Get a Jump on Air Source Heat Pumps!
By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing & High Performance Building EcoFellow
In New England, heating our homes can become a lifestyle, whether it be chopping wood to stoke the fire, or incessantly monitoring the thermostat – we care about how much energy we use and know we’ve done well when we can see the change on our utility bills. That’s why Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) could be a great option for you! ASHPs are not necessarily new, they’ve been certified with EnergyStar since 1995, but as technological advancements continue to improve their efficiency, they have become the cutting edge of heating AND cooling. That’s right – they can do both!
What are Air Source Heat Pumps?
Air Source Heat Pumps are highly efficient heating and cooling devices that run on electricity. They work by taking heat from the outside air and moving it into the home in times of cold weather, but with a flip of a switch they can remove heat from your home and channel it outside. This is different than most heating systems, which have to generate heat before it’s able to be used, as ASHPs only move heat.
What are the benefits to Air Source Heat Pumps?
- Lower utility costs
- Reduce the energy used to heat and cool your home
- Reduce your home’s carbon footprint by producing less greenhouse gases
- Opportunity to ensure your heating is powered by renewable energy by joining New England GreenStart or New England Wind
- One system for both heating and cooling
- Single and discrete installation – no more hefty air conditioners in your windows
Is an Air Source Heat Pump right for me?
In New England, ASHPs are most often used to displace forms of heating already in place in the home, like oil, propane, or electric resistance, but homes heated with natural gas or wood may not see as much cost savings even with a more efficient heat pump due to low fuel costs. It is becoming increasingly common to see ASHPs the sole source of heating and cooling in a home as technology advances. According to the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, replacing electric baseboard heating with an ASHP reduces heating costs by approximately 3000kWh every year, which is roughly $459. The same organization estimated a yearly savings of $948 when switching from oil!
What should I look for in an ASHP?
You should consider two different efficiency ratings for ASHPs, the SEER and HSPF ratings. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it is a measure for the units ability to cool a space efficiently. The HSPF, or Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, is a measure of heating efficiency. Air Source Heat Pumps haven’t always been as efficient as they are today, but thanks to recent technological advances ASHPs can be used well below 0° F when using a cold climate-type ASHP. Living in a cooler place like the Northeast, it is more important that your ASHP have a higher HSPF rating in order to fight those chilly winters!
For more information on Air Source Heat Pumps, visit the Department of Energy’s website.