Your 2014 Buyer’s Guide For Heat Pumps: Decide If and Which One

Choosing a heating system is a dilemma many homeowners face every year. They may be building a new home and need to choose an efficient way to heat that home. They may live in an older home where the heating system is on its last legs. You can use this buyer’s guide for heat pumps to decide the best option for your home.

Heat Pump vs. Furnace

Many older homes in the Houston area have a furnace for heating and a separate system for air conditioning. When the old furnace is on its last legs, you might think that replacing it with a new efficient furnace is the best choice. However, you may want to consider a heat pump first.

The Greater Houston area has long hot summers and shorter moderate winters. Heat pumps work well in this climate. They are extremely efficient in the summer for keeping the home cool and humidity levels down inside. They are quite efficient during the cooler days that Houston sees during the winter. On the rare cold snap, the heat pump will not be quite as efficient, but it will keep the home warm.

What to Ask About Before Purchasing or Installing a Heat Pump

  • What is the load calculation for your home? The contractor should take careful measurements of your home and give you a number that indicates the heating and cooling “load.” That number tells you how large the heat pump needs to be. For our Coastal Texas climate, cooling efficiency is more important than heating efficiency, since your heat pump will spend most of its service life on the former.
  • How big of a system does the contractor recommend? After calculating the load, the contractor should give you an accurate estimate of the heat pump tonnage required.
  • What is the SEER and HSPF ratings for the heat pump? Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or the SEER rating, measures the heat pump’s cooling ability while the Heating Season Performance Factor (HSPF) measures its heating efficiency. Look for efficiency on both, though again, a higher SEER is more important in our warm-winter/long summer climate.
  • What options are available? Additional features available for heat pumps include two-speed compressors, variable-speed motors, back-up burners and noise-reducing platforms/screens.

For more information that goes beyond this buyer’s guide for heat pumps, contact us here at Davis Air Conditioning & Heating. We have served the Greater Houston area since 1971.

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