Jay Moody HVAC is proud to be considered Massachusetts heat pump specialist, offering efficient, engineer-designed air source heat pump systems for homeowners and businesses across the state.
We believe that it is crucial for homeowners to feel informed and confident of their HVAC options. That’s why Jay Moody HVAC strives to offer educational resources such as this article, to help guide any homeowner through their home improvement project.
In this article we offer the Ultimate Guide to all things Air Source Heat Pumps. We hope to help you better understand heat pumps, how they work and whether they are the right option for your home!
What Are Air Source Heat Pumps
Heat pumps are devices that transfer heat from one place to another. They can be used to heat or cool a space, depending on the direction of the heat transfer.
There are two primary types of heat pumps: geothermal and air-source.
Geothermal heat pumps move heat from the ground outside. On the other hand, air-source heat pumps move heat between the inside and outside air.
Air-source heat pump systems are more common than geothermal systems. In this article, we will only discuss air-source heat pumps.
How Air Source Heat Pumps Work
Unlike fuel heating systems that create heat energy, heat pumps move heat energy. Heat pumps work by using a refrigerant to absorb heat from the air outside, and then pumping it inside a home using a compressor.
In the winter, the heat pump extracts heat from the outside air and transfers it inside to warm up the building. In the summer, the process is reversed, and the heat pump extracts heat from inside the building and releases it outside to cool down the building.
The efficiency of a heat pump system depends on a number of factors we will discuss shortly. That being said, heat pumps tend to operate more efficiently than fuel systems. This is because heat pumps move heat energy while fuel systems create it.
Types of Air Source Heat Pumps
When it comes to air source heat pump systems, there are two primary types available in the market. There are central (ducted) heat pump systems and ductless mini-split systems.
Central Heat Pumps
The first type is the central heat pump system which requires ductwork to move heat to and from a home.
This system uses a heat exchanger to extract heat from the outside air and transfer it to the indoor air. The ductwork then distributes the heated or cooled air throughout the home. The central heat pump system is commonly used in larger homes with multiple rooms and floors and existing ductwork.
The second type of air source heat pump system is the ductless mini-split heat pump system.
This system moves heat to individual zones through a single inside unit. It is a great option for smaller homes or for homeowners who want to have more control over the temperature in different areas of their home. The ductless mini-split system doesn’t require any ductwork, which makes it easier to install and maintain. Additionally, mini-splits can be more energy-efficient than central heat pump systems because they don’t lose heat through ductwork.
Overall, both central heat pump systems and ductless mini-split heat pump systems have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to consider factors such as the size of your home, budget, and heating and cooling needs before choosing which type of system is right for you.
Pros & Cons of Heat Pump Systems
Now that we’ve discussed the different types of heat pumps and how they work, let’s take a closer look at their pros and cons.
Benefits of Heat Pump Systems
A well-designed, professionally installed, heat pump system can offer top-tier home comfort at efficient cost! We’ve outlined a few of the most primary benefits of heat pump systems below.
Heat pumps are highly efficient as they don’t generate heat but transfer it from one place to another. This means that they consume less energy and are more environmentally friendly than traditional heating systems.
In fact, air-source heat pumps have found to be 2-3x more efficient than traditional fuel heating systems. What’s more, air-source heat pumps can reduce your electricity use by 50% compared to electric resistance heating! (Read more at Energy.gov)
A key benefit of heat pump systems is their versatility. Heat pumps offer efficient heating AND cooling, all in one system! This allows you to take advantage of heat pumps all year-round. They can also be used in conjunction with other heating systems, such as furnaces, to create a hybrid heating system.
Mini-split heat pumps are especially versatile! Because mini-splits are ductless systems, they can be installed in almost any space for additional comfort. Many homeowners choose to use mini-splits to supplement heating or cooling in specific rooms in the home!
Although heat pumps can be more expensive to install than traditional heating systems, they can save you money in the long run due to their energy efficiency. Because the systems offer dual-heating and cooling, they also require less maintenance. Opposed to having two systems to maintenance (your air conditioning and heating system), you only have one!
Heat pumps provide consistent and even heating and cooling throughout your home, which can help improve your overall comfort. In addition to dual heating and cooling, many heat pump systems also offer advanced air filtration and dehumidification modes.
What’s more, heat pumps also operate quietly, so you won’t be disturbed by loud noises!
