An Energy-Efficient HVAC Alternative
On average, more than half of the energy you use goes to heating and cooling your home1. That’s why it’s important to choose an HVAC system that will save energy, save money, and keep you and your family comfortable for years to come.
Heat pump technology is a leading-edge solution for high-efficiency heating and cooling. A heat pump system can be a great alternative to a traditional furnace or other heating equipment, and also provides a simple way to introduce central air conditioning to your home.
Did you know you already have a heat pump in your home?
Though heat pumps are rapidly gaining recognition across the United States as a smart solution for residential HVAC, basic heat pump technology has been around since the 1850s. You may not realize that refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioning units are heat pumps, which use a substance called refrigerant to move heat energy from one place to another. The technology is also used in high-efficiency electric water heaters.
How does a heat pump work?
Unlike a gas furnace or wood burning stove, heat pumps don’t create heat; instead, they move heat from one place to another. This is possible because heat is naturally present in the earth and air, even when it is cold outside. Essentially, a heat pump functions as an air conditioner that can also work in reverse. In the summer, the equipment moves heat from inside to outside the home; and in the winter, heat is transferred from outside to inside the home.
Advantages of a heat pump system
Efficiency. Heat pumps use considerably less energy to heat and cool your home, all year long.
Convenience. Since a heat pump system is powered by electricity, you won’t spend time filling tanks, cutting or hauling wood, or dealing with the risk of fuel shortages or seasonal price fluctuations.
Comfort. With heat pumps, you have more control of your comfort. And, thanks to modern features, you can enjoy consistent heating and cooling with quiet equipment operation.
Health. Heat pumps have an air filter that removes harmful particles from indoor air. Many models also provide dehumidification, reducing the likelihood of mold and mildew.
Safety. Since a basic heat pump is not powered by natural gas or propane, you have less risk of leaks, fires, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Cleaner environment. Electric-powered heat pumps are designed to produce zero emissions on-site, and can utilize renewable energy sources like wind and solar—thereby reducing your environmental impact.
Is a heat pump right for MY home?
Just about any home can benefit from a heat pump system, though it is imperative that your home is well insulated and air-tight prior to installation to maximize energy savings. Generally, the following are some of the best candidates:
- Heated by electric furnace or electric baseboards
- Heated by propane, wood, or fuel oil
- Looking to add air conditioning
- New construction or new room additions
- Manufactured homes
It’s all about efficiency
When considering a heat pump system, it is imperative to purchase the most efficient model you can afford. While higher-efficiency heat pumps cost more upfront, the initial investment will pay off in lower operating costs and better comfort for years to come.
To assist with your heat pump purchase, the Energy Optimization program provides cash incentives for heat pumps that meet minimum energy efficiency ratings.
Understanding efficiency ratings
All heat pumps include efficiency ratings based on manufacturer testing to help consumers anticipate how well the heat pump will perform. Developed by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI)—and used by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)—the ratings listed below are important for you to consider when gauging efficiency levels/operating costs and ensuring the heat pump you select qualifies for Energy Optimization program rebates.
- SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio
- HSPF: Heating Season Performance Factor
- EER: Energy Efficiency Ratio
Generally, for each of the above ratings, higher value = more efficient.
The Energy Optimization program provides cash incentives for both air-source and ground-source heat pumps—as long as the equipment you purchase meets minimum efficiency standards. Visit the Efficient HVAC webpage for your utility to view minimum ratings and incentive amounts.
Affordable financing for energy efficiency improvements is also available from Michigan Saves.
Learn more about the different types of heat pumps below.