This post is the eighteenth in a multi part series on swamp cooler maintenance, repair, and replacement options like a heat pump. If you haven’t read the previous parts, I recommend you do before continuing.
Advantages of heat pumps (continued)
- They produce milder temperatures than a furnace – Many homes are not very well insulated. For the coldest days of winter, this means we need a huge furnace capacity to heat them. Unfortunately, this also results in huge temperature swings as the unit cycles on and off. A heat pump, on the other hand, provides smooth, steady heat rather than huge temperature swings.
- Heat pumps reduce draftiness – Furnaces rely on a massive throughput of air to function. Electric furnaces need to pull in air in order to circulate their heat. Gas furnaces have that problem, plus, they need a ton of air to facilitate the combustion process. All of that air has to come from somewhere! Unless your furnace is a two pipe system, than that air is coming from infiltration. Infiltration is when the mild vacuum caused by your furnace pulls in cold, outside air through tiny gaps in your house. This is one reason why some homes feel so drafty during winter. Heat pumps don’t need to suck in so much air, so they eliminate this issue.
Disadvantages of heat pumps
For all their advantages, heat pumps really only have two drawbacks. The first is that in some homes, it might not be possible to set up a heat pump system with enough capacity to handle all of the heating and cooling needs. 95% of the time, it will likely handle it just fine, but the hottest days of summer and coldest days of winter can be a challenge for many of these systems. That’s why they’re often paired with other heat and AC systems. The second disadvantage is the higher initial cost. Heat pumps aren’t the cheapest systems around, although the prices of these units are falling as they become more popular and technology advances.
Thanks for checking out our super-series on swamp cooler maintenance, repair, and replacement. Check back soon for some cold-weather content on furnaces and water heaters now that the seasons have changed!