Residential Home Heat Pump Installation Services

A Look at Residential Heat Pump Installation

Looking for heating and cooling options for your home? What about a way to lower your energy bills? Become more energy efficient? You might consider getting a residential heat pump installation company to install a heat pump in your home. The benefits of year-round climate control in one system can be considerable. But you should make sure it’s what you really need.

Used in conjunction with another source of heating, a heat pump can be a cost-effective and reliable method of heating and cooling your home. But if you don’t really need or want cooling in the summer – such as with some well shaded homes in coastal regions of the Lower Mainland – a heat pump may not be economical. That’s because using a heat pump makes most economic sense when used year round.

That said, if you plan on cooling your home in the summer – a huge comfort factor for many homes in the summer, particularly in the Fraser Valley of B.C. – a heat pump may be the way to go. You get cost effective heating in the winter and cool, refreshing air in the summer. It can definitely meet the needs of many homes.

So How Does a Heat Pump Work?

In simplest terms, a heat pump is a device that takes heat from one location and transfers it to another. It operates on the same principles as a refrigeration cycle and can provide either heating or cooling depending on which direction the cycle is set at.

An example of how a heat pump operates can be seen in the common refrigerator where heat is absorbed by an evaporator coil inside the fridge and then transferred outside the refrigerator box. Air conditioners also work the same way by using a heat pump: heat is transferred from the inside of a house to outside the building.

The way a heat pump works internally is that a refrigerant, which is a chemical substance that stays contained within the system much like in a fridge, is circulated through a cycle of evaporation and condensation. Refrigerant fluid has the ability to be efficiently evaporated and condensed. Evaporation of the refrigerant causes any heat in the surroundings to be absorbed by it. Condensation of the refrigerant then releases that heat back out into the environment.

How is the refrigerant circulated through this cycle of evaporation and condensation? Well, the refrigerant is driven (pumped) by what is called a compressor between two coils. One coil evaporates the refrigerant at low pressure and heat is absorbed from the surroundings. On its way to the second coil, the refrigerant is then compressed, causing it to condense from the higher pressure. This causes heat to be released. In other words, the heat that was first absorbed from one area is now released into another area. And there you have the heat pump at work.

Because the heat pump cycle is reversible, installation of a residential heat pump can both heat and cool a home. A reversing valve changes which coil operates as the condenser and which operates as the evaporator. This is how year-round climate control is delivered by a heat pump.

What About Winter? Where Does a Heat Pump Get Heat From?

It might seem counter-intuitive that a heat pump can supply heat to a home in cold weather. But the air outside, and even more so the ground such as that utilized by a ground-source heat pump, always contain heat energy even at lower temperatures. The heat pump extracts that heat from the air or ground by its evaporation cycle – heat is moved from the source outside to the heat sink created by the action of the heat pump on the refrigerant. Heat is then released into the home by the condensation cycle.

That said, once temperatures drop to a low enough level, a heat pump is no longer economically viable. The efficiency performance of a heat pump drops with a drop in temperature. That’s because heat energy becomes more difficult to extract from colder air.

Depending on the location of the home where the residential heat pump is to be installed, along with the performance level of the heat pump, a residential heat pump installation company may advise against the installation of a heat pump. But for the West Coast, characterized by its mild weather, an air-source heat pump is a great candidate. Temperate, moderate weather translates into higher heat pump performance.

The interior of British Columbia is also a viable region for the installation of a residential heat pump, albeit a heat pump in these regions would require a higher rated performance to counteract the colder temperatures found in these areas in the winter. Colder regions in B.C. can also be a viable area for the installation of a residential heat pump. But any place more extreme in Canada would not make economic sense for a company to install a residential heat pump. The cost of extracting heat from too cold of an environment cancels out the economic viability of the heat pump in those kinds of climates.

Savings from a Residential Heat Pump – How Much Can I Expect?

Some estimates for residential heat pump installations peg savings on heating costs at close to 50 percent, provided you convert from an electric furnace to an all-electric air-source heat pump. Actual savings depend on a variety of factors – local climate, performance and size of the heat pump installed, how efficient your current heating system is, cost of fuel and electricity and other factors.

Residential water heating can also be provided by heat pumps in more advanced designs. Such an integrated system can provide even higher efficiency since both air and water temperature can be controlled by the heat pump. Estimates for reduction of water heating bills range between 25 to 50 percent in savings.

To really get an understanding of how much savings you can expect from the installation of a heat pump, you would need to look carefully at your current heating and cooling costs, keeping in mind current fuel/electricity costs, and also factor in whether a supplemental system of heating would be used and how much that would cost. Cost savings are definitely a big reason why people choose to install a residential heat pump, but the actual figures can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the home.

Other Factors to Consider When Hiring a Residential Heat Pump Installation Company

Probably one of the biggest advantages of hiring a residential heat pump installation company to install a heat pump in your home is that unlike a standard HVAC unit, you won’t need two separate units – one to heat and one to cool your home. Also, since heat pumps transfer heat rather than burn fuel to create it, they are more efficient. This translates into saved energy costs, and also lessens the burden on the environment.

Also, you should be considering how much space the equipment requires, how many changes you will need to make your existing duct system, and how much servicing such a system will need. Being an informed customer is always important. Ask questions, research, and think carefully about your own individual needs.

A residential heat pump installation company such as SD ATLAS HVAC can help you by looking at your particular home and unique needs to help you come to the right decision of what is best for your home. Call us today. We’d love to help. Contact us today.