance (COP) of 3:1. This means that for every 3kW of heat moved through your house, only 1kW of electricity is consumed.

 

A ground-source heat pump is even more efficient, with an efficiency of 4:1: for every 4kW of heat, only 1kW of electricity is used. In Canada, the cost of heating a home in Winnipeg, Manitoba could look like this:

 

(NOTE: these are costs to operate an electric furnace, oil furnace, air-source w/electric resistance backup heat pump, and a ground water [geothermal] heat pump per annum.)

  • Electric Furnace with A/C: $1,057 - $1,776
  • Oil Furnace with A/C: $1,290 - $2,218
  • Air-Source Add-on to Oil Furnace (Standard Efficiency): $867 - $1,402
  • Air-Source Add-on to Oil Furnace (High Efficiency): $837 - $1,346
  • Air-Source w/Electric Resistance Backup (Standard Efficiency): $750 - $1,225
  • Air-Source w/Electric Resistance Backup (High Efficiency): $717 - $1,162
  • Ground Water: $332 - $665
  • Ground Water: $281 - $562

Although heat pump efficiency is generally very good for many homes in many climates, its greatest efficiency will be with houses that are well insulated. A good insulation system helps the heat pump reach its highest COP level. Costs will also vary depending on the size of the area to be heated and cooled.

 

Is a heat pump the right choice for your home?

When evaluating whether to switch to a heat pump or augment your current heating system with a heat pump, one important factor to consider is the current cost of fuel for your oil- or propane-based system vs. the cost of electricity to run a heat pump.

 

In some areas, the cost of fuel still remains lower than the cost of electricity but that may not always be the case. Fuel costs fluctuate seasonally. Fuel costs are also dependent on the availability of a diminishing resource, the cost of delivery and changing government regulations regarding energy and pollution.

 

Chapter 4 – Types of Heat Pumps

 

By now, you are becoming familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of heating and cooling your home with a heat pump system. Let’s look more closely at the types of heat pumps currently being used in North America.

Ground-source heat pumps

Ground-source heat pumps (GSHP), also known as geothermal heat pumps, have been used in the USA for more than 50 years. Unlike air-source heat pumps that draw heat from the outside air, GSHPs exchange heat with the ground.

There are two basic types of ground-source heat pumps:

  • Closed (earth) loop system – functions through a ground heat exchange system that absorbs or dissipates heat through a continuous loop of piping buried underground. In heating, the antifreeze or refrigerant mixture circulated through the piping picks up heat from the soil and transfers it to the heat pump unit located inside the house.
  • Open loop system–functions on the same principle as a closed loop system but is installed where there is an adequate supply of water (such as a pond or well water) and drainage. Ground water is pumped through the open loop system into the house to the heat pump to be used for heating and cooling.

Air-source heat pumps

As described in greater detail in Chapter 2, the air-source heat pump draws air into the exterior heat pump system (located outside your house) and a fan forces the air over the heat exchanger, tubing through which refrigerant flows, to extract heat from the air. Through a process of compression and vaporization, heat is transferred to the interior portion of the heating system where it is distributed by ductwork throughout the house.

 

The newer technology Cold Climate air-source pump is designed for extreme climates. It is capable of detecting the minimum amount of energy needed to achieve desired heating or cooling – a very energy efficient heat pump alternative.

 

Absorption heat pumps

Absorption pumps are air-source pumps that rely on natural gas, geothermal-heated water, solar power, or propane instead of electricity for power. They are more often used in large-scale buildings but are also available for larger homes.

 

Another difference from air-source and GSHP pumps is that the absorption pump absorbs the evaporated ammonia from the refrigerant into water (instead of pumping it in a compressor). A low-pressure pump moves the solution up to a higher pressure, the heat source boils the ammonia out of the water, and the cycle is repeated.

 

Mini split/ductless heat pump

The mini-split (aka ductless) heat pump is a smaller device capable of heating the home or office. The mini-split differs from the air- and geothermal-source heat pumps because the system contains many indoor units, or splits. The outdoor unit routes refrigerant piping to each section. It does not process heated or cooled air through the standard duct system of a house.

