What is a heat pump?
The most common way to heat your home is by a furnace which creates heat by burning fuel. Heat pumps transfer heat from one place to another instead of creating heat. Heat pumps are used in the winter to heat, but are also used in the summer to cool. In the winter, the heat pump absorbs heat from the outdoor air and transfers it to the air inside your home. In the summer, it absorbs heat from the air inside your home and transfers it to the outdoors. Even though it might feel cold outside, there is enough warmth in the air to warm your home, until it gets down to around 32 degrees F. At the point, the heat pump will need some additional help in heating your home. If your home is all electric, then this additional heat will be produced by electric heat strips in your fan coil or air handler. If you have a duel-fuel system, your thermostat will switch over to the alternate heating source, such as a propane or natural gas furnace, when the temperature drops too low for the heat pump to handle the heating demand.
When should I consider replacing my heat pump?
Heat pumps tend to last a little less time that air conditioners. This is because they run all year around, instead of just in the summer, so they are doing double-duty. If your heat pump needs a considerable repair and it is over 10 years old, you may want to consider replacing it. The older units run on R-22 refrigerant, which is being phased out and will not be available after 2020. If your unit has developed a leak, the R-22 needed to recharge it can be very costly, and chances are that it will just leak out again. New heat pump systems are much more efficient than older models, so they will use considerably less electricity to operate. If you have a leak, or if you are facing an expensive repair, you should get an estimate to see just how much it would cost to replace the system, and an estimate as to how much you might save on your energy bills. Also, many utility companies offer rebates for customers that replace their older, less-efficient heat pumps with a new efficient model.
Why do I have to replace my fan coil or air handler when I replace my heat pump?
The outdoor portion is only part of your heat pump system. The compressor sits outside, and is connected to the inside portion by your line set, consisting of the liquid line and suction line, which are the lines that the refrigerant runs through. These lines connect to the coil inside. If your home is running on all electric, your coil is mostly integrated directly inside your fan coil or air handler. As this unit is probably running the old R-22 refrigerant, and the coil was made for this, you will need to replace both the heat pump outside and the furnace or air handler inside. If you are using a heat pump with a duel fuel source, then your coil would be separate from your furnace and therefore, only the coil would need to be replaced, as long as your furnace is working fine.
What type of heat pump should I purchase?
Heat pumps basically come in the same variations as air conditioners. Single stage, two stage, or variable speed compressors are available. For a detailed description of these 3 types, please visit our air conditioner replacement page. Heat pumps also come in various SEER/EER ratings. These energy ratings help you determine the energy efficiency of the various units. You can discuss the various options and the cost associated with each with one of Westin Air’s knowledgeable sales persons. They can help you select a unit that will give you good efficiency for the amount of money spent.
Contact Westin Air today to see the available heat pump models that we have to offer.