About Me

Preparing for My Dream Home

My husband and I have spent a lot of time consulting with an architect. After living in our cramped, starter home for the past 11 years, we were finally ready to make some needed changes to it. We have added an extra 600 square feet of space onto our house. Before the construction began, we finalized the plans for our new heating and air conditioning unit with our HVAC contractor. Because our home was going to be substantially bigger than it is now, we purchased a larger HVAC system. We also installed a new, digital thermostat inside my home. On this blog, I hope you will discover the best types of HVAC units to buy for mid-size homes. Enjoy!


Preparing for My Dream Home

Heating And Air Conditioning In One Unit

by Rita Richardson

When you buy two separate pieces of equipment to both heat and cool your home, you increase your installation costs. In some cases, you can save money by buying a heat pump, which will both heat and cool your home. An air-source heat pump will do the job if you live in a moderate climate, but for areas where you have to deal with extreme cold, a ground-source heat pump is a better choice.  

What Is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump has two sets of coils just like an air conditioner. However, unlike an air conditioner, the function of the coils can be reversed. Thus, while you can use the coils on the inside of your home to extract heat from inside air and vent it into the outside air to cool your home, you can also extract heat from the outside air and vent it into your home to heat your home during the winter. 

What Are the Limitations of an Air-Source Heat Pump?

The obvious advantage of a heat pump is that you only have to buy and maintain one piece of equipment, but the drawback to an air-source heat pump is that it is exposed to fluctuating air temperatures. As the temperatures climb, it gets harder and harder for your heat pump to push heat into the outside air, and as the temperatures fall, it gets harder and harder for your unit to extract heat. Thus, air-source heat pumps are at best around 250% efficient and at worst 175% efficient.  

What Is the Advantage of a Ground-Source Heat Pump?

To isolate your heat pump from extreme air temperatures, you have a second option—the ground-source heat pump. To build a ground-source heat pump, designers place the coils on the outside of your home under the ground. Why? By burying your coils at a depth of at least five feet, you can tap into ground temperatures which stay between 50-60 degrees year round. Thus, your heat pump does not have to work as hard during the summer or during the winter as compared to an air-source heat pump. This allows a ground-source heat pump to achieve up to 600% efficiency. 

While a ground-source heat pump may cost more to install than other heating and cooling options, as long as you save more on operating costs than you spend on financing, you are still freeing up room in your budget. Thus, you should at least discuss installing a ground-source heat pump with your HVAC technician before you decide what to install in your home.