So, are Heat Pumps good or “not-so.”

We’ve been talking about Air-Source Cold Climate Heat Pumps for the past couple days.  Honestly, here at Vermont Modular we are convinced Heat Pumps are the heating appliance of the future for a myriad of reasons.  However, like everything there are advantages and disadvantages; nothing is all one way.

Advantages:

  1. Energy Efficient.  A heat pump only moves heat from one place to another, it does not create heat in the same way as a Propane Fired Boiler does.  That boiler creates heat by burning the propane gas.  Typically, the heat pump will consume less energy than it emits.  Or, it takes less energy to move the heat from outside to inside than it does to operate a conventional heating appliance.
  2. Fossil Fuels are not used.  If you are concerned about consuming fossil fuels and harming the environment, then a Heat Pump is for you.  It does not burn any fossil fuel, it is operated on electricity only.  In Vermont we are very fortunate to have a huge percentage of our electricity come from “clean” sources such as hydro powered generating plants in Quebec that also do not burn any fossil fuels.
  3. Air Conditioning can easily be done with the Heat Pump, it is the exact same principle of heating your home in the winter just in reverse; the Heat Pump moves the heat from inside your house to outside, replacing it with cold air from outside.
  4. Wide range of operating temperatures are seen with today’s Heat Pumps, the range is from 110 degrees (for AC) all the way down to minus 10 (for heat).

Disadvantages:

  1. Backup Heat is required for those infrequent nights when the temperatures drop below minus 10.  Typically, we recommend the installation of electric baseboard heaters as they are inexpensive to install, and you will only use them a couple days a year.
  2. Should you live in a severe spot such as Lake Placid, NY where the temperatures drop far lower than here in The Champlain Valley of Vermont, you will use your backup heat more often.
  3. Heat Pumps recover slowly, meaning that if you lower the thermostat significantly it will take a long time for the temperatures in the house to climb back up.  Normally, the thermostat is set in the fall and not touched until spring.

Our comments about the advantages and disadvantages only scratches the surface, we strongly suggest you consult with your local heating contractor.

But, what do you think?  Are Heat Pumps a good deal or well….. not-so-much?

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