Advances in heat pump technology have created a number of choices for property owners looking to save money on their heating and cooling costs, but knowing how geothermal systems work is key to deciding which heat pump is the right fit.
Heat pumps have become an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners for buildings in moderate climates. By using electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, the heat pump can make the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer with less energy than units that heat or cool the air. When heat is needed, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into the home and in summer, heat is moved from inside the house to the outdoors.
The most common type of heat pump is the air-source heat pump, which transfers heat between your house and the outside air. For homeowners in colder climates, like New England, these types of pumps may not be as efficient. Pumps may need to be supplemented with back-up burners. Although there are few manufacturers that use back-up burners in their units, there are some options that use fuel such as natural gas, oil or even wood. Compared to a typical combustion fuel-fired furnace or standard heat pump alone, this type of system is more economical, though actual savings can vary.
For a New England property, heat pumps that use geothermal energy or absorption heat pumps might be better choices.
Geothermal heat pumps, work by transferring heat energy from either the ground or a water source, such as a lake or pond, into the home. These pumps can be more costly to install than an air-source heat pump, but they cost less to operate. Ground-source or water-source heat pumps are more effective in climates like New Hampshire’s than air-source heat pumps. They also have a good reputation for customer satisfaction.
Absorption heat pump, also called a gas-fired heat pump, is another option. Absorption heat pumps use heat from a fuel source, such as natural gas, oil or geothermal energy, to heat the home.
When selecting a heat pump, take a look at models that use some of the innovations made in recent years to improving the efficiency of heat pumps.
Heat pumps with a desuperheater, can not only provide a home with an efficient source of heat, but hot water as well. A desuperheater recovers waste heat from the heat pump's cooling mode and uses it to heat water. A pump with a scroll compressor, which has two spiral-shaped scrolls that rotate around each other, might also be a good choice. Compared to the typical compressors, scroll compressors have a longer operating life and are quieter. There are also claims these compressors provide warmer air than standard compressors.
Two-speed compressors are cutting costs for homeowners by operating below the heating or cooling capacity when needed, unlike standard compressors that only operate at full capacity. This system is popular for homes with zone-controlled systems. Variable-speed or dual-speed motors on the heat pumps blowers are also cost-saving options. By keeping the air flowing throughout the home at a low speed, it reduces drafts and cuts electrical and heating costs. It also cuts down on the noise of a full-speed blower.
If you are looking for a heating or cooling system upgrade to your home or business, installing a heat pump might be a good option. It is quieter, better for the environment and will cut your fuel and electrical costs. Contact Skillings & Sons for an explanation of your geothermal options.