Let’s start with the basics: What are heat pumps?
Residential heat pumps, also called “mini-splits,” are composed of an exterior unit and typically wall mounted interior units. The two or more units are connected by small refrigerant pipes.
Heat pumps use electricity to move air to cool and heat your home and provide an efficient lower cost alternative to most of the other fuels.
You may have already known that. Now lets get into what you probably haven’t heard:
1. Heat pumps can cool AND heat your home
As Vermont summers continue to grow hotter and muggier, many Vermonters who grew up without air conditioning are now rethinking it during sweaty, sleepless summer nights.
Heat pumps offer the alibi for Vermonters who have a reputation to protect that the new system is for energy efficiency heat – it just happens to cool as well.
In other words, they provide guilt free air conditioning.
2. Heat Pumps act as dehumidifiers
[*Goes to breathe a sign of relief but can’t because of humidity.*]
The humidity is mostly what makes you uncomfortable during the summer – if you’ve ever visited the desert, you know that a 80 degree day with 0% humidity is much more bearable than the same temperature day in Vermont with 100% humidity (where it feels like you should grow gills).
3. You should weatherize your home first
No matter how you heat or cool your home you should want to hold on to that energy as long as possible for comfort and savings.
Make sure you’re not just cooling air to let it escape from your house. Get a HEAT Squad Energy Audit first and learn where you should air seal and add insulation, as well as if cold climate heat pumps are a good choice for your home.
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4. You probably need a backup heating source for the coldest winter days
Heat pump technology has made incredible advancements in the past decade, from being just cooling devices to providing efficient cooling and heating.
However, a heat pump’s ability to heat your home lowers as the temperature drops below zero. For the coldest Vermont days a backup heating source is needed to keep you toasty.
5. Heat pumps use less than 50% of the energy of a typical window AC unit
Heat pumps make use of differences in air temperatures to remove hot air in the summer and bring it in during the winter rather than using energy to generate heat or cool air. They use ½ the electricity of window or stand up air conditioners for the same amount of cooling.
An additional benefit over AC window units is security: heat pumps are installed once and only need a three inch hole to connect the inside and outside units, which is much less vulnerable than a unit that occupies a window space and is removable.
6. Open floor plans provide the most savings
If your home has an open layout, heat pumps are especially effective because the flow of air is uninhibited. Homes that are composed of smaller, tighter rooms require more indoor wall mounts to heat and cool, resulting in higher installation cost and electrical bills than their open floor plan counterparts.
However, each inside unit can have a different temperature setting so if you shut off some rooms and want to heat or cool only the rooms that you regularly occupy, these provide you that option.
7. There are currently big incentives to install heat pumps
Efficiency Vermont offers up to $800 off at the time of purchase.
Read more on our blog: Cold Climate Heat Pumps: The Right Choice for Your Home?
11 Tips for Keeping your Home Cool without Air Conditioning
17 Available Cash Incentives for Energy Efficiency Upgrades in Vermont