How to choose Floor Heating Heat PumpsA geothermal heat pump’s cooling efficiency is rated by EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) and its heating efficiency by COP (Coefficient of Performance). Based on type, the federal EER minimums are 17.1 to 21.1 and the COP minimums are 3.1 to 4.1.
Typically, the higher the rating, the higher the system’s cost. You can spend several thousand dollars more for a more efficient heat pump. But, depending on where you live, you could save $115 a year or more on your utility bill by replacing your older heating and cooling system with an Energy Star-rated product.
Size is also important. If a heat pump is undersized or oversized, it won’t heat or cool effectively and will increase your energy bills. And your home may not feel comfortable. A unit that’s too big will cost more upfront, and will cycle on and off too many times, shortening its life.
Work with a heating and cooling professional, who should use an Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Manual J calculation to determine the right size. The calculation takes into consideration your home’s foundation, wall thicknesses, insulation values, windows, air filtration and more.
Tax Credits and Rebates:
If you installed an Energy Star-certified geothermal heat pump by Dec. 31, 2016, you are eligible for a 30-percent federal tax credit on the purchase. Check the websites of the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Energy for more details.
Likewise, some states and utilities offer credits and rebates on geothermal systems, and smaller federal credits and utility rebates are available for other heat pumps, too. Visit the federally funded NC Clean Energy Technology Center's website for a state-by-state list of available incentives.
Don't buy a new heat pump until you make the rest of your home is as energy efficient as possible, because that will allow you to buy a smaller, less expensive system.
Boosting Your Heat Pump’s Efficiency:
A heat pump won’t work as well, or provide as much annual energy savings as it should, unless the rest of your home is efficient, too. So, before you buy a heat pump, consider:
• Adding insulation to your attic and walls.
• Adding weather stripping around doors and caulk around windows.
• Properly sealing the ductwork throughout your home.
• Properly insulating the ducts in crawlspaces and attics.
• Installing and setting programmable thermostats to automatically lower the
temperature at night in the cooler months and raise it in the warmer months, and adjust the temperature while you are away. Programmable thermostats can save you 10 percent annually on your energy bills.
Fans and compressors can be noisy, so select an air-source heat pump with a sound rating of 7.6 bels or lower. Also, locate the outdoor unit away from windows and consider positioning it on a noise-absorbing base. In addition, protect the outdoor unit from high winds, which can cause defrosting problems. Placing a shrub or a fence upwind of the coils will help.
Frost accumulation on the heat pump’s outdoor unit can impede energy efficiency and compromise indoor comfort. So, select a model with a demand-defrost control. This feature will minimize defrost cycles, making your system more energy and cost efficient.
Reverse Cycle Chiller:
A heat pump with a reverse cycle chiller allows you to pair it with a wide variety of heating and cooling distribution systems, and it can help make your home more comfortable. The technology can also lower your winter electric bills, and is especially economical in all-electric homes.