Heating and cooling a home are two of the biggest costs that plague a homeowner's budget. Installing the machinery used to keep a home comfortable year round is just the beginning. You also have to factor in operating costs. Paradoxically, the more efficient your heating and cooling equipment is, the more it costs to install, but the more you stand to save down the road. If you live in a temperate climate, however, you have an option available that will break this trend. You can install a heat pump to save money upfront and on operating costs.
The typical solution for heating and cooling a home is to install a separate AC unit and furnace. A new AC unit will cost $5,320 and a new furnace will cost between $2,000 and $8,000 for a total of between $7,320 and $13,320. An air-source heat pump, on the other hand, will cost between $1,500 and $7,000 and can be used to both heat and cool a home. Thus, you save money on installation costs by installing a heat pump.
A lot of factors combine to determine how much money you stand to save with one piece of equipment versus another, but a good place to start your comparison is with how efficient your equipment is. A heat pump and AC unit will cool a home in the same way, so you will have similar operating costs. Where you really stand to save money is when you use your heat pump to heat your home.
A furnace has to create its own heat, which is its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. On the positive side, a furnace will provide heat to your home no matter how cold it gets outside. On the other hand, because it has to burn a fuel, it will never be more than 100% efficient, creating one unit of heat for one unit of fuel. In fact, the most efficient furnaces top out at about 98% efficient.
By way of contrast, a heat pump does not have to create its own heat. Instead, it absorbs heat from the outside air and expels it in your home. This allows a heat pump to achieve efficiency levels of up to 275%, creating 2.75 units of heat for every unit of electricity it uses. Because a heat pump runs on electricity, you could even install solar panels or a wind turbine to power your heat pump, which would take your operating costs to zero.
The one drawback of a heat pump is that the colder it gets outside, the harder your unit has to work to extract heat from the outside air. Thus, heat pumps are best used in moderate climates. Still, if you have the option to use a heat pump, you can save a lot of money by doing so. Contact a contractor, like D & R Service Inc, for more help.