Heat pumps deliver greater energy efficiency than any boiler or furnace, delivering up to 400 percent heat energy per electricity consumed. However, heat-pump efficiency stops the moment the balance point is reached and emergency electric heating begins. How quickly this happens during cold weather is greatly affected by your home’s energy efficiency.
Heating load and capacity
Your air-source heat pump’s balance point is the outside temperature at which your home’s heating needs (load) exceed the heat pump’s heating capacity. Heat pumps extract heat from outside air, and release the heat inside your home, which is why outside temperatures are very important, as opposed to boilers and furnaces that simply burn more fuel to meet increased heating demands.
Your heat pump’s balance point generally falls within an outside temperatures of 30 to 37 degrees, depending on your home’s energy efficiency. The balance-point setting, in regards to heating bills, becomes significant when backup electric-resistance heating takes over, and the energy-efficient heat pump shuts down, as indicated by “emergency heat” on the thermostat, and your heating bills skyrocket. (If you have a dual-fuel system, where your gas furnace supplies the emergency heating, you won’t take nearly the hit in economy with backup heating, and with natural gas prices as low as they are currently, you might actually save money.)
Upgrading your home’s energy efficiency
Home-efficiency upgrades entail adding insulation, sealing air leaks, inspecting duct design and sealing off an attached garage, which also improves indoor air quality. Other energy-efficiency measures are important, such as improving window coverings, using ceiling fans correctly, installing gaskets behind electrical outlets and more.
An energy audit of your home by an HVAC professional will reveal energy-efficiency deficiencies inside your home, such as a leaky attic hatch, uninsulated ducts in unheated spaces and more. Your HVAC pro will use the following specialized equipment and tests:
- A calibrated blower door test pinpoints air leaks around windows, doors, ductwork and more.
- A thermographic scan utilizes infrared video to reveal areas in your home where insulation is lacking.
- The results of a heat gain/loss calculation may reveal your home would benefit from a zoning system, or highlight methods to improve airflow and air pressure in the living spaces.
Remember, energy-efficiency upgrades reduce cooling costs, too. To speak to a qualified HVAC professional about upgrading your home’s energy efficiency, contact Overland Park Heating & Cooling today. We’ve proudly served Greater Kansas City and Kansas homeowners for 30 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Overland Park, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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