 

An indoor unit is placed in the space that it will be heating or cooling; each indoor unit has a small fan that controls the airflow of that room.

 

How to choose?

Air and geothermal-source heat pumps are the most commonly used heat pump systems at this time. The newer absorption and cold pump systems are gaining support from homeowners and government initiatives.

 

The GSHP is a more costly initial investment but operates more efficiently in cold climates. Because the processor and pump are housed indoors, they are protected against harsher outdoor conditions. Geothermal systems are low maintenance, and the loops can last for generations when properly installed.

 

Air-source pumps are less complex and easier to install than the GSHP systems. They are easy to access and service but require closer attention to regular maintenance checks because the primary system is located outside the house. Although the newest generation of air-source pumps is more efficient than ever, it may require more supplemental energy to run when winter temperatures reach their lowest point.

 

When you are ready to shop for a heat pump system for your house, talk with HVAC professionals who are knowledgeable and experienced in designing and installing heat pumps. They will be able to help you determine what type of heat pump system will best suit your heating/cooling needs and budget.

 

Energy Star Ratings

Both the Canadian and United States governments utilize the Energy Star rating system to identify products that help fight climate change and save energy. These products typically help the consumer save money and protect the environment.

 

Energy Star-qualified air-source heat pumps have a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and a higher energy efficiency rating (EER) than traditional fuel-based heating/cooling systems. They are approximately 9 percent more efficient than standard new models that are not Energy Star qualified, and are potentially 20 percent more efficient than most standard systems installed in homes.

 

Energy Star-qualified ground-source heat pumps have been identified as being more than 45 percent more energy efficient than standard heating/cooling systems. GSHPs are considered the most efficient systems for providing comfortable heating and cooling to your home.

 

Chapter 5 Costs

 

It is time to turn our attention to the cost of complete system heat pumps, and the estimated complete system installation costs.

The setting

For the purpose of simplicity and clarity, certain factors for the following examples are predetermined and are based on installation of a complete air-source heat pump system:

  • Pricing is based on a complete 3-ton system – including heat pump condenser, 1200 cfm air handler and built-in coil, insulated copper line-set, 7-day programmable heat pump thermostat.
  • Home size –1750 – 2250 sqft. A SEER of 14 and an HSPF of 8.5 should adequately heat and cool a home in this size range.
  • Combined efficiency rating – 14 SEER, 8.5 HSPF
  • SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This is a rating of the cooling output of an air-source heat pump during a typical cooling season, divided by the total electrical energy input during that same period. The higher SEER rating of a unit, the more energy efficient it is. A SEER rating above 16 is considered high efficiency.
  • HSPF – Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. HSPF is used to measure the efficiency of air source heat pumps. This is a ratio of BTU heat output represented as BTU/watt-hr. The higher the unit’s HSPF rating is, the more energy efficient it is. An HSPF > 8 is rated as high efficiency.

Leading Brands

Now, let’s look at a few examples of complete system (CS) and complete system installed (CSI) costs for some of the major air-source heat pump brands.

  • York – 1,430 CS / $4,630 CSI
  • Amana - $1,640 CS / $5,310 CSI
  • American Standard - $2,345 CS / $7,590 CSI
  • Carrier - $2,395 CS / $7,690 CSI
  • Heil - $1,760 CS / $5,690 CSI
  • Lenox - $1,950 CS / $6,305 CSI
  • Trane - $2,620 CS / $8,260 CSI

This is only a partial list of brand-name heat pump systems and does not differentiate between those that are high efficiency rated and those that are standard efficiency rated. Standard efficiency systems do cost less in initial outlay but may be less cost-effective to operate over the long term.

