Heat Pumps in Omaha, Nebraska
If you are located in Omaha or live in the surrounding area, you are well aware of the need for reliable heating and cooling, year-round. When you hear the term ‘heat pump,’ however, you may not be aware that heat pumps can both heat and cool your home. Let’s take a closer look at how this works.
How Do Heat Pumps Work?
During cold-weather months, a heat pump pulls heat from the cold outdoor air and transfers it indoors; whereas in warmer months, it pulls heat from indoor air to cool your home. Heat pumps are powered by electricity and they transfer heat using refrigerant to provide year round comfort. Since they provide both heating and cooling, you may not need to install a separate system to heat your home—although residents of colder climates may opt to add an eclectic heat strip to the indoor fan coil for additional warmth. And if you are concerned about sustainability, you’ll be happy to know that heat pumps don’t burn fossil fuels like furnaces do, making them more environmentally friendly than air conditioners.
Rather than creating heat, heat pumps redistribute heat from the air or ground and use a refrigerant that circulates between an indoor fan coil or air handler unit and an outdoor compressor to transfer heat. When in cooling mode, heat pumps absorb heat from inside the home and release it outside. In heating mode, heat pumps absorb heat from the ground or outside air and release it inside.
Are There Different Types of Heat Pumps?
There are three basic types of heat pumps: air-source heat pumps; split-ductless heat pumps; and geothermal heat pumps.
Air-Source Heat Pumps:
These are the most commonly installed types of heat pumps, and they have two parts: an indoor unit (air handler); and an outdoor unit (heat pump). A refrigerant circulates between the two units through tubing, and it absorbs and releases heat as it moves back and forth. These types of heat pumps can both reduce your heating costs and dehumidify your home, which is nice if you live in a more humid region of the country during the summer months. Please do note, however, that you’ll need an additional heating system if you live in a colder area of the country, in the winter (below 10 to 25 degrees F, depending on system size).
Split-Ductless Heat Pumps:
These heat pumps have two parts: an outdoor compressor/condenser unit and one to four indoor air handlers. The indoor units are quiet and installed high up on a wall or on the ceiling—and operated via remote control. The systems circulate refrigerant through tubing connecting the indoor and outdoor units. These heat pumps are especially useful for single room home additions or houses without ducts. They can be expensive to install, but federal tax incentives can offset the costs.
Geothermal Heat Pumps:
Also known as ground and water source pumps, geothermal heat pumps move heat through a series of pumps buried in loops outdoors. The pipes contain a water solution warmed by the constant 50 to 60 degree F temperature of the ground, pond, or well, and is circulated in and out of your home. Geothermal heating systems also control humidity, and they can reduce your energy use by 25 to 50 percent, when compared to conventional heating and cooling systems. They are also quiet and long lasting. Please note: they’re not practical for small lots or certain types of soil conditions, and installation is quite expensive ($20-25K for a 2,500 square foot home); however, federal and local tax incentives can make up for the initial cost, and you’ll also be paid back in energy savings within 5-10 years.
How Can I Maximize My Heat Pump’s Efficiency?
If you’re looking to maximize your home’s energy efficiency before buying a heat pump, here are some steps you can take to best prepare your home for any season:
- Install and set programmable thermostats to lower the temperature at night in the cooler months and raise it in the warmer months, and be sure to adjust the temperature while you are away. If you’re looking to save money on energy bills, programmable thermostats can save you 10 percent annually.
- Correctly insulate air ducts in crawl spaces and attics
- Properly seal the ductwork throughout the house
- Add weather stripping around doors and caulk around windows
- Add insulation to the attic and walls
What Are Some Notable Optional Features of Heat Pumps?
Not all heat pumps are equal, so ask us about your options for the best heat pump for you and your home. Here are a few notable options that you can find as heat pump features:
Reverse Cycle Chiller:
This is an option that allows you to pair your heat pump with a wide variety of heating and cooling distribution systems, which can help your home feel more comfortable. It can also help lower your winter electricity bills, and it is especially economical in all-electric homes.
Since compressors and fans can be noisy, be sure to choose an air-source heat pump with a sound rating of 7.6 bels or lower. In addition, position the outdoor unit away from windows and position it on a noise-absorbing base. Also, be sure to protect the outdoor unit from high winds, which can cause defrosting problems. It can help to place a fence or shrub upwind of the coils.
If frost builds up on the heat pump’s outdoor unit, the energy efficiency could be impeded and indoor comfort could be compromised. Therefore, be sure to select a model with a demand-defrost control, a feature that will minimize defrost cycles, making your system more cost and energy efficient.
If you are located somewhere in Omaha or the surrounding areas and interested in discussing the best heating and cooling systems for your home, contact us! One of our professionals at Caniglia Heating & Cooling would be happy to assist you in finding the best heat pump for your needs.