Tag Archives: heat pump

Installing a Heat Pump in Your Home

Installing Your Heat Pump

Once you decide you’d like to have a heat pump in your home, there are a few considerations you face right away. The biggest decision you’ll have to make here is whether you’re going to go with a ductless or ducted heat pump.

Comparing ducted to ductless heat pumps, the biggest difference is ducted heat pumps are able to distribute air to the whole home, and not just through a single wall unit. That being said, it becomes much more expensive if you need to have ducts installed to service your heat pump. The good news is if you have a forced air furnace already, those ducts may be used for your ducted heat pump system. The bad news is a ducted heat pump system may require an upgrade to your electrical systems in order to accommodate 200 amp service.

100 amp service is adequate for your current oil fired furnace and would likely be able to power a ductless heat pump, but ducted systems generally require an upgrade in the electrical system unless you have an especially efficient heat pump. So, though you may not be spending as much to install a ducted heat pump when you already have ducts, you might pay a bit more to upgrade your electrical systems and even it out. The overall consideration should come down to the size of your house and your heating needs. Many homeowners also find the ducted systems to be much more aesthetically pleasing compared to having a bulky wall unit in a specific room.

Another benefit to using a ducted system is you have a built in backup system. The system is simply the heating coil inside your heat pump, which will heat up air as it passes by and goes through the ductwork. This can be very helpful in more extreme climates that the heat pump can’t properly service, as the heat pump generally isn’t effective in temperatures lower than -15 degrees Celsius.

In the actual process of installing the heat pump, there are some things you should absolutely keep in mind. Your outdoor unit should be protected from the wind, but also be in an open enough space that it doesn’t automatically recirculate the same outdoor air. Also, you must ensure snow doesn’t block the airflow. This is done by placing the heat pump on a stand on a concrete pad so it is both elevated and engaged for proper drainage. Finally, for best operation of your heat pump, it should be placed outside the drip line (where water drips off the roof) of your building.

Overall, the cost should come out to around $6,000 and $7,000 depending on the area you are in. Getting a few quotes before making a decision is the best course of action to take. This will vary with the electrical and duct requirements, as well what you decide between a ducted and ductless system. Either way, a heat pump will add significant value to your house and save you a lot of heating costs in the meantime.

Heat Pump Home Improvement

An Introduction to Heat Pumps

Exterior Heat Exchange Unit
Exterior Heat Exchange Unit

Home improvement is great for two reasons: it increases the value of your home, and at the same time it helps you derive more utility out of your home. Most people tend to focus on the visible factors like interior finishes, garage space, and bathroom/kitchen remodeling, but don’t realize that making big changes to the mechanical systems can be the most profitable of all changes. This is because even a mild upgrade to the HVAC system could require additional ducting and wiring. These are all things a lot of homeowners don’t want to deal with, so there’s value in investing money to improve a system if the expected contribution value is greater than the investment costs.

One such renovation is the addition of a heat pump. Heat pumps are part of the heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system. Their basic function is to use outside air to cool or heat your home, depending on what time of year it is. During the winter it would use outside air to warm your house and during the summer it would do the opposite. Naturally, this is only possible in mild climates where you aren’t dealing with sub-zero temperatures, since that would be too demanding energy-wise on the heat pump.

On the most basic level, a heat pump is a mechanical refrigeration system that can either heat or cool a controlled space. There are two main parts of a heat pump: the indoor component is referred to as an air handler, and the outdoor component looks like an air conditioner, but is actually called the heat pump. The market varies based on the geographic location, but the market leader is currently Trane due to their products’ balance of performance and cost.

Interior Heat Pump Air Handler Unit
Interior Heat Pump Unit

If you are struggling to visualize this, just picture a heat pump as a mechanism that moves air from one place to another in a way that controls the temperature in a much more efficient manner. The compressor portion of the heat pump controls the refrigerant that will release and absorb the heat as it is cycled between the indoor and outdoor units. Basically, a heat pump moves heat instead of creating it, which saves you money in the long-run. That’s why prospective homeowners are often excited to see one in their prospective home.

As was stated earlier, heat pumps are only possible in moderate climates where the energy demand isn’t too high. In areas where more extreme low temperatures occur, it could be necessary to have some sort of supplemental heating source, so you’re not left in the freezing cold during a particularly bad winter.

Based on an assessment of your homes current HVAC system and the necessary wiring and ducting to install a heat pump, you can get a quote from your local installer and then decide whether to proceed from there. The installation process can be more complicated depending on what changes needed to be made to your house, and will be given further attention in another article.