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What Size Of Heat Pump Do I Need ?

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Cold weather brings along with it all manner of unpleasantness and discomfort you’d rather do without. Be it extra layers of clothing, gallons of hot beverages, cranking up your thermostat and what not. The question however is what size of heat pump you need for your house. Home heating systems are a modern day invention that has been an integral part of house construction for a while now. These machines help to keep the temperatures warm enough during winter and in most other chilly days and nights. An important aspect to home heating systems is the ability to self-regulate via the use of thermostats.A vast majority of Northern American households depend on heaters to keep their houses warm. This article is aimed at identifying the factors that go into choosing a heat pump’s size.

Heaters warm a house by way of two means; convection and radiant heat energy. Radiant heat is felt when one is close proximity to the heater. Convectional heating occurs when the air around the heater is warmed. The warm air rises toward the room’s ceiling creating an effect that draw the cold air toward the portable heater. Newer designs of heaters integrated a fan that spread the heated air further away warming up the surroundings faster.

Having established the need for a heater, the next question is what size of heat pump is best for your house. Choosing the right size pump will ensure optimal comfort while maintaining high energy efficiency levels. It is advisable to consult heating equipment experts for insight into what particular heat pump is better for your house prior to installation. When choosing pump size, the following factors will have the greatest impact.

Pioneer Air Conditioner Inverter+ Ductless Wall Mount Mini Split System Air Conditioner & Heat Pump Full Set, 36000 BTU 230V

Pioneer Air Conditioner Inverter+ Ductless Wall Mount Mini Split System Air Conditioner & Heat Pump Full Set, 36000 BTU 230V


Outdoor ambient conditions play a critical role in choosing a heat pump and the specific size in that regard. When the temperature falls, the heat pump’s output capacity falls too. Areas and regions that experience below zero range of temperatures call for larger sized heat pumps compared to warmer areas. Heat pumps draw air from the outside and transferring heat to the interior of the house. As external temperature drop, the heat pumps ability to transfer heat similarly drops. This problem however can be avoided by getting a bigger pump.


Heat Pump House Layout

The layout of a house determines how quickly it loses heat. The faster a house loses heat the bigger the pump needed. A bigger pump in this case helps to make up for the degree of heat loss. Different homes have varying layouts and areas by square footage. Certain building styles such as split entry or bungalows require larger sized pumps. The larger the area of the house the larger the heat pump needed to warm the entire space. Number of windows and their location also contributes toward selecting a heat pump size.

What makes one heat pump more efficient than another?

The answer is that they have a variety of options that used advanced technology to heat and deliver conditioned air. For example, the most efficient heat pumps have variable-capacity controls. Rather than running the system at full capacity all of the time, these controls coordinate the compressor and blower to adjust to your house’s heating and cooling load requirements at any given time. Because they seldom run at full speed, these heat pumps are quieter, not to mention that they save you money over the long haul.

Heat Pump Noise

When selecting a heat pump, look for a unit with an outdoor sound rating of less than 7.6 bels (76 decibels). Also, talk to the dealer about the availability of noise-reducing platforms and sound screens.


Heat Pump Size

Selecting the appropriate size of heat pump ultimately determines how much savings you’ll make in terms of energy costs. Choosing oversized or undersized heat pumps can carry several drawbacks which often include;

  • Uncomfortable and fast temperature differences.
  • Hefty energy bills
  • Ineffective control of indoor humidity levels.
  • Increase in on-and-off cycling which exerts stress on the blower motor.

All heat pumps are rated according to the number of British Thermal Units produced while air conditioning mode. Different pump sizes cater for different home needs. The higher the B.T.U rating, the larger the area a heat pump can warm. The deal breaker however, is the fact that bigger isn’t always better as far as heat pumps are concerned. The amount of nominal heat a machine produces versus the heat produced during extreme low temperatures attests to this fact.

Regarding area of heating, consider the following BTU ratings versus the optimal heating area;

  • 9000 British Thermal Units: 250 square feet to 450 square feet.
  • 12000 British Thermal Units: 550 square feet to 800 square feet.
  • 15000 British Thermal Units: 750 square feet to 1100 square feet.
  • 18000 British Thermal Units: 850 square feet to 1250 square feet.

Surveys indicate that the most popular heat pump sizes by BTU rating are 12000 and 15000 BTU’s respectively. Choosing whether to go for one particular type of heating over another can often be a daunting task. The current market has electric, oil fed and gas heater. Oil fueled heaters and gas heaters are both excellent choices but nothing beats electric machines. The British Thermal Units of each fuel type creates the difference that ultimately draws the advantage of one fuel type over another. Sorting out the facts from fiction in each case will better help formulate a consensus on which fuel type is better to use with your home heat pump system.

Oil models pose a respiratory health risk as their use is restricted to well ventilated spaces such as porches and outdoor tents. Some designs incorporate an “oxygen off” feature that automatically cuts off oxygen flow to the flame when the surrounding levels of oxygen are low.

Electric versions pass a current through a high resistance conductor that subsequently heats up. The conductor is placed in front of a polished reflective surface that directs the heat in one direction.

Heat Pump Refrigerants

The refrigerant a heat pump utilizes for heat transfer is an important consideration when buying a new model. Almost all major brands of heat pumps on the market today have shifted from R22—also known as freon—to more environmentally sustainable refrigerants.

R22 refrigerant is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon that is known to deplete the ozone layer and can subject the earth to harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. It will be completely phased out of domestic use by the year 2020. Until that date, R22 is expected to become more and more expensive to obtain as manufacturers cease production and existing recycled stocks diminish.

Eco-friendly refrigerants. Other, non-harmful refrigerants have been developed and are available, but it is important to know that heat pumps that use R22 cannot be charged with the newer, safer refrigerants because the systems are not compatible.


Heat pump system

Getting the right heat pump is a complex affair that transcends beyond just the prices and brands. It is recommended to have a heat pump expert come over to your house for assessments regarding the best size, positioning and brand. In conclusion, buying equipment; heat pumps included isn’t just another walk in the park. You need to consider a myriad of factors before finally settling on the perfect unit that matches your specific needs. Choosing the right sized heat pump system will see you get comfortable in cold weather with not a single grain of discomfort or worry in your mind.

I sincerely hope my guideline on choosing heat pump sizes was as informative as it was fun to read. It has personally helped me appreciate the technical aspects to heat pumps. Feel free to share your comments, thoughts and suggestions in the space provided and also forward this to a friend.

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