Today’s changing climate has made the presence of both heating and cooling equipment necessary in our house. The latest heat pumps are fast becoming consumer’s first choice because of their easier installation and energy efficient and cost saving features. But, it’s universally agreed that its initial cost is high and thus one must be completely sure about the heat pump before actually purchasing it. Undoubtedly, Cost is the most important determining factor as we see many consumers opting out of heat pumps just because of pricing. Let us review some of the most important factors affecting the cost that will guide us in making the correct decision –
- Size of the Home – The most important factor determining the cost of the heat pump is the size of the house which is measured in square foot. Larger Heat pumps will definitely invite higher costs. It is important to remember here that unnecessary large heat pumps result in wastage of both money and efficiency. Its best to consult a professional who would also take the local weather conditions into consideration and advise the best size for you.
- Type of Heat Pump – There are two main varieties of heat pump:- air and geothermal(GHSP) heat pump systems though newer absorption and cold pumps systems are also becoming popular. Air source pumps are easier and cheaper to install but require more monitoring and regular maintenance. Geothermal heat pumps are more expensive to install initially but requires much less maintenance since they are installed underground and thus have natural protection. Comparing the total of installation cost, energy bills and maintenance in exact conditions, we find that the geothermal system pays for itself twice as fast as an air source system.
- Heat Pumps Efficiency – Heat pumps are given energy ratings based on Energy Start rating system. There are two types of ratings given for both heating and cooling i.e. SEER and EER. Energy star qualified pumps are generally about 45 percent more efficient and reliable than non-energy star qualified pumps. Generally the higher the values, more efficient are the unit.
- Heat Pumps Brands – Most heat pumps are similar in design and operation. But, different manufactures offer them at different pricing with the biggest difference amongst brands being the COP ratings or the efficiency ratings of the heat pump. Other features on which various brands should be compared and evaluated are heat exchanger, compressor, warranty on the whole unit as well as replaceable, service cost and efficiency, cost of whole unit as well as replaceable parts etc.
- Installation and Maintenance Cost – Geothermal unit are more expensive to install than air heat pumps but require less maintenance. Thus, installation too can be an expensive affair. Apart from it, the maintenance that must be done by a trained technician also invites a price. This along with energy bills will give you an approx. annual cost of the unit. Different brands must be reviewed to help one choose the brand and unit most suitable for one’s requirement.
- Heat Pump tax Credit – Many units and brands qualify for federal tax credits, which dramatically decrease the cost of the unit.
Exploring the world of heat pumps based on above criteria is sure to guide us in making the right choice that is not only a sound investment but also guarantee a cozy and welcoming home that will be the envy of all without being heavy on the pocket.