A Homeowner’s Guide to Choosing a New Heat Pump

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Heat Pumps Minneapolis & St. Paul

Heat pumps are an excellent way to ensure year-round comfort for your Minnesota home. Heat pumps provide both heating and cooling, often at a lower cost than a furnace or a central air conditioner. If you need to replace your heat pump, here’s what you need to know.

Factors Affecting Cost

Several factors affect the cost of a new heat pump.

Brand Name

Like most products, heat pumps come in a range of different brands from budget to high-end. Most budget-brand heat pumps will last from 12 to 16 years. Mid-priced brands offer 15 to 18 years of use. Premium-brand heat pumps can last as long as 22 years.

Performance and Efficiency

Heat pumps are available in different models with different levels of efficiency and performance.

  • Single stage heat pumps are the most basic. They are either turned on and running at their full capacity, or they’re turned off. The efficiency rating of this type of heat pump is generally moderate.
  • Two-stage heat pumps are more energy-efficient than single-stage models. Two-stage models have a low capacity of around 65% and a high capacity of 100%. In order to maintain indoor temperatures, they run at the lower capacity whenever possible.
  • Variable capacity heat pumps, also known as modulating heat pumps, are the most efficient (and the most expensive). This type of heat pump has a compressor that regulates capacity, delivering precisely the amount of heat needed to maintain temperatures. Not all heat pump manufacturers make variable-capacity models.

Types of Heat Pumps

There are three types of heat pumps. A qualified HVAC estimator can help you select the best option for your home.

Air-Source

Air-source heat pumps contain an indoor unit called an air handler and an outdoor unit. Refrigerant circulates through tubing between the units, absorbing and releasing heat.

Split-Ductless

A split-ductless heat pump has an outdoor compressor and between one and four air handlers indoors. The indoor units are installed on or near the ceiling, and are operated using a remote control. The indoor and outdoor units are connected by tubing. Refrigerant circulates through the tubes. This type of heat pump does not require ductwork.

 

What to Consider When Choosing a New Heat Pump

Besides the choice of air-source, split-ductless, or geothermal, here’s what to consider when buying a heat pump.

Size

If your heat pump is not the correct size for your home, it won’t run effectively and can even break down. A heating contractor will help you choose a heat pump in the proper size.

SEER and HSPF Ratings

SEER ratings—Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings—measure cooling efficiency. HSPF (Heating Season Performance Factor) ratings measure heating efficiency. Heat pumps carry both types of ratings because they both cool and heat your house. The higher these ratings, the more efficient the heat pump.  The minimum SEER rating is 13, while the most efficient heat pumps have a rating of over 20 SEER. The average SEER rating is 13-16.

Installation

Many problems with heat pumps are simply caused by improper installation. Have your heat pump installed by a professional heating contractor to ensure it’s done correctly. If cost is an issue, choose a more economical brand of heat pump and don’t skimp on installation costs.

Contact us to learn more about heat pump replacement and repair.