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Heat Pump Buyer’s Guide: 4 Factors to Consider

Heat pumps work most efficiently in warmer climates. So it’s a no brainer that they’re the perfect heating and cooling option for Florida homes.

But do you know what to look for in a heat pump? Well, it’s similar to shopping for a central air conditioner. A heat pump is just an air conditioner that can work in “reverse” to heat the home, after all.

Regardless, here are 4 important factors you’ll need to consider before making your decision.

Heat pumps work most efficiently in warmer climates. So it’s a no brainer that they’re the perfect heating and cooling option for Florida homes.

But do you know what to look for in a heat pump? Well, it’s similar to shopping for a central air conditioner. A heat pump is just an air conditioner that can work in “reverse” to heat the home, after all.

Regardless, here are 4 important factors you’ll need to consider before making your decision.

Energy efficiency ratings: SEER and HSPF

Heat pumps have 2 efficiency ratings because they both cool and heat the home. The higher these ratings, the more efficient the heat pump—and therefore the more money you save! Think of it as the MPG of your cooling/heating system.

SEER is the cooling efficiency and ranges from 13 to the 20s (it’s rising as technology advances). Those numbers don’t really mean much to you. So here are 3 tools that will show you how much you’ll save with different SEER ratings.

HSPF is the heating efficiency and ranges from 7.7-10.

These efficiency ratings are strongly affected by the next 2 factors.

Blower motor type: fixed speed vs. multi-speed vs. variable speed

The heat pump has 2 main units. The inside units is called the air handler, which is connected to your ductwork.

One part of the air handler is the blower, which circulates the air throughout your ducts.

The type of blower motor will affect how efficient the heat pump works and how comfortable it can make you. Here’s the difference between the 3 blower motor types:

  • Fixed speed: Blower is either on or off.
  • Multi-speed: Blower can ramp up or down to different fixed speeds. It’s like having different gears on a car.
  • Variable speed (most efficient): Can incrementally adjust how much air it blows based on your cooling and heating needs. This allows for better humidity control, air quality and gives you consistent temperature for added comfort.

Compressor type: single-stage vs. two-stage

A single stage-compressor only lets the heat pump cool/heat at full blast.

A two-stage compressor allows the heat pump to cool or heat at different levels: High (full blast) and low for milder days.

OK, so what’s the big deal about two-stage? Well two-stage heat pumps run more often, while using less energy. This helps you:

  • Save money because it’s starting and stopping less.
  • Stay more comfortable because it’s always circulating air (meaning no hot or cold spots) and dehumidifying your home.

Two-stage heat pumps cost more upfront, but will cost less to operate. But people mainly get them because of the extra comfort they provide.

Size

The heat pumps size is probably the most important factor when buying a heat pump. Too large or small and the system runs inefficiently and could breakdown.

Finding the correct size is complicated, which is why it’s best to leave it to a professional heating/cooling contractor who will need to perform a Manual J Heat Load Calculation to find the right size.

Need help?

Contact Cool Today if you need help finding the heat pump that fits your budget and comfort needs.

Cool Today provides award-winning air conditioning service to Sarasota, Florida and the surrounding areas like Bradenton, Tampa and Port Charlotte. If you have any questions, talk to one of our experts for help.