 

The cost of a complete 3-ton air-source heat pump system, based on SEER/HSPF ratings:

  • SEER 13 – 14 / HSPF7 – 8 (standard efficiency) - $4,350
  • SEER 17 – 18 / HSPF 17 – 18 - $6,460
  • SEER 19+ / HSPF 10+ (super high efficiency) - $7,910

Heating and cooling your home

The costs above are based on a specific set of criteria and may not reflect the costs of installing a complete air-source heat pump system in your home. The pricing process begins with an inspection by a licensed HVAC representative.

 

The HVAC representative should complete a thorough evaluation of your present heating/cooling system (including a heating/cooling load calculation). Then, he or she should take measurements, and look at the heat gain/heat loss areas of your home (your windows, attic, doors, etc.). The representative uses these careful measurements and assessments to evaluate and recommend the properly sized system to best serve you and your home.

 

When pricing a heat pump system, keep in mind that you most likely will need to invest in a complete system. The outdoor and indoor connecting points must match and this doesn’t consistently happen, especially when the system is more than 7 years old. One HVAC specialist notes that total replacement is not always required; sometimes a part can fail prematurely and be replaced, but that is not the common case.

 

The cost also will vary from heat pump system to system. For instance, the more costly ground-source heat pump (GSHP) has a higher upfront cost for installation and many homeowners choose to finance a GSHP system. However, the return on investment is favourable: the GSHP system costs an estimated three-to-four times less to operate (when properly installed).

 

In the next chapter, we will look at other cost savings factors.

 

Chapter 6 – Cost Savings

 

In previous chapters, you learned about heat pumps, how they work, their performance and efficiency, types of heat pumps, and costs.

 

This chapter focuses on factors that influence cost savings, and provides some cost savings calculator links to help you estimate the potential cost of installing a heat pump system based on your house and energy bills.

 

Cost Savings Vactors

There are a number of factors related to both the interior and exterior environments of your house that affect the cost savings of a heat pump system. Let’s look at some of the most important factors.

Exterior Factors

Regional climate – the type of regional climate where your home is situated plays a significant part in how efficiently a heat pump (or other HVAC system) heats or cools your home.

 

Exterior shade – the shade provided by overhangs and landscaping also influences the energy efficiency of your home.

 

Building layout and orientation – the position of your house and its layout in relation to the sun, wind, and surrounding land and buildings affects your heating and cooling efficiency (and cost).

Interior Factors

Building size – this seems fairly obvious, but the size of the heat pump system must be properly matched to the size of the building. Without that proper balance, optimal efficiency and effectiveness will be diminished or lost altogether.

 

Number of windows – the number of windows and the directions they face are also part of the efficiency factor that will be measured by the HVAC specialist.

 

Insulation – how well the house, windows, and ducts are insulated (and sealed, where appropriate) affects how efficiently your home is cooled and heated – no matter what type of HVAC system is currently installed.

 

Other Factors

Type of heat pump system – the initial and operating costs of heat pumps will vary, depending on the type of system installed.

 

Air-source pumps are still the most frequently used heat pump systems. They cost less to install than ground-source (GSHP), also known as geothermal, systems but may be more expensive to operate in the coldest weather.

 

GSHP systems are considered to be the most efficient to operate but are costly in the initial investment end.

 

Backup energy system – the need for a backup system will depend on the type and size of heat pump you are considering. A reliable HVAC contractor who is knowledgeable on all heat pump options can advise you on this question, based on the current condition of your house, and the size of heat pump system recommended.

 

NOTE: a properly-sized GSHP system with an auxiliary heating unit may be able to cover your home’s heating and cooling without the need for a backup furnace.

 

Resources

There are many things to consider as you explore the pros and cons of installing a heat pump system in your home. The links below are some resources that can help you calculate the potential cost savings of installing and operating a heat pump system:

Energy Calculator

Climate Master

Lennox Energy Calulator

AquaCal Cost Estimator

EnergyStar Calculator

 

Chapter 7 – Heat Pumps vs. Other Heating Sources

 

Over the previous chapters, you have read about various types of heat pumps and the challenges and benefits they may offer for heating and cooling your home. Before you make a decision on a heating system, it may be helpful to review the basics of more traditional HVAC systems.

