“For the loser now will be later to win, or the times they are a-changin’” said Bob Dylan. And he might have been thinking of air source heat pumps when he penned those famous lyrics. Indeed, with the constant advancement in new technology, sometimes it’s worth reexamining old technology – like air source heat pumps — and its potential benefits in today’s smart homes in conjunction with smart thermostats.
Air source heat pumps work much the same way your fridge works but generate heat instead of cold. Though this cheaper form of heat is extremely cost efficient during warmer months, it has an extreme drop off in efficiency during colder winter months… often having to rely on outside sources to make up the heat difference. Indeed, the technology was considered a liability when in used in colder climates. But that is about to change.
Working alongside researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), manufacturers have developed a more efficient heating system that can match up with winter weather of the Northern Midwest and the New England areas. They achieved this improved efficiency by using a system that uses two different compressors. The first one operates per usual during normal weather conditions, while a second compressor kicks in automatically when the temperature drops to a certain point where the first unit’s performance is affected.
The benefactors of this new advancement are cold-weather homeowners, who can now use the technology as an inexpensive alternative to heat their homes. A study by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership found that when replacing a heating system, owners had a savings of $450 when replacing an electric heater and $900 when replacing an oil heater. Field tested in Ohio and Alaska the two available units — mild and cold — have proven more than capable to meet demand.
And it is just in time for winter. Home heating is the largest energy expense for most U.S. homeowners and accounts for nearly 30 percent of energy used in the nation’s residential buildings, according to the DoE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Millions of homeowners in colder regions of the country do not have natural gas available, leaving furnaces to be fueled with heating oil, propane, or electricity. So if you are looking to replace your heating unit and save some money on your heating bill, consider an investment in a new air source heat pump.
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