Unlike a standard furnace, air to air heat pump performance during winter is directly related to the temperature of the outdoor air. Down to nearly freezing, there’s usually sufficient latent heat energy outside for the heat pump to keep your home comfortably warm all by itself. Below that point, however, the heat pump must activate supplemental heating in the form of electric resistance coils or a backup gas furnace. This point is known as the balance point. Since neither of these supplemental alternatives is as energy-efficient as the heat pump, keeping the balance point low to delay activation of supplemental heat conserves energy and reduces heating costs.
Homeowners can’t change outdoor temperatures to drive the balance point lower. However, you can improve heat pump performance by making sure your home is more efficient. A good way to move toward that goal is to schedule a home performance assessment.
This service is a two- to four-hour procedure that results in a comprehensive evaluation of the energy efficiency of your home. Using specialized technology to detect air leakage and heat conduction, the technician can pinpoint the areas of your home where you're losing heat in winter or allowing heat infiltration during summer.
Some of the suggested improvements a home performance assessment may reveal include:
- Air sealing - Cracks and gaps in your home’s energy envelope allow heated air to escape in winter and hot outdoor air to infiltrate in summer.
- Insulation upgrades - Attic insulation can be brought up to current Department of Energy standards by the addition of fiberglass batts or blown-in loose-fill insulation.
- Duct sealing - If your home is more than 10 years old, your ductwork could be leaking up to one-third of the heated or cooled air you’re paying big bucks for on every utility bill.
- Stale air quality - The more efficient your home is, the more concentrated indoor air pollutants like airborne allergens and microorganisms may be. In some cases, you may need to add controlled ventilation to keep the air feeling fresh.
There are added benefits from a Home Performance Audit that address the comfort, safety and health of your home. In many cases, these issues are far more impacting than the initial energy savings results.
P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling serves all Cleveland area homeowners with all-year heating and cooling expertise. Contact us and schedule a home performance assessment today to get a handle on your home’s energy efficiency and improve heat pump performance.
Paul 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 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. 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.