Many homeowners in the Ft. Wayne, IN area are turning to air source heat pumps for energy efficient heating throughout the winter months. Because these HVAC systems do not generate heat by burning fuel as furnaces do, some question if it’s viable to use heat pumps in cold climates. “Doc” Dancer Heating & Air explains why heat pumps are an energy efficient heating choice anywhere!
Do Heat Pumps in Cold Climates Provide Sufficient Heating?
Traditional heating units such as natural gas or oil furnaces and boilers burn fuel to generate heat, which is then used to warm the home’s air. Air source heat pumps operate differently – they don’t burn fuel and they don’t generate heat. Instead, an air source heat pump pulls heat energy from the outdoor air and transfers this energy indoors, where it is absorbed by the indoor air supply to raise the air temperature.
The whole idea of transferring heat leads some people to question heat pumps in cold climates. When it’s cold outside, there sure doesn’t feel like any heat in the air! So how can heat pumps in cold climates transfer heat and heat a home when it’s so cold?
Despite how cold it feels outside, there is still heat energy to be found in the air. No matter the temperature, heat pumps in cold climates are able to extract this energy and move it indoors to raise indoor air temperatures, keeping families warm.
Energy Efficiency of Heat Pumps in Cold Climates
In general, heat pumps are a much more energy efficient option than traditional furnaces and boilers. Heat pump technology creates the ability to transfer about three times as much heat energy as the energy they consume to run. For every unit of electricity used to power the heat pump, the heat pump can move three units of heating. These heating units can operate at 300% energy efficiency under ideal conditions.
The most energy efficient natural gas and oil furnaces are only about 98% energy efficient. Some energy is wasted through the combustion process. If you have a furnace that has an efficiency rating of 98% AFUE, 98% of the fuel consumed will be used for heat generation while 2% is wasted. Electric furnaces have a 100% AFUE rating as no electricity is wasted through their operation, yet this heating method isn’t as energy efficient as heat pump heating.
Heat pumps in cold climates don’t always offer such stellar heating energy efficiency. When the temperature outdoors is above freezing, heat pumps are the most efficient heating system choice compared to furnaces and boilers. When temperatures decline to freezing or below, it becomes more difficult for the heat pump to pull heat from the cold air which forces the system to consume more energy through its operation.
Advancements in heat pump technology have improved the heat pump’s performance in cold weather. Heat pump manufacturers have recently developed cold climate heat pumps that are designed to withstand colder climates than they were able to in the past. Today, modern heat pumps can work in sub zero temperatures. Some can perform in temperatures as cold as -10 degrees.
In Fort Wayne, IN, it gets cold, but very infrequently do the temperatures drop to sub zero levels. A cold climate heat pump might be overkill. It’s never a bad idea to have a supplemental heat source installed in your home as well. Many homes have both a heat pump and a furnace. When temperatures get too cold for the heat pump to run efficiently, the gas furnace will kick on. This ensures that you’re never left out in the cold.
Heat Pumps in Ft. Wayne, IN
Heat pumps in cold climates provide ample heat and do so efficiently most of the year! To take advantage of energy efficient heating in your Indiana home, call “Doc” Dancer Heating & Air today to request an estimate for heat pump installation.