Air-source heat pumps are being touted as the next big thing in sustainable space conditioning, and with their many benefits, it's easy to see why. Here are just a few of the advantages that air-source heat pumps have compared to conventional heating and cooling:
- More efficient. Air-source heat pumps heating and cooling efficiencies of up to 300% or more.
- Quieter operation. Air-source heat pumps produce less noise than conventional HVAC systems.
- Safer. Heat pumps use electricity, eliminating potentially hazardous emissions from furnace fuels.
Despite these benefits, many are concerned that air-source heat pump performance is not so hot at very cold temperatures. The truth is that air-source heat pumps can provide effective space heating in winter, but their performance does drop as the outdoor temperature decreases. What does that mean for you? We'll sort it all out.
How air-source heat pumps work
In winter, heat pumps move heat from the cold outdoors to the warmer indoor space. How does cold air provide heat? Hot and cold are relative terms. All outside air down to absolute zero degrees (-460°F) contains some heat. An air-source heat pump extracts some heat and moves it indoors to provide space heating. In summer, this process is reversed to provide space cooling.
How are heat pumps more than 100% efficient? They move heat rather than create, like a conventional furnace. Even the most efficient furnace loses some heat in the combustion process.
Cold temperature performance
Cold-climate heat pumps (CCHPs) take the design of an air-source heat pump and kick it up a notch. They integrate a variable speed drive compressor into the technology, keeping CCHPs highly efficient even when the thermometer hits zero. In fact, they’ve been given higher Heating Season Performance Factor (HSPF) ratings than standard air-source heat pumps.
Just how efficient are CCHPs?
- When temperatures drop to below 47 degrees, CCHPs can run at 400% efficiency.
- At zero degrees, they still perform at 200% efficiency.
- Some companies even say their models remain efficient at as low at 20 below zero.
- Research has shown that CCHPs have been able to supply 90% of a home’s heating needs with a 250% overall seasonal efficiency. That’s pretty great, and it will save you a lot of money – especially with the volatile pricing of propane and natural gas these days.
CCHP models have been developed by Mitsubishi, Midea, and Bryant, and more. Contact a local heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) contractor to learn more.
The added bonus of a CCHP is, like a standard air-source heat pump, the unit also provides your home cooling in the summer. The process is the same whatever the season. The heat pump pulls heat out of the outside air and pushes it inside in the winter and pulls heat out of your home and expels it outside in the summer. Your house remains consistently comfortable during any wild Midwest temperature swings.
Beltrami Electric Cooperative also offers a huge rebate and a reduced electric rate if you install your CCHP on the off-peak program. All you have to do is include a backup fuel source for the times when electric demand peaks - usually around 100-150 hours a year.
Contact Beltrami Electric at 218-444-2540 or 1-800-955-6083 to learn how you can save big and stay warm with a cold-climate heat pump!