Ask your energy advisor

Posted on Sep 01 2019 in Noble REMC
Energy Advisor

With fall just around the corner, I find myself pondering the fundamentals of refrigeration. 

Before I lose you, hear me out.

I’m talking about heat pumps. A heat pump is essentially an air conditioner that can be operated in reverse to move heat from outside to inside of your home. 

Heat pumps have taken it on the chin in northern Indiana for far too long, and it’s time to set the record straight. 

Older heat pumps did not have the technology to operate effectively at cold temperatures. This alone would keep most contractors from installing them. Combine that with the fact that homes were built to “breathe,” and the heat pump was doomed from the start. 

With only so much space in this column, I won’t be able to dig deep into all the benefits of heat pumps, but I’d like to introduce you to the modern heat pump — an energy-efficient option for your home.

There are three types of heat pumps: 

• Air source: It looks like a conventional outdoor air conditioning unit with legs underneath and has ductwork in the home.

• Ductless (mini-split): It’s shaped like a large suitcase outside with a fan in the middle and a cartridge on the wall, floor or ceiling in the home.

• Geothermal: This unit sits inside the structure and utilizes ground water to move heat, instead of air, and has multiple ways to deliver heating and cooling through your home.

Take note that the word “move” is in bold above. That’s because heat pumps do not create heat by burning a fossil fuel; they simply move it through the refrigeration process, eliminating the threat of carbon monoxide. This gives them a distinct safety advantage in the much tighter envelopes of today’s homes. 

Additionally, the heat pumps of today are utilizing variable speed motors, inverter technology, multiple zone controls, sensors in the cassettes and more to operate efficiently and comfortably down to -23 F. 

Pair all of this with the stability of the price of electricity, and it really gives you a fantastic option to heat and cool your home in our neck of the woods.