A heat pump gives you the best of both worlds. It’s a system that can be reversed to either heat or cool a controlled space. Installation for this type of system typically consists of two parts: an indoor unit called an air handler, and an outdoor unit that absorbs and releases heat as it travels between the indoor and outdoor units.
Heat pumps take the heat from the air, either from inside your house or by extracting heat from the air outside to warm your home. Believe it or not, there’s heat in the air even if it seems like it’s too cold. That way, you’re getting the desired effect—heating or cooling of the air inside your home—without having to utilize both a furnace and an air conditioner.
You also save quite a bit of energy with a heat pump—a heat pump runs off of electricity and not off of gas or oil, meaning it just moves air and doesn’t generate it. This increases your energy efficiency and decreases your monthly bills.
The one sticking point is that a heat pump works best in a climate with moderate temperature fluctuations because very cold air doesn’t allow it to generate enough heat to ensure that you’re comfortable—however, this investment can pay for itself on heating and cooling costs alone.
Types of Heat Pumps
There are a lot of different types of heat pumps that you can choose from—here’s more information to help you decide which system is best for you.
Air-source heat pumps
An air-source heat pump can deliver one-and-a-half to three times more heat energy to a home than the electrical energy it consumes. Here are some of the details you need to know about air-source heat pumps:
Do You Want A Ductless, Ducted, or Short-Run Ducted System?
- There are three different ways to connect air-source heat pumps to your home. Ductless systems only need a 3-inch hole to connect to the external part of the system, so there’s very little construction involved. Ductless systems are easy to install, and usually utilized in additions to a house that aren’t connected to the existing system.
- Ducted systems are just what they seem to be—they use ductwork from the ventilation system in the home. A short-run ducted system is large ductwork that only runs through a small section of the house, and complemented by other ductless units for rest of the house.
Which System works best- Split vs. Packaged?
- Virtually every heat pump is a split-system, with parts of the system outside of the home, and other parts inside the home. Supply and return ducts usually connect to an indoor central fan. You do have the option of purchasing a packaged system—which has both coils and the central fan outdoors—in which warm or cool air is delivered from ductwork that passes through your wall or roof.
- If you use a split system, you can utilize it for a single zone (one room) or multi-zone for multiple rooms where you want to have a system that allows you to control individual zones.
Absorption heat pumps
Absorption heat pumps are very similar to air-source heat pumps—the main difference between them is that this system isn’t driven by electricity, but is rather driven by a heat source like solar-heated water, natural gas, propane, or other sources that heat the water. The most common heat source is natural gas—also known as a gas-fired heat pump—and gas-fired coolers are also available that work on the same principle (but can’t be used as a heat source).
Virtually all residential absorption heat pumps use an ammonia-water (which is used as the coolant) absorption cycle to provide heating and cooling. The ammonia-water is condensed into a coil to release its heat, and its pressure is reduced and the water is evaporated to absorb heat. If the system absorbs heat from inside your home, it cools it; if it releases heat into your home, it heats it.
Ductless mini-split heat pumps
A ductless, mini-split-system heat pump is ideal for several different applications, including
- When you’re retrofitting add-ons to houses with heating systems that don’t have ducts, which could include hot water heat, radiant panels, or space heaters.
- For room additions where extending or installing additional ductwork is not feasible or cost effective
- Newer, more energy-efficient homes that just need a smaller heating and cooling system.
Like standard air-source heat pumps, mini splits have two main components—an outdoor piece that includes a compressor and condenser, and an air-handling unit that’s located indoors. A conduit is used to link the outdoor and indoor units.
Advantages of Mini-Split Heat Pumps
They’re compact, and can condition multiple rooms easily and efficiently
- Since mini-split heat pumps are compact, they’re tremendously easy to use if you want to create zones or if you need to heat or cool individual rooms. You have the option to connect up to four indoor handling units for different zones or rooms to one outdoor unit on most models. Each zone has its own thermostat, allowing you to condition the spaces that you want to.
They’re easy to install
- Since they only require a 3-inch hole to connect the outdoor and indoor units, ductless mini-split systems require far less construction than other systems. You also have the flexibility to locate the outdoor unit up to 50 feet from the indoor evaporator, allowing you to centralize the outdoor unit to accommodate multiple rooms, or place the compressor in an area that minimizes noise pollution and aesthetics.
There’s no energy loss from ductwork
- This makes sense—mini split heat pumps have no ducts, so there is no energy lost by transferring heat or cool air through ductwork. Ducts can factor into 30% of energy consumption (or more).
The Indoor Systems are very flexible
- Compared to other systems, mini split heat pumps offer more interior design flexibility. You have the option to mount the indoor air handler in several different places, including:
- Mounted flush into a drop ceiling
- Hung on a wall
- Most indoor units are approximately seven inches deep and look pretty good! You can manage the air flow easily no matter where it’s mounted with the included remote.
Average Costs of Heat Pump Installation
The actual cost of a heat pump depends on the size of your home, the efficiency of the system, the complexity of the installation, and other factors.
- An air source heat pump costs $2,500 to $7,500 installed in a home with existing ductwork. If ductwork needs to be added, the cost will be significantly higher.
- A ductless mini-split air source heat pump costs $750 to $1,500 or more per room, and $5,000 to $7,500 or more for an entire home.
- Note that the cost of heat pumps are usually offset with the energy savings benefits every month.
Get Free Estimates on Heat Pump Installation Today!
Pro HVAC Service can help connect you with HVAC contractors in your area that specialize in heat pump installation. A heat pump combines your heating and cooling, reducing the amount of money you spend on your energy bill every month and increasing your energy efficiency.
To get your free estimate, fill out the form to the right, or give us a call at (844) 769-5995. Within minutes, we’ll contact you with a list of local HVAC Contractors that can help you.