Determining Heat Pump Efficiency

Heat Pumps are used for both heating and cooling of the home. In this regard they are definitely better investments than air conditioners that can only provide you with cooling functions. For those of you who are conscious about energy conservation, these pumps are ideal, as they consume less energy than other heating and cooling devices that run on electricity.

Different types of Heat Pumps:

1. Geothermal heat pump:

These pumps utilize energy from the ground, in the form of a series of closed looped pipes of water, or other methods like an underground sink or reservoir. The most efficient pumps are the Geothermal ones, and they are also very eco-friendly. This form of energy exchange can be used to heat or cool your homes.

2. Air to Air heat pumps:

These pumps depend on the outside temperature in order to perform proper heat exchange. These systems are less efficient than the Geothermal ones as the outside temperature can vary a great deal. Air to Air pumps also require back up sources of heat as well as defrost cycles. Gas furnaces and electric heating are the backup sources when the temperatures fall below 38 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat pump efficiency can be determined by the following ways:

1. For the cooling function: The efficiency for this function can be calculated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). In warmer climates, you want to make sure that the heat pumps SEER is high as you would be using its cooling function more than the heating one, to cool you homes.

2. For the heating functions: The efficiency can be calculated by the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). If you live in a cooler climate area, you would want to make sure that your heat pumps HSPF is high in order to keep your home warm.

3. Coefficient of performance (COP): The coefficient of performance (COP) is the ratio of useful heat movement to the work output, and is a way to determine the overall efficiency. A standard heat pump has a coefficient of performance which is equal to 3 or 4. It means that for every units of electricity consumed, 3 units of heat energy are produced.

The Air to Air systems generally have coefficients of performance lower than the geothermal systems. During very cold days, the air source pumps require more energy to make the heat move inside the house, therefore their COP can get as low as 1. The geothermal systems on the other hand are more effective as their heat source comes from the ground, and on an average, their COP remains in the range of 4 to 5 throughout the year.

In order to reduce the consumption of energy, the systems with the best heat pump efficiency should be purchased. Emission free heat pumps can help stop global warming and decrease the threat of climate change.

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