What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Heat Pump?

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Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps

Heat pumps represent systems that ‘pump’ or move heat from one place to another by using a compressor and a circulating structure of liquid or gas refrigerant, through which heat is extracted from outside sources and pumped indoors.

Pumping the heat uses less electricity as compared to when electricity is solely used as a means to convert it. During the summers, the cycle can be reversed and the unit acts like an air conditioner.

6 Heat Pump Advantages and Disadvantages

Prior to your purchasing decision of a heat pump system, it is important to inform yourself about heat pumps upsides and downsides. There are many  heat pump advantages, which make them a great investment for homeowner.

Advantages

1. Lower Running Costs

Heat pumps are cheaper to run than systems based on combustion. The more energy efficient the systems are, the greater long term savings on energy. Despite the fact that the prices of ground source heat pumps can go quite high, this friendly environmentally investment can help you save up to $1800 per year.

2. Less Maintenance

Heat pumps require less maintenance than the combustion heating systems. Regularly, usually once a year, some mechanicals of the system have to be checked.

3. Safety

Heat pumps are safer than combustion-based heating systems.

4. Carbon Emissions

Heat pump system reduces your carbon emissions and it has an efficient conversion rate of energy to heat. For example, water source heat pumps reach reasonably high efficiencies, close to 600 per cent.

5. Provide Cooling

During the warm periods, heat pumps are able to reverse the process, and thus act like an ac unit. Air to air heat pumps can conveniently be switched to cooling mode during the summers.

6. Long Life-Span

The life-span of heat pumps is relatively long, up to 50 years, however the average life-span is somewhere between 14 to 15 years. Despite these numbers, they are exceptionally reliable and steady source of heat.

Disadvantages

1. High Upfront Cost

Heat pumps have a large upfront cost, but on the other hand, their operating costs translate to long-term savings on energy bills and lead to a path of reduced carbon emissions.

2. Difficult to Install

Heat pumps are fairly difficult to install considering that research must be made in order to understand the movement of heat, local geology, specifically for ground source heat pumps and the heating and cooling requirements for your household.

3. Questionable Sustainability

Some of the used fluids for heat transfer are of questionable sustainability and thus raise environmental concerns, therefore it is recommended to use biodegradable fluids.

4. Significant Work

The installation process requires significant work and disruption to your house and garden. An example would be that access has to be made through the building exterior.

5. Cold Weather

Few heat pumps experience issues in cold areas, which can ultimately damage the system, thus full heat pumps efficiency in the cold weather cannot be reached. Although, there are possibilities of an upgraded heat pump system that surmounts this problem. Always check the Seasonal Performance Factor (SPF) of your heat pump.

6. Carbon Neutral

Heat pumps heavily rely on electricity to operate, implying that they will never be entirely carbon neutral. However, since heat pumps are electric, they represent a perfect fit for solar applications. This is an effective carbon free model. Coupled together with solar panels, heat pumps could lead to a zero net energy.


Further Reading

How Often Should You Have Your Furnace Serviced?

Are Smart Thermostats Worth It?

What is a Boiler and How Does it Work?

How do I Convert My House to Natural Gas?