With heating and cooling costs a factor in household budgets, heat pumps have a favorable reputation in not only their energy efficiency, but also in average annual cost. But in order to reap their cost benefits, a few details require consideration.
One detail separating heat pumps from other heating and cooling units is how they heat and cool. Rather than generate heat through a combustible resource or fuel, heat pumps use electricity to move heat and cold between the house and outside air. Statistics from 2008 show that 1,800-square-foot homes using a single, 36,000-BTU unit have operating costs of $1,100 to $1,500, particularly in regions where moderate climates prevail.
The energy required to move heat during prolonged cold makes heat pumps impractical–a point to consider estimating operating costs. Another variable is the unit itself and whether it has an Energy Star rating. Energy Star is a government program intended to promote cash savings through energy-efficient products and practices. Products with the Energy Star logo sport lower operating costs. Other ratings to look for include seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and the heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF).
Heat pumps, like many household appliances, benefit from annual maintenance. Duct cleaning, regular filter replacement and thermostat checks aid in heat pump operation.
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