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ecause heat pumps are the most efficient electric heating and cooling technology, they are an excel- lent choice if your home needs a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrade. While electric re- sistance heaters are about 100 percent effi cient—mean- ing all the electricity that goes into it is used to generate heat—heat pumps can claim effi ciency of 200 percent to 400 percent. But the proper heat pump for your home depends on a


Air-Source


There are two main types of air-source heat pumps: duct- ed and ductless. Both provide heating and cooling, and they can also create hot water.


In cooling mode, these appliances function similar to an air conditioner by moving heat from inside to outside your dwelling. In heating mode, the refrigerant fl ow is reversed and delivers warm air indoors.


When outdoor temperatures drop, the effi ciency of air- source heat pumps decrease. As a result, these devices are more commonly used in areas of the country that do not experience extremely cold weather for extended periods. A good rule of thumb for air-source heat pumps is that they are effective until the thermometer hits the 35 F to 42 F range.


For residents in the northern United States., dual fuel setups—which combine an air-source heat pump with a natural gas-, propane-, or heating oil-fired furnace—are often employed. During fall and spring months, the heat pump warms the home. When a prolonged cold snap hits, the supplemental furnace takes over.


Ducted systems have been the traditional air-source heat pump route, but ductless systems are picking up steam be- cause they require an estimated 50 percent to 60 percent less electricity than electric resistance heating. In addition, air-source heat pumps that achieve ENERGY STAR designa- tion—meaning they meet or exceed federal energy effi ciency standards—can be up to 9 percent more effi cient than stan- dard air-source heat pumps.


Ground-Source


Ground-source heat pumps, also called geothermal heat pumps, use relatively stable underground temperatures to heat and cool a home, and even to supply hot water. They come in two types: A groundwater (open-loop) heat pump uses well water, while an earth-coupled (closed-loop) mod- el moves a water-and-antifreeze solution through under- ground pipes to disperse heat. The choice depends on local conditions.


Ground-source heat pumps tend to be the most effi cient heating and cooling technology available, but the up-front cost is signifi cantly higher than air-source heat pumps. The fi nal price tag depends on where you live and what kind of system you have. A typical residential consumer selecting a geothermal system will save 30 percent to 60 percent on an average heating and cooling bill, with a payback period varying from two to 10 years, according to the U.S. Depart- ment of Energy.


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Picking the Right Heat Pump ✓ B


By Brian Sloboda How to choose


Choosing a heating and cooling system for your home is a big decision with lots of vari- ables. Be sure to call your local electric coopera- tive for advice on what type of unit will work best for your area, and ask if your co-op offers


variety of factors. Following are some tips when considering air-source and ground-source heat pumps.


any incentives for installing a heat pump. Then, contact a reputable and knowledgeable HVAC contractor to discuss your options. OL


Source: Cooperative Research Network


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