Heat pumps are becoming a more and more popular heating choice for many homeowners, especially in rural areas where natural gas may not be available. You might be interested in a heat pump because you're tired of paying high prices for oil or propane delivery, or because you want to use fewer fossil fuels and adopt a more environmentally friendly heating option instead. Heat pumps have traditionally been a less than perfect choice in particularly cold environments, but that's starting to change. Whatever your reason is for wanting to switch from your current heating method to a heat pump, here are some tips that can help you get the most out of your choice.
Choose From the Newest Generation of Heat Pumps
If you live in a cold climate, don't choose a heat pump model that's more than a year or two old. The reason that heat pumps have not always been the best choice in colder areas of the country is because the older models don't work well when the temperatures drop below a certain point.
However, the latest generation of residential heat pumps will continue keeping your home warm in temperatures as low as 20 degrees below zero. These newer pumps work better in lower temperatures because manufacturers have begun to include variable speed motors, giving the pump more options than just being off or on. Furthermore, there are new combinations of refrigerants inside the machines that are more efficient at transferring heat. The insulated tubes that deliver the heat into your home are also less likely to allow cold air into your home, so by choosing one of these heat pumps, you're eliminating a source of drafts.
Improve Your Thermal Envelope
"Thermal envelope" is a term that encompasses all of the parts of your home that shield you from the outdoor elements. Your windows, walls, roof, and insulating material are all parts of your home's thermal envelope. The stronger that thermal envelop is, the more efficiently your heat pump will work.
You can strengthen your thermal envelope in a number of different ways. Add weather stripping to doors and windows. Install new insulation, and pay particular attention to the roof. Remember that heat rises, and that means that a lot of your home's heat can be lost through a poorly insulated roof. Seal air leaks where pipes or cables enter the home. Anything that you can do to reduce the amount of heat that escapes your home will help maximize the potential of your heat pump.
Maintain Your Heat Pump
Once you've chosen a new heat pump and improved your home's thermal envelope, you should be set. But as time goes on, you'll need to make sure that you're maintaining your heat pump properly so that it continues to operate at peak efficiency for you. The easiest way to do this is to simply purchase a service contract when you buy your heat pump. That way, you'll have an annual check-up that can help ward off any mechanical breakdowns.
However, there are some things that you can do yourself. Change the filter on the indoor unit of your heat pump as often as the manufacturer recommends. Turn the pump off and check to make sure that the electrical connections are tight and that the blower is clean. Washing the outside unit is a good idea – you don't want dirt, debris, or grass clippings to build up and damage the unit. However, you should only use a garden hose, never a pressure washer. Take care not to damage the delicate fins on the coil inside the outdoor unit.
With your new heat pump, you'll enjoy the benefits of lower energy bills and a comfortably warm home, all while using an environmentally friendly form of heat. Now that you know more about choosing your pump and getting the greatest efficiency out of it, you're ready to get started with a new kind of heat. Check out a company like Cape Fear Air Conditioning & Heating Co., Inc. to see their inventory of heat pumps.