When it comes time to upgrade your HVAC system, your sights may be set on a brand new heat pump. Although replacing your heat pump is usually a wise investment, you'll only net heating efficiency improvements if it's the right size for your home. Heat loss through vulnerable areas will skew your pump size needs, resulting in the purchase of a unit that's much too large for your home. Furthermore, excessive heat loss often increases demand on the heat pump, which could wear out its internal components prematurely. Thankfully, you can upgrade those vulnerable areas before addressing your heating system to drive down utility costs and ensure you pick up a perfectly sized heat pump. Read on to learn more information.
You might be surprised to find out how much heat leaks out between gaps in your home's building materials. Gaps around door and window frames, roofing and flooring materials, chimneystacks, and plumbing vents all allow warm air to slowly leave the premises. You can stop the heat loss by applying a new layer of sealant around these areas. The most commonly used type of home sealant is caulk.
You will need to remove the remainder of old caulk left in the gaps before applying a new layer. After that, simply squeeze an even bead of caulk in the space between the building materials to tightly seal up your home. You can also replace the weather stripping around your window and door frames to further reduce heat loss.
Even after redoing the caulk around your window frames, the windows themselves may allow a draft to flow through your home or facilitate rapid heat transfer. This is especially true if your home has old-fashioned, single paned windows installed throughout.
Consider investing in double or triple pane windows that have Argon gas sandwiched between the panes to minimize heat transfer. You can also have a reflective glaze applied to the window to keep your heat indoors where it belongs. Although the cost of replacing all of your windows can be quite high, it's an investment that will continually pay for itself through reduced heating and cooling costs.
Without the right type and amount of insulation, the walls in your home allow heat to quickly escape into the outside air. For example, fiberglass insulation leaves gaps at the corners of the framing studs where heat can escape. If you have traditional fiberglass insulation, your heat pump may be working harder than ever to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.
You can take the pressure off your pump by replacing all of the old insulation with spray foam. The spray foam expands to fill up all of the gaps completely. As a result, more heat stays inside your home, reducing the number of times the heat pump needs to kick on each day.
Netting The Rewards
After addressing the areas above, you can focus on selecting the right size heat pump for your home. You'll need to consider your home's layout and size along with the climate conditions in your area to identify the perfect heat pump size. For example, in a moderately sized home with an open layout, rather than tons of individual rooms, a small heat pump may be sufficient. Homes in cold climates need a larger heat pump since it will take more work to process the air coming into the system.
If you're unsure, a qualified HVAC professional can visit your home to perform a thorough load calculation that will determine the best heat pump size for your layout. With the sealant, windows and insulation upgrades, your contractor will be able to accurately predict the best heat pump size for your home layout and comfort needs.