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Cleveland HVAC Blog

Air-Source Heat Pumps: The Pros and Cons

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Mon, Jun 09, 2014 @ 08:30 AM

pros cons air source heat pumpHaving an air-source heat pump in a climate like ours has its pros and cons. Most occur in the winter, since these systems are heat-dependent. Improvements in their technology is making them viable choices for use in northern states, but before you choose, consider these advantages and disadvantages of air source heat pumps:

Pros of an Air-Source Heat Pump

  • The cooling efficiency of a heat pump is the same as a central air conditioner. They have to meet the same minimum seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) ratings as air conditioners. The minimum SEER stands at 13 and some heat pumps have SEER ratings that reach the mid 20s.

  • A heat pump offers three times the heating efficiency of electric heating, which can create only one unit of heat for each watt of electricity used. Heat pumps, on the other hand, can create three times or more heat from each watt they use. The pump's ability to heat depends on its heating season performance factor (HSPF); the minimum starts at 7.7. Systems with higher ratings put out much more heat. They're safe and convenient because they don't require flammable fuels like natural gas or propane. 

Cons of an Air-Source Heat Pump

  • An air-source heat pump works well as long as temperatures are above freezing. Below that temperature, less heat is available, and the pump may have to rely on its supplemental heating coil to warm your home. This coil uses electricity to heat and will increase heating costs.

  • Turning the temperature down at night in the winter can increase your energy bills. The only way to avoid triggering the supplemental heating coil is with an intelligent recovery (smart) thermostat. 
  • The coils in the outdoor condenser can freeze in the winter. The pump thaws them by switching to the cooling mode indoors, removing heat from your home to warm the outdoor coil. 
  • Heat pumps perform best in homes that are highly energy efficient

Many of the objections to using an air-source heat pump in our climate can be overcome with proper design, installation and service. To learn more, contact P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We've been providing HVAC services for greater Cleveland homeowners since 1936. 

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Paul WadsworthPaul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for over 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. Paul is the Chairman of COSE's Energy Advisory Council. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.

The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.

Topics: seasonal energy efficiency ratio, air-source heat pump, heat pump

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