As mentioned earlier, heat pumps are more environmentally friendly than traditional heating systems as they use less energy and emit fewer greenhouse gases. This means that you’ll be doing your part to help reduce your carbon footprint.
Disadvantages of Heat Pump Systems
While heat there are many advantages to installing a heat pump system, there are possible disadvantages. Heat pump systems may not be the right fit for every home. For this reason, it’s incredibly important to work with a qualified HVAC installer that will outline all your options. Here are a few disadvantages you may come across:
Initial Cost of Installation
An initial disadvantage and common barrier preventing homeowners from upgrading to heat pumps is the often-high cost of installation.
Heat pump systems are generally more expensive to install than traditional heating and cooling systems. This is because they require more specialized equipment and installation practices. On top of this, some homes also require additional ductwork and/or electrical work.
Initial Transition from Fuel Heating to Electric
Heat pumps utilize electricity to operate, whereas fuel heating systems utilize natural gas, propane, or oil. This can be a difficult transition for some homeowners.
The cost of electricity varies by region, but it is generally more expensive than the cost of fuel. While the energy efficiency of heat pump systems means that they can save homeowners money on energy costs in the long run, the initial transition can be difficult for some.
Potential for Poorly Designed System Installation
Unfortunately, as access to heat pump systems has grown, so has the number of unqualified installers. As we’ve discussed, a well-designed and properly installed heat pump system can offer significant improvement in home comfort and efficiency. A poorly designed/installed system, however, can be a costly mistake.
For this reason, it’s crucial that homeowners choose a qualified heat pump installer for their project.
Heat Pump Rebates & Energy Incentives
Heat pump rebates and energy incentives are available in Massachusetts and many other states throughout the United States. These programs are designed to help homeowners and businesses switch to more energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, such as heat pumps.
In Massachusetts, for example, the Mass Save program offers rebates of up to $10,000 for qualifying air source heat pumps. Mass Save also offers zero-interest financing for eligible heat pump installations.
Many Massachusetts towns unable to participate in Mass Save offer their own energy incentives for the installation of heat pump systems. Most of these energy incentives are offered through a similar program called Next Zero.
In addition to state energy incentives, the Inflation Reduction Act offers residents a federal tax credit of up to $2,000 when installing a heat pump system!
To take advantage of these programs, homeowners and businesses typically need to work with a participating contractor who can help with the installation and application process. It’s important to check the specific requirements and guidelines for each program to ensure eligibility and maximize savings.
Overall, heat pump rebates and energy incentives can be a great way to save money while reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Heat Pump Effectiveness in Massachusetts
Based in Leominster, Massachusetts, Jay Moody HVAC has installed hundreds of heat pump systems for Massachusetts homeowners. A common question we are asked is “How effective are heat pumps during the winter?”. There is understandable skepticism around the ability of heat pumps to heat your home through cold winters. Let’s start the discussion by answering this common question.
Yes, heat pumps can offer efficient heating to your Massachusetts home, even in the winter!
Hyperheat systems are designed to withstand cold weather and can offer effective heating throughout the winter. So long as the system is properly designed to fit the size and needs of a home, it should be able to offer efficient comfort year-round.
That being said, heat pumps do become less efficient at extreme temperatures. If it is extremely hot outside or extremely cold, your heat pump system has to work extra hard to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
Massachusetts does not commonly experience extreme temperatures below zero, or above one-hundred degrees. This means that your heat pump system is not likely to experience consistent strain that causes inefficiency. However, to be safe, Jay Moody HVAC chooses to implement back up heat as necessary, to ensure our customers’ homes are supported throughout the winter.
Required Heat Pump Maintenance
Heat pump systems, like any HVAC system, should be maintained once a year by a qualified HVAC technician.
Annual system maintenance helps to ensure your heat pumps operate efficiently and it can improve the system lifespan. During annual maintenance, the technician will thoroughly inspect, test and clean your heat pump system.
In addition to annual maintenance, homeowners with mini splits should clean the air filters every few months. This can be done by you, no tools required!
If you are a Massachusetts homeowner looking for heat pumps, we would love to offer you a free in-home consultation! To schedule a free heat pump quote, click here!
We hope you find this article helpful as you navigate your home improvement project. For more information related to heat pumps or other HVAC systems, check out our blog!