Heat pumps are the most energy-efficient and economical way to keep your home comfortable year-round. Heat pumps utilize electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and warm space warmer. Even in cold air, heat energy is present so when it’s cold outside, a heat pump takes the heat in the outside air and transfers it inside, warming your home. During warmer weather, it reverses direction, acting like an air conditioner, to remove heat from your home.
1. Size: Select the right size for your home. If a heat pump is undersized or oversized, it will not heat or cool your home effectively.
2. Fuel source: Since there is no danger of combustible gases or toxic emissions with an electric heat pump, they do a better job at keeping indoor air clean, healthy and free of toxins.
3. Energy efficiency: Maximize energy savings and help the environment when you select an ENERGY STAR®-rated electric heat pump.
4. Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER): Air-source and dual-fuel systems measure cooling efficiency by SEER. The federal minimum standard for new homes in the southeast is 14 SEER.
5. Two-speed compressors: These compressors allow the heat pump to operate close to the heating or cooling capacity at any moment, saving energy and reducing compressor wear.
6. Variable-speed or dual-speed motors: Variable-speed fans attempt to keep air moving at a comfortable velocity, minimizing cooling drafts and maximizing energy savings.
7. Desuperheater: The desuperheater recovers waste heat from the cooling mode and utilizes it to heat water.
The most common type of electric heat pump, the air-source uses an outdoor unit to transfer heat between your house and the outside air.
Geothermal heat pumps use the near-constant temperature of the earth for its heat source. This system uses special water piping and earth to transfer heat.
If your home has a relatively new gas or propane furnace, the dual-fuel heat pump may be a better choice than simply replacing your old air conditioner.
Whatever type heat pump you choose, the efficiency rating of the equipment is very important. Heat pumps are rated by a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The higher the SEER, the greater the efficiency and the less it costs you to cool your home. The rating is much like the MPG rating for an automobile. The minimum SEER rating on equipment manufactured today is 14 SEER. Higher SEER-rated equipment is widely available and efficiency ratings will vary according to the BTUH size and brand selection. A unit with a high SEER rating may cost more initially, but because of its low operating cost, it will pay for itself over time. Heat pump heating efficiency ratings are expressed as the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). Just like the SEER rating for cooling, the higher the HSPF rating, the greater the efficiency. HSPF ratings range from about 6.8 to greater than 8.
Savings from the ground up.
A GeoExchange system takes advantage of the earth's near-constant temperature to provide the highest energy efficiency for heating and cooling available today. GeoExchange closed-loop heating and cooling systems have been at work for more than 10 years with dependable, money-saving and energy-conserving results.
The GeoExchange system connects an indoor heat pump with a matrix of outdoor buried plastic piping. The system circulates water through these underground pipes where it is warmed by the earth in the winter and cooled by the earth in the summer. This natural heating and cooling action, in conjunction with heat pump technology, can maintain indoor spaces at a constant, comfortable temperature without burning fossil fuels.
Regardless of whether the outside temperature is 95° or 25°, the ground temperature in cities like Atlanta, Birmingham, Savannah, Panama City or Biloxi is between 65° and 70°. These near-constant ground temperatures make it possible to use the earth's natural thermal qualities to provide energy to heat or cool your home without burning fuel and polluting the environment.
An electrically powered device that uses the near-constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool your home.
The heat pump unit, the underground closed-loop system and the ductwork.
A continuous loop of special buried plastic pipe connected to the indoor heat pump. Unlike an open-loop system that draws water from a well, a closed-loop system recirculates the same water under pressure, functioning as a heat exchanger with the earth. Because the water is sealed inside the piping, it remains pure, requiring less filtering and less potential maintenance.
High-density polyethylene pipe properly heat-fused should last over 50 years. This material is unaffected by chemicals normally found in soil and has good conducting properties. PVC pipe should not be used.
Do-it-yourself installation is not recommended. It is best to employ IGSPHA or manufacturer-certified technicians and contractors to install your GeoExchange system. Retrofits in buildings with existing ductwork are typically easy to install. Consult your local dealer to determine any modifications that might be necessary.
GeoExchange uses no combustion and therefore needs no outside venting.
Conceived in the 1940s, refined heat pump designs and improved pipe materials make GeoExchange systems the most efficient heating and cooling options available today.
After installation, closed-loop piping has no affect on grass, trees and shrubs. Installation requires displacement of some turf which can be restored with grass seed or sod.
Yes. Using a device called a "desuperheater," GeoExchange systems can preheat tank water to save up to 50% on water heating bills.