A heat pump is an excellent option for home comfort management in the Mobile area. Because winters are mild, a heat pump can provide safe and effective heating during the winter and cooling during the summer. As you begin to look at new systems, read through the following five features in order to help you assess your needs and options.
1. Efficiency Ratings
A heat pump is rated for both heating and cooling efficiency. You will find that high-performance units take today’s efficiency levels to new heights. Cooling efficiency is identified as SEER, the seasonal energy efficiency ratio. In 2006, this was raised from 10 to 13 as a minimum requirement in newly manufactured equipment. Effective in January 2015, the minimum SEER in new systems for areas other than the northern region of the country was raised to 14. Similarly, the minimum HSPF, heating seasonal performance factor, has increased from 7.7 to 8.2. Budget-friendly units are available at the lower end of this rating spectrum. However, high-performance pump systems offer more than 20 SEER and 13 HSPF. As you make a decision about your next system, you will want to balance your desire for energy efficiency with your budget for new equipment.
2. Compatibility for Hybrid Heating
Natural gas is used for heating nearly one-third of Alabama homes. Although average lows are in the 40s during the winter, record lows have dropped to sub-zero levels. On these rare occasions, an air-source pump system may struggle to efficiently heat. Combing the pump system with a compatible furnace can be ideal for ensuring the most efficient heating source based on the outside conditions. If you have a furnace, you may want to consider heat pump installation as part of a hybrid heating configuration.
3. Indoor Air Quality
Living near the Gulf Coast, you may struggle with humidity levels inside your home. Even during the winter months, outside humidity levels exceed 60 percent. Recommended indoor humidity is between 30 and 50 percent, but a moist climate makes it difficult to mitigate high levels. Humid air will make you feel warmer and more uncomfortable. You’ll also find that a humid home can create problems with mold and mildew. Health and your quality of life can be affected by poor indoor air quality because of excessive moisture.
Your cooling system provides dehumidification activity, important for drawing moisture from your indoor air supply. Unfortunately, it is impractical to operate your cooling equipment when temperatures are mild. As you research new pump systems, you will want to investigate those options that include enhanced dehumidification solutions. Systems like the Infinity 20 from Carrier provide optimum dehumidification, using lower speeds to minimize cooling activity while maximizing the removal of moisture from the indoor environment. This allows you to gain greater control over your home’s air quality.
4. Adaptive Technology
Older systems tend to operate at set output levels, making it difficult to achieve the ideal comfort level in a home. Temperature levels are registered at the thermostat, and hot or cold air is distributed until this level is reached. In many cases, portions of a home will experience major temperature changes between system cycling. However, pump systems with adaptive technology can adjust based on indoor conditions, adjusting fan and compressor speeds to ensure that output is only as much as needed. The Infinity 20 system, for example, can range from 40 to 100 percent, providing only as much heating or cooling as needed. Not only does this ensure optimum comfort, but it also allows for more efficient use of energy. Further, you may experience fewer heat pump repairs because of less intense equipment activity.
5. Life Expectancy of a System
As you think about a new heat pump installation, you may want to compare the remaining life of your existing equipment to the potential benefits of a new unit. You can expect a new unit to last for nearly 15 years, especially if the unit has been carefully maintained. If you are experiencing more frequent heat pump repair needs in spite of good maintenance, a new unit may save you from expensive future repairs.
If you considering a heat pump or want to find out how a heat pump would work in your home, call Air-Specialty.