Buying a new heat pump can be a daunting task. It’s a big financial decision that will impact your energy use and utility bills for years to come. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for your next heat pump.
Match the Heat Pump to your Climate
If you experience extreme heat in the summer, then you’ll want to consider a heat pump with a high SEER rating, perhaps more than 17 SEER. Moderate climates that have warm but not extreme summers, could stand to have a 15-17 SEER model. There are some places with mild summers and mild winters – like San Diego or Northern California. People living in those climates could easily go with a 13 to 15 SEER unit. If temperatures are often below 32 degrees in the winter, consider a dual fuel heat pump which alternates heating with a gas furnace. The heat pump runs when temperatures are above freezing and the furnace takes over when they go below freezing. They have the efficiency a heat pump and the functionality of a gas furnace.
Consider Brand and Model of the Heat Pump
Consider a top brand or series if you are planning to stay in your home long-term. This would include brands like Trane, Lennox, Carrier, Heil, Bryant, Maytag, or American Standard. The next-best brands are Rheem, Ruud, Armstrong, Ducane, Goodman, Amana, York, and Luxaire. Value brands are Payne, Coleman, Aire-Flo, and a few others. The top series in each brand typically features the highest-efficiency models, but the other series can have some Energy Star products, too. Check out the manufacturers website to compare products. If you are not in your permanent home, consider purchasing a lower-priced, less efficient heat pump. A mid-range unit would be a good choice.
Decide How Important Precise Climate Control is
There are models with single-stage, 2-stage, and modulating compressors. Single-stage run at full capacity all the time and can produce temperature swings and hot/cold zones in a home. Two-stage models offer gentler, more balanced heating and cooling; modulating models are as good as it gets. Modulating systems afford users extremely balanced temperatures and lower humidity in summer, especially when you the pump is matched with a variable-speed air handler. Of course, single-stage models are the most affordable and modulating heat pumps are very expensive.
Eco-Friendly Heat Pumps
All heat pumps now use eco-friendly R-410A refrigerant. If the environment is a concern, then choose the most efficient model you can afford. The most efficient models offer cooling of 20 plus SEER and 10 plus HSPF. The most efficient models are typically made by the top manufacturers.
Get Multiple Estimates from Heat Pump Dealers
Check with at least three contractors before you make your decision. Comparing prices will help you make the best possible decision for your home and potentially make the contractors compete for your business! Make sure that a qualified contractor installs your heat pump. If it is not installed correctly, it will not run at peak efficiency and may be prone to breakdowns. Choose a company with a good track record and reputation in your area.
Keep your Heat Pump Maintained
Clean and service your split system every 1 to 3 years, depending on how heavily they are used. This will ensure that your unit runs at its most repair bills during the life of the heat pump. Small repairs can be caught and taken care of before they lead to expensive ones.