Heating Basics

When shopping for your new heating system, remember these basics:

  • Furnaces use oil, gas, or electricity to generate and transmit heat through the duct system of your home; electricity powers the air conditioner in the summer. Two separate units are required – the furnace, and the air conditioner.
  • Heat pumps do not burn fuel to generate heat - they extract heat from the air, ground, or water source and pump it inside to be distributed through the duct system. By reversing the heat pump process, heat is removed from the home’s indoor air and pumped outside. Both heating and cooling are accomplished through one unit, not separate furnace and air conditioner units.

Traditional Heating Systems

Humans have sought to heat their shelters for more than one million years. The most common heating sources have been fire and the burning of available fuels – wood, peat, animal dung, coal, gas, or oil.

 

Many of today’s homes are still heated by fuel-burning methods. Some of these methods include:

  • Fireplace – an ancient system for heating the home. Unfortunately, wood-burning fireplaces can emit air pollutants while providing little heat for anyplace other than near the fireplace itself.
  • Traditional fireplaces have long been energy losers; however, more modern high-efficiency fireplace inserts can increase the heating efficiency of fireplaces.
  • Wood- or pellet-burning appliance – these systems are appliances that burn wood or pellets to heat a space. They are more typically used as space heaters but modern wood- or pellet-burning appliances have increased heating efficiency and are more eco-friendly than earlier generation appliances.
  • Electric resistance – this heating method “converts nearly 100 per cent of the energy in the electricity to heat. Note that most of the electricity is generated from gas, oil, or coal generators. Also be aware that electric heat is usually a more expensive way of heating the home because of electricity generation and transmission losses.
  • Gas or oil-fired furnace – long a standard of home heating, the oil-fired furnace is still used in many homes. When combined with a forced-air distribution, this furnace system delivers a fairly dry heat throughout the home.
  • Gas- or oil-fired boilers heat water for radiator and baseboard hot water systems. This is a more expensive heating system than the furnace and cannot accommodate air conditioning.

Additional heating systems

  • Electric wall heater – this interior wall-mounted system has an electric element with a reflector positioned behind it that reflects heat into a room and (usually) a fan to move the air through the heater.
  • Hydronic radiant floor heating – tubing is installed in the floor; warm water (heated by an oil or gas boiler) circulates through the tubing to heat the area.
  • Solar heating – photovoltaic solar modules harvest energy from the sun, converting it into electricity for use in powering the home’s electrical devices and appliances.
  • Hybrid heat pump – this system combines an air-source heat pump with either a gas- or oil-fired furnace. The furnace is used when air temperatures drop and the heat pump cannot function efficiently. Hybrid heat pumps can switch between modes automatically.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Each type of heating and cooling system has advantages and disadvantages. Some disadvantages of such fuel-based systems as gas or oil are the use of non-replaceable resources, pollution, and expense. Systems like the pellet- and wood-burning stoves also can emit higher levels of pollutants and also require storage areas for the wood or pellets.

 

Heat pumps can accommodate many types of heating and cooling needs but not all types of heat pumps will serve all heating/cooling purposes well. Replacing a traditional heating system with a heat pump system can initially be very costly although return on investment can be realized within five to ten years, depending on the type of heat pump system, layout of the home (including directional position), insulation level, and climate conditions.

 

The best heating system isn’t entirely determined by the price. A wise homeowner will evaluate:

  • Heating/cooling options that most closely suit the internal comfort needs
  • The serviceability of the existing HVAC system
  • The lifecycle stage of the current system
  • Current energy efficiency
  • Return on investment

 

Chapter 8 – Manufacturers

 

The process of reviewing your current HVAC system, options for repairing or replacing it, and considering which type of system to replace it with is worthy of a notebook. There really are no shortcuts to this process and if you aren’t keeping detailed notes, you may overlook very important information that could affect your decision-making.

