What You Should Know About Energy Efficient Heat Pumps


Looking for an energy-efficient way to heat your home? Heat pumps offer a green alternative to burning fossil fuels. These units are like reverse air conditioners for your house. Like your air conditioner, a heat pump can move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making cold air colder and warm air warmer. Heat pumps come in a variety of styles, including reversible pumps that can both heat and cool your home. The technology has several advantages over traditional heating systems.

Lower Energy Use

What You Should Know About Energy Efficient Heat PumpsImage via Flickr by morberg

Heat pumps are much more efficient to operate than combustible systems. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, modern heat pumps use only half as much electricity as traditional electric heat systems.

Reduced Maintenance and Longer Life

A heat pump system has fewer moving parts than a traditional heating system, and the indoor components are protected from the elements, so these systems need less maintenance and have a longer lifespan. The indoor components can be expected to last 25 years, on average, versus just 15 years for a furnace or conventional air conditioner. The ground loop portion of a geothermal heat pump, one that extracts heat from underground, can last as long as 50 years.

Cut Operating Costs By Half

If you’re looking for ways to cut your winter energy costs, a heat pump can be a valuable addition to your plan. Heat pumps are extremely energy-efficient. Portland General Electric has published some figures for a typical 1,800 square foot home. They report that a ductless heat pump can save $921 per year over an electric baseboard heater, or about 50 percent of the total heating bill. A ducted model can save $796 over the cost of running an electric furnace, for a 46 percent savings. The lower need for maintenance and longer life span of a heat pump system add to the cost savings.

Heat Your Home Safely

With no combustible fuels or open flames, a heat pump is a safer alternative to a traditional system. There’s no danger of explosions or leaky gas pipes, and no need to worry that your children or pets might be exposed to open flames or scalding-hot radiators. A heat pump is also a safe choice when an HVAC engineer wants to install a supplemental unit in a home’s attic where fire hazards are high.

Provide Cooling During Summer

A reversible heat pump can earn its keep all year, providing warmth in winter and cool air in summer. Having only one unit to serve both functions justifies the higher cost of a heat pump over a traditional furnace. It also reduces the amount of space you’ll need to house equipment, which increases your usable home and garden space.

If you’re committed to creating a high-efficiency home with lower energy usage, a heat pump can be an important part of your plan. Instead of sacrificing comfort to go green, a heat pump will keep you warm in winter and cool in summer, while reducing your maintenance hassles and making your home a safer place to live.

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