Heat Pumps vs Electric Heaters
Choosing the ideal heating system for your home is critical to your comfort and can even help you save on energy costs. Those living in temperate climates don't need as much heating as those in the northern regions. Heat pumps are popular in these areas, especially in warmer climates.
Read on to learn about the benefits of choosing a heat pump over a resistance heater.
What is a resistance heater?
Resistive heaters convert 100% of the incoming electrical energy into heat. Most heating systems use coal, natural gas, oil, or wood to generate heat, which converts only about 30 percent of the fuel's energy into electricity. Resistance heat can be provided by a centralized forced-draft electric furnace or heaters in each room. Room heaters may include electric baseboard heaters, electric wall heaters, electric radiant heat, or electric space heaters. There are several different types of resistance heaters:
1. Electric furnace
Electric furnaces are one of the more expensive types of operating a resistance heating system. Since heat is transported through a centralized piping system, more energy is required to operate. Additionally, ducted heating systems lose a lot of energy due to air leaks.
2. Electric baseboard heating
Electric baseboard heaters are zone heaters controlled by thermostats located in each room. Baseboard heaters are usually installed under windows, where the rising hot air counteracts the cold air coming from the cold window glass. Baseboard heaters vary widely in quality.
What is a heat pump?
Just like your refrigerator, a heat pump uses electricity to move heat from cool spaces to warm spaces, making cool spaces cooler and warm spaces warmer. During the heating season, the heat pump transfers heat from the cool outdoors to the warmer house, and during the cooling season, the heat pump transfers heat from the cool house to the warmer outdoors. Because heat pumps move heat rather than generate it, they can provide equivalent space conditioning at a quarter of the cost of traditional heating or cooling equipment.
Heat pumps extract heat from the outside air to heat your home. The energy efficiency of their heat pumps depends on the climate outside. In mild climates, heat pumps can convert electrical energy into heat very efficiently. In cooler climates, heat pump efficiency plummets because the heat pump has to work harder to provide the same level of energy output that it normally would in milder climates.
There are several different types of heat pump systems:
1. Air source heat pump
Air source heat pumps can provide efficient heating and cooling for your home. When installed properly, an air-source heat pump can provide a home with one and a half to three times more heat than it consumes.
2. Ductless Small Split Heat Pump
In a small split system, energy usage is greatly reduced and less energy is lost through piping. Small splits do not use ductwork. This is why they are often referred to as ductless systems. While there are other ductless systems, the mini-split system is easier and more convenient than comparable systems. Many other ductless systems use external heating sources, such as water heaters or space heaters that use kerosene or propane. A mini-split system gives you the benefits of a ductless system without the negative effects associated with external heat sources.
3. Geothermal heat pump
Geothermal heat pumps, sometimes called earth-coupled, ground-source, or water-source heat pumps, use the Earth's constant temperature as the exchange medium, rather than the outside air temperature.
Which is more efficient?
Heat pumps are the most energy efficient in most climates in the country. They can even reduce your energy consumption by up to 50% compared to resistance heaters. A high-efficiency heat pump can lower the humidity level in your home better than a traditional air conditioner. This means lower energy consumption and greater indoor comfort during the warmer months. Heat pumps are low maintenance and emission free. You can even get a tax credit for using the device.
The cost of installing and operating various heat pumps varies. For example, a geothermal heat pump costs more to install than an air source heat pump. This is because, with a ground source heat pump, you need to dig deep into the heat source and involve a more complex heat transfer system. The topography of your property will also affect the cost of your project.
Heat pump operation and maintenance costs vary by system type. Ground source heat pumps are less expensive to run because the ground and water temperatures are relatively constant, allowing the heat pump to work efficiently. This type of heat pump system is also not exposed to outdoor elements, helping to reduce wear and tear. At the same time, air supply systems are easier to service and service, but require more maintenance due to exposure to outdoor conditions.
What do you need to pay attention to when buying a heat pump?
1. Energy efficiency
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) determines the cooling efficiency of the air source and ductless split systems. For new homes in the Northeast, Midwest, Mountain States, and Pacific Northwest, the minimum SEER is 13 SEER, and for the rest of the country, the minimum SEER is 14. Heating efficiency, on the other hand, is measured by the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF).
If you live in a warm climate, you should find a heat pump with a higher SEER. We recommend purchasing a heat pump with over 15 SEER and 8.5 HSPF.
Furthermore, the cooling efficiency of a geothermal heat pump is rated by the energy efficiency ratio (EER), while its heating efficiency is rated by the coefficient of performance (COP). Depending on the system type, the federal EER minimum is 17.1 to 21.1 and the COP minimum is 3.1 to 4.1.
Another thing to consider when choosing a heat pump is size. Undersized or oversized equipment can affect your indoor comfort and increase your energy consumption. For example, if the device is too large for your home, it will cycle on and off multiple times, shortening its lifespan.
When considering all the options available for a home heating system, it's important to speak with a trusted professional. Leomon's heating and cooling experts have extensive experience in inspecting, repairing and installing heating and cooling systems. Please contact us. We will give you the most professional advice.