Do You Need a Heating Pump?

By: rsbombard
Although we think of air conditioners mainly as cooling devices, it has opportunities beyond that. In fact, the name of the air conditioner suggests that it can regulate the temperature of a space, irrespective of what the climactic conditions are outside. So ideally an air conditioner should keep rooms warm and cozy during winters.

Many air conditioners do provide that facility too. These units come with a heat pump which helps air conditioners to keep a room warm when the need be. What the heat pump actually does is it reverses the refrigerating cycle. So even at temperatures of -15 degree Fahrenheit, an air conditioner can keep the room warm.

Now the question is if it is worthwhile investing on a heating pump. The answer would depend on a few factors. If you are staying in an area where you have ready access to natural gas, it might be wise to stick to the conventional cooling and heating devices. Since natural gas is a highly energy efficient and cost effective source of energy, investing separately on electricity just for the heat pump wouldn't make much sense.

Things, however, are much different if you are staying at a place where you use fuel-oil or electric resistance for heating. In such places investing in a heat pump can mean you making substantial savings. Of course electrical-resistance heating would be much cheaper to install than a heat pump. But a heat pump can produce at least 1.5 to 2.5 times more heat using the same energy. That would make a heat pump significantly more efficient than a conventional electric-resistance heater.

There is however a problem with heat pumps in that when the outside temperature falls down significantly, the efficiency of it also drops. So when the outdoor temperature is below the 'balance point' which lies between 30 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the efficiency of the heat pump nosedives. And you might need additional sources for heating. This definitely doesn't work out to be cost effective.

So before deciding to invest in a heat pump, it is better if you do a cost-benefit analysis. So what are the factors you should consider? Of course you need to consider the cost and efficiency of the device. But you also need to factor in the kind of fuel you get in your region and the price of it, and the heating and cooling needs for your home. It is only after you have considered all these that you will be able to choose wisely.
Home Improvement
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