Getting the Most From Your High-Efficiency Heat Pump
Investing in a high-efficiency heat pump is a substantial purchase for most homeowners, and it’s only natural to expect the best performance from it. The energy efficiency of your home, your ductwork and the placement of the outdoor condenser will all help your heat pump reach its SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio).
When the HVAC contractor sizes the high-efficiency heat pump for your home, he or she will use Manual J, load calculation software that takes into account the energy efficiency of your home, along with many other factors. Homes with little air infiltration and adequate attic insulation have lower conditioning loads, which means they can get by with a smaller heat pump.
Having a professional energy audit will show you where the weaknesses exist in your insulation and home’s envelope or you can conduct your own evaluation. When you seal the air leaks and add more insulation, your home may not need as large a heat pump, which will save money on its purchase. Your cooling bills will also be lower, since smaller systems use less electricity, as does an energy-efficient home.
The ductwork in your home should be carefully evaluated for configuration, air leaks and size. The ducts are the heat pump’s way of delivering the conditioned air, and if they’re poorly designed, uninsulated or leaky, you won’t realize the full potential of the high-efficiency heat pump.
If the ducts run through uninsulated areas, they should be wrapped with R-8 insulation. The contractor should seal leaks with mastic or metal tape and never use ordinary duct tape, which has poor long-term adhesive qualities.
The outdoor condenser should not sit under an overhang or under a roof eve with no rain gutter. Rain or ice entering the top of the unit may cause damage to the fan blade and motor. Keeping it away from plants that have a lot of leaf and twig fall also helps, as does using a lawnmower bag when mowing around the condenser.
To learn more about getting the most from a high-efficiency heat pump, please contact us at Comfort Systems. We’ve provided exceptional HVAC services for the Wichita area since 1996.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about high-efficiency heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.