Heat pumps are good for your wallet—and the world.
In a climate like ours, near the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, heating your home will be your largest monthly expense by far.
Heat pumps or heat exchangers are ingeniously efficient. Heating and cooling in one system that results in a cost savings for the owners and less greenhouse gas emissions for the planet. If you’ve looked recently at a gas furnace or boiler you’ve probably learned that new products can be as efficient as 95%, which is great compared to old systems that started at less than 80% efficient and get even less so as they age. Heat pumps can be 500% efficient, delivering 5 times the heat of a conventional system.
A heat exchange system or heat pump uses the principal that heat always flows to cold. The system’s condenser transfers the heat that is outside to the inside of the home. No matter how cold it is outside there is heat to be found by the new low-ambient heat pumps that work efficiently at 10 degrees F, but function as low as minus 20 °F; These condensers can also turn the transfer around and cool a home in the summer.
The condenser is placed outside and is very quiet, and diminutive compared to old-school HVAC ‘central air’ units. They are connected to room-sized air movers that are very quiet and low-velocity, that circulate air at just the right temperature. This motion is the most efficient use of electricity and also it keeps the air fresh, and in climates where humidity is a problem, they diminish it.
Heat pump systems are all electric and with the easy-to-collect solar energy in Summit County, a few solar panels will make your heating bill very low.
Whether you’re building a new heating system or recuperating an old one, there are two ways to use this efficient new technology. One uses existing ducting in the home with a heat exchanger. The other is to use a ductless mini-split.
The mini split is a single unit placed in the space to be heated. The power of the unit is scaled to match the size and several styles are available to blend into the room’s decor. This are a great way to go with a new addition. One condenser unit can power one mini-split or up to five, depending on the unit. Manufacturers give detailed advice to HVAC installers and make these calculations easy. With a ductless system, homes don’t need dedicated crawls spaces with ducts running everywhere, and there are not floor or wall vents (in or outflow of air).
The heat exchangers that use ducts are an efficient way to change over an existing heating system. Although the initial cost may be more than just replacing a furnace, the energy efficiency will balance out that expense soon. The quiet and comfort are a bonus.