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Before You Commit to a New Heat Pump, Make Sure It’s Sized Correctly

  • July 2013
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If you’re looking for a replacement for your air conditioner, you might want to consider going with a heat pump. In summer they operate the same as an air conditioner, but in the winter they reverse their operation to provide extra-efficient heating. This dual operation also enables them to act as a dehumidifier that removes moisture from your home’s air without changing its temperature.

Air conditioners and heat pumps cool and dehumidify your home by removing heat from its air using a refrigerant system similar to those used in refrigerators. It starts at the evaporator coil where heat transfers from the air passing over the coil to the cold refrigerant that’s inside it. The humidity removal also occurs at this point and is simply due to the large amount of water that condenses on the coil. After this, the refrigerant continues on to be compressed to raise its temperature above that of the exterior air. This allows it to reject the heat it absorbed in your home into the exterior air when it is circulated through the condenser coils in the outdoor unit. Then the refrigerant is allowed to expand and the cycle begins again.

In the summer, heat pumps have efficiency similar to air conditioners, but in the winter, when they are operating in reverse to pump heat into your home, they far outperform furnaces efficiency-wise. This is because as long as the temperatures aren’t too cold, it takes much less energy to move existent heat into the home from exterior than it does to create it.

Heat pumps achieve dehumidification without temperature change by alternating between heating and cooling mode. This is very inefficient. You’ll want to limit how much it is used like this by getting the most dehumidification you can during cooling mode. To do this, you need to avoid purchasing an over-sized heat pump. They don’t have to run as long to cool your home, so less condensation occurs.

If you want help figuring out what size heat pump your home needs in Griffith, Munster, Highland, St John, Scheriville or Gary, contact Meyer’s Heating & Cooling.