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Heat Pump Comparison: A Buyer’s Guide

2019 Feb 15
Posted in: Heating

If you’re comparing heat pumps, you want to be sure you’re making the right choice for your Phoenix home. Here’s the catch...the “right” choice depends on a few different factors, and they’re specific to your home and heating needs.

You should ask yourself a few questions to help determine which heat pump is best for your home, including:

  • Does my home have existing ductwork?
  • What efficiency is best for my climate?
  • What comfort level am I willing to pay for?

Below we’ll look into each of these questions and provide information that will help you compare heat pumps and decide which option is best for you.

Rather have an expert figure out which heat pump is best for your home? No problem! Our team can talk to you about your comfort needs and do the necessary calculations to find the heat pump that is right for you (including a free installation estimate).

 

Question #1: Does my home have existing ductwork?

If your home has existing ductwork...

You best option is:  

  • An air-source heat pump. This is the most common type of heat pump and works well in warmer climates, like Arizona.

An air source heat pump has two parts, an indoor and an outdoor unit. It heats the air by using refrigerant which moves heat from outside to the inside of your home.

Air source heat pumps are a great option because they can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50% compared to electric furnaces and baseboard heaters.

 

If your home doesn't have ductwork...

...or if you have add-on rooms without ductwork, you should consider:

  • A ductless mini-split heat pump.

A ductless mini-split heat pump works very similarly to an air source system; it has two main units and uses refrigerant to pull heat into your home.

The biggest difference between this system and an air source system is that it does not use ducts. Because of this, a split-ductless is ideal for homes with add-ons or without a central heating/cooling system.

 

Question #2: What efficiency level is best for my climate?

Because Arizona is a warm climate, the efficiency levels we suggest are a SEER rating of 15-18 and an HSPF rating of 8.2.

Let’s go into a little more detail about what that means.

A heat pump’s efficiency is determined by both SEER rating and HSPF rating.

  • SEER Rating: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which measures the cooling efficiency of a heat pump.
  • HSPF Rating: Heating Season Performance Factor, which measures the heating efficiency of a heat pump.

Because Arizona has a longer cooling season (summer), you will likely see higher energy savings with a higher SEER rating.

On the flipside, you’d likely see minimal savings from a higher HSPF rating because the winters in Phoenix are fairly short and mild.

Note: If you live in a colder area of the country, like New Jersey, you would want to look for a heat pump with a higher HSPF rating and possibly a lower SEER rating, because the heating efficiency would be more important than the cooling efficiency.

Want to learn more about efficiency ratings? Read our blog: What is a Good SEER/HSPF Rating for a Heat Pump in Phoenix?

 

Question #3: What comfort level am I willing to pay for?

There are a few heat pump features that can affect your comfort level and your wallet.

These include:

Blower Motor

Least Expensive — Single-speed

As the name implies, this blower motor has one speed: High. This is the least expensive blower but the most inefficient.

Moderately Expensive — Multi-speed

This blower can move up or down to different fixed speeds. Think fan settings: low, medium and high.

Most Expensive — Variable speed

A variable speed blower motor allows for low, medium and high settings as well as everything in between. Variable speed motors automatically adjust based on the temperature you’ve set.

Because of this, variable speed blowers can lower your electricity bills, allow you to customize the temperature in different zones of your home, and increase air quality.

Compressor

Least Expensive — Single-stage compressor

Only has one “level”: heat or cool at full blast.

Moderately Expensive — Multi-stage compressor

Allows for different “levels” of heating or cooling. For example, on a colder day, a multi-stage compressor can run on full blast whereas on a warmer day, it can run on low.

Most Expensive — Variable capacity compressor

This compressor ramps up and down as demand rises and lowers. This is most expensive compressor but also saves the most energy, which means you’ll likely see lower utility bills with this option.  

Ready to install a new heat pump on Phoenix?

Schedule a free heat pump installation. Want a second opinion on which type of heat pump to go with? Our expert team can calculate which heat pump is right for your home.