So we’ve summarized what a heat pump is, and who can benefit the most, but is there any situation where a heat pump doesn’t make sense?
Actually, yes there is. The first thing we want to look at when inspecting a house for a potential heat pump installation is the location of the ductwork:
- Attic or crawlspace – If your duct system is in the attic or in a crawlspace, you should be in pretty good shape for a heat pump. If it has excessive leakage or isn’t insulated well it can cause problems. Most duct systems located in these areas will work fine with a heat pump.
- Concrete slab – If your duct system is buried in a concrete slab, a heat pump probably isn’t for you.
Why? The temperature of the supply air provided by a heat pump is not as high as the temperature of air provided by a gas or propane furnace. A concrete duct system loses a lot of heat, and many times a heat pump simply can’t generate air that is warm enough to overcome the cold duct system. The end result is that the heat pump runs all the time and the house still isn’t comfortable, neither of which tend to make homeowners happy.
Check back next week as we finish up our discussion of heat pumps with a quick overview of the ultimate in efficiency – Geothermal Heat Pumps!