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Choosing a Heat Pump: Advanced Features to Look for

Posted on: July 17, 2012

When you’re in the market for a new heating and cooling system for your home, consider heat pumps. These systems are among the most energy-efficient ways to condition your home year round, especially if you consider the advanced features that some pumps provide. HVAC systems are likely to be the biggest investment you make in a home appliance. When you choose a heat pump with features that lower your energy costs, you can look forward to enhanced comfort for years to come.

A heat pump has to meet a MINIMUM energy guideline of 13 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) for cooling and 7.7 HSPF (heating season performance factor) for heating. Upgrades that raise the SEER and HSPF include one or more of these components:

  • Variable-speed motors. Also known as electronically commutated motors (ECMs), these use far less electricity than the standard permanent split capacitor (PSC) motor. An ECM runs more quietly and slowly, which helps the pump remove more humidity — an important benefit in our climate. Both the air handler and the outdoor condenser can have an ECM for higher efficiency.
  • Dual-speed compressor. These run more slowly when the temperatures are moderate, but you still want some cooling. The compressor runs at top speed only during hot weather. Not only does this save electricity, it also lowers the wear and tear on the compressor.
  • Desuperheaters. When heat pumps have this upgrade, the SEER goes up. This option uses the waste heat in your home to heat water more efficiently than your water heater does.
  • Scroll compressor. This technology creates warmer air for your home in the winter by as much as 10 degrees. This also raises the HSPF of a heat pump.
  • Dual-fuel systems. These combine the efficiency of heat pumps for home heating, but when the weather drops into the 30s or lower, a fuel-burning furnace kicks in to warm your home.

If you’d like to learn more about how a heat pump can benefit you and lower your energy bills, contact Acosta Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided HVAC services in the Carolinas for more than 40 years.