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Cold Climate Heat Pumps: How They Work

If you’ve done some research into heat pumps, you probably already know about their major advantages: air conditioning and heating power in one unit, low cost heating, and space-saving. But you may have also come across one of their disadvantages: inefficient heating power in extreme cold temperatures.

It’s true that a heat pump will begin to lose efficiency in heating mode when the outdoor temperature falls below freezing. A heat pump must remove heat from the outdoor air and bring it into a home; although there is always some heat available in the outdoor air, no matter how low the temperature drops, it becomes harder for a heat pump to extract it once it dips below the economic balance point, a temperature usually around freezing (it varies due to humidity).

We definitely recommend heat pumps for people when it comes to cooling, since these systems work ideally at this task no matter the outdoor heat. But in Vermont, sub-freezing weather in winter is the reality. Because of this, we suggest homeowners look into cold climate heat pumps (CCHPs) so they can still take advantage of the benefits of a heat pump, but without sacrificing comfort. Contact Red Rock Mechanical and our staff of experts on heating repair and air conditioning maintenance in Burlington, VT today to find out more.

How Cold Climate Heat Pumps Beat The Freeze…And Save Money

Cold climate heat pumps (CCHPs) are also known as dual fuel hybrids because they combine the heat pump with a second backup heater that uses a different fuel source. You can have the heat pump and the back-up installed at the same time, or technicians can use your existing oil or propane-powered heating system and hook the heat pump to it. CCHPs come in both central and ductless models, so you can have one easily installed without existing ductwork in your home. Professionals can retrofit a home with a ductless system in less than a day.

CCHPs, when professionally installed, delivery three times more heat energy than they consume in electrical power. This is because heat pumps do not generate heat, but instead move it, a less energy-draining operation. In the case of extreme cold weather, the back-up system activates to assist the heat pump when it goes below the economic balance point. With the aid from the oil or propane-heater, CCHPs can deal with temperatures down to sub-zero without suffering efficiency loss.

A study by Efficiency Vermont has shown the difference in costs: A household that uses 850 gallons of heating oil per year (at $4 a gallon) would pay $3,400 for a year of heating. But with a CCHP installed, the same household would use only 170 gallons of oil, plus 7300 kWh of electricity at $.015 per kWh, for a total of $680 (oil) + $1100 (electric) = $1,780 for a year of heating…a savings of $1,620 per year.

Call Red Rock Mechanical today to ask about installation of a cold climate heap pump for your house. We’ll help you determine if one of these systems will work for you. Keep in mind, heat pumps also work as ACs, and you can call us for air conditioning maintenance in Burlington, VT to take care of all aspects of your heat pump.

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