 

Start with a whole-home energy audit

 

If you have decided to replace a traditional HVAC system with a heat pump (or an existing heat pump with a new heat pump), it is probably time to schedule a home energy performance audit. This type of whole-home evaluation will cover such things as:

  • Evaluation of home’s insulation value
  • Windows, doors, roof, other possible structural sources of energy leakage
  • Energy-wasting behaviors (leaving doors or windows open, etc.)
  • Existing heating and cooling equipment, including the water heater
  • The home’s building envelope and ventilation system

NOTE: this audit may be completed by an independent contractor or an HVAC representative from a heat pump provider company.

 

Your home may already be fitted with a heat pump system. If so, you probably have a pretty good idea of the size of heat pump system you will need as a replacement.

 

If you are converting to a heat pump system from a traditional furnace and air conditioner system, you should contact several heat pump/installation companies for quotes on replacement systems.

 

Do any needed remediation work?

 

Depending on the results of the audit, you may choose (or need) to do some repairs and upgrades to ensure that your home is well-insulated prior to installation of your new heat pump. From the attic to the basement, crawlspace, or foundation, the envelope of your home should be properly insulated and sealed against needless energy loss. This is true of all the duct work in your home, too.

 

Evaluating Heat Pump Brands and Types

 

There is no intent to recommend any particular brand or model of heat pump system in any of these chapters. You are always encouraged to research HVAC systems (heat pumps are a form of HVAC) as well as some of the leading manufacturers and models.

 

Be aware that reading online reviews of specific manufacturers and products can be confusing. The reviews of the “Top Heat Pumps” from one website may differ considerably from those of another website.

 

The only way it may be possible to reasonably determine which product to choose is to speak with several individuals who actually install heat pumps. They are the people who know which brands, or models within a brand, are consistently top performers – and those that are frequently problematic.

 

Another important factor in your decision-making process is the actual model of a given manufacturer. Just as there are better performing cars within any major auto manufacturer’s line, so are there better performing models within even the best known heat pump manufacturers (and costlier does not equal better).

 

Among the leading brands of heat pump manufacturers are:

  • York
  • Trane
  • American Standard
  • Carrier
  • Mitsubishi
  • Bryant

These brands are not listed as endorsed products. Many of these manufacturers have been in business for as much as a century, or longer, and their products have withstood the test of time. Other heat pump manufacturers that aren’t mentioned here may also provide the heat pump system that is best suited to your home needs.

 

Keep making notes on everything you learn – from the energy audit, to the experiences of service repair persons, recommendations from friends, and the HVAC vendor. Compare recommended brands, like for like, and look for those systems that offer the best levels of energy savings (such as energy star and other similar ratings).

 

As you come close to making a decision, you should be able to reasonably determine:

  • The cost of using and maintaining your current system
  • Your home’s current energy performance
  • The size and type of heat pump recommended for your home needs
  • Cost of the complete heat pump package
  • Energy savings ratings
  • Warranty – parts and labor
  • Potential return on investment
  • Estimated savings per month

And before you make that final decision, take time to evaluate the contractor and vendor. Ask for and follow up on all references. The person doing the installation should be licensed and experienced at installing the type of heat pump system you will be buying. Also look at any online reviews.

 

Changing HVAC systems is a costly process, no matter which type of system you choose. Your choice will affect your monthly budget, and the overall well-being and comfort of all who live in your home for many years to come.

 

Chapter 9 – Review Sites

 

Together, we have explored the world of heat pumps. Perhaps you now have more knowledge about air- and ground-source systems, new-generation cold pumps, absorption heat pumps and mini split/ductless heat pumps.

 

The move toward cleaner, more energy-efficient heating and cooling systems continues to gain importance in communities throughout North America. Fortunately, there are wonderful HVAC options. Heat pump systems are rapidly evolving to meet the newest recommendations (and requirements) of both communities and consumers.

 

Good luck in your search and your decision-making process. If you need heat pumps in Victoria BC, please contact us.

 

The websites listed below are among the resources used for heat pump reviews.

 

Heat Pump GuideFurnace CompareHVAC For BeginnersHeat Pump Price Guide