Heat Pumps Are Ready To Replace Air Conditioners

by Boris Sherman - Date: 2007-07-02 - Word Count: 509 Share This!

A Heat Pump is essentially the same as an air conditioner, but with one extra feature added. On cold days, a heat pump reverses its operations and heats the house instead of cooling it. What makes heat pumps stand out among other heaters is their heat gain. Today's heat pumps at 0 Degrees Celsius outside return 3kw of heat for every 1 kw of electricity fed into them. It sounds too good to be true and immediately begs the question: Why don't we use heat pumps in Toronto?

Low efficiency used to be the main reason. Up to 2006, most heat pumps were based on low-efficiency 10 SEER air conditioners, and they could not run at low outdoor temperature. In 2006 manufacturing of new units with less than 13 SEER efficiency was outlawed. Virtually overnight, new heat pumps' efficiency increased by almost 30% and kept rising.

Heat Pump Pro's

1. Heat pumps can be used in Toronto almost year-round. Air conditioners are only used for a few short weeks of summer.
2. The price difference between heat pumps and air conditioners is becoming smaller and smaller. Ductless units lead the way. Today ductless heat pumps cost only $200 more than their equivalent air conditioners. At this small premium, ductless heat pumps are already a no-brain winner against ductless air conditioners.

3. Central air heat pumps may still cost $1000 more that equivalent central air conditioner, but even at this premium a heat pump is an easy choice instead of an air conditioner if you use electricity, propane, or oil for heating.

4. "Smart" hydro meters are coming. Here in Toronto, electricity at night and on the weekends will cost only 3.2 c per kilowatt. At this price and at 300% efficiency, electricity is becoming the energy of choice for heating.

5. Heat pumps take advantage of global warming. As winters in Toronto are getting milder, heat pumps are becoming more profitable.

6. No reason to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning or fuel (gas, propane, oil) escape inside of the house.

Heat Pump Con's

Heat pumps need supplemental heat. This can come from either a fuel-based furnace or an electric heater. There are two main reasons for this.

1. Because the same system is used for both heating and cooling, the heat pump is limited by the smaller of the two needs - the cooling one. On the coldest days of winter, the heating capacity of the heat pump may not be sufficient.

2. Cold outdoor temperature can also lower the heating capacity of the heat pump to the point where it has to be turned off and backup heat needs to be brought in.

Supplemental heat is not as a big a deal as it sounds. A couple of electric strips can be easily accommodated by the ductwork at a cost of a few hundreed dollars. On the other hand, it may spare you buying a new furnace at $3,000.

And last, but not least - you can finally get rid of fuel heat inside of your house. People and fuels don't really mix well in the same space.

Related Tags: global warming, toronto, carbon monoxide, air conditioner, central air, seer, heat pump, ductless heat pump

About the Author. Boris Sherman is a heating and air conditioning contractor. His company Cozy World installs furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps in the Greater Toronto Area. For more information visit his company's web site at www.cozyworld.ca/.Copyright 2007 - Cozy World. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as you leave all of the links unchanged, do not edit the article in any way and give Cozy World name credit.Copyright 2007 - Cozy World. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as you leave all of the links unchanged, do not edit the article in any way and give Cozy World name credit.

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