Choosing the Right Heating and Cooling System
No one likes to waste money and energy. Because more than half of the average budget is spent on energy costs, people are very concerned with their heating and cooling systems. Not only do they provide physical comfort, but they also use up a huge portion of the budget. Heat pumps may be able to help you with some of that. They can even be used to cool homes in certain conditions. There are pros and cons to using both a heat pump for cooling and an air conditioner, and the debate over which system to use continues on.
Heat pumps are extremely energy-efficient because they work like the fridge does. Heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space. This will make the warm space warmer and the cool space cooler. So, if you are attempting to heat your home in winter, the heat pump draws the warmth out of the cold air and pushes it into your home. It then reverses that action when you are trying to keep the house cool in the summer. Because the heat pump is simply moving the heat, and not generating it, it takes less energy than the traditional furnace or air conditioner. In fact, it takes about one-fourth the energy to heat or cool.
Heat pumps and air conditioners are not ideal for everyone. There are no absolutes. However, to make the best choice, there are several things you need to consider. Your climate zone is most important to understand. Then, you need to understand energy rates in your area. Third, you should know where that energy is coming from. Fourth, consider your building’s envelope. Finally, you should realize that the new heating and cooling systems are vastly improved from ones of the past.
Heat pumps work best in moderate climates. You need to live in an area where the temperature rarely falls below freezing. Also, you don’t want to regularly be above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat pump can’t be effective in those kind of temperature extremes. A traditional furnace or air conditioner would work better.
Heat pumps do use electricity. It is important to see if your electricity costs, though you are using less energy, would be higher than those of a gas furnace, for heating. Also, it is important to note that most heat pumps do come with a backup heat source, which also uses electricity.
Both gas and electric energy have issues. Gas, of course, has sustainability issues and the debate over fracking haunts the industry. Electric energy, which can be very clean, is sometimes created by burning coal. So, if your carbon footprint and ecological impact are important to you, find out where your energy is coming from.
Knowing how well your home is insulated and sealed will help you make a better choice. Additionally, by creating a very tight envelope will help you keep your heating and cooling costs down. However, if that is not possible or practical, find which option will be most helpful for your needs.
New systems are amazingly efficient. Most have a increase in their efficiency of over 30 percent in the last decade. Shop around and find the system with the highest efficiency that will fit in your budget. Remember, you may be able to afford to pay a little more for a system that will allow you to spend less every month on energy.