Category Archives: Heat Pumps

are you using your thermostat the right way

Are You Using Your Thermostat the Right Way?

It wasn’t always as easy as it is today to regulate the temperature within our homes!

Although the first thermostat was invented in 1886, most people didn’t have one until much later. In the beginning of the 20th century, most homes were equipped with manual furnaces.

This meant that each morning, you had to truck down to the basement (where the furnace was typically located) and stoke coal, adjust valves, and situate dampers (1, 2).

It was no walk in the park, to say the least! Continue reading

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Myths vs. Reality: Busting Myths About Mini-Split Heat Pumps

what to know about heat pumps

What are ductless heat pumps?

Ductless heat pumps are also referred to as ductless mini-split systems, named that way because they are used in homes with non-ducted heating systems. They are popular in areas with temperatures that typically stay above freezing.

Just like your more traditional heat pumps, mini splits have the outdoor component and the indoor unit: the system will either bring heat in from outside your home to warm it up, or take heat out of your home to cool it down depending on the season (1, 2).

Ductless heat pumps have been around for more than 50 years. Over time they have become more and more quiet, more efficient—and they are now more affordable than ever (3). Choosing the right system for your home can be complicated by myths about ductless heat pumps. Here we break down 6 common misconceptions about mini splits.

Myth #1: Ductless Heat Pumps Won’t Work In Cold Climates

Truth: Many people go ductless as a way to supplement their current heating system. If and when temperatures drop lower than freezing, heat pumps with dual-fuel systems will keep your home warm by alternating between the electric heat system and a gas furnace system (or other systems that use oil or propane). The two systems will never run simultaneously and the most cost efficient system will operate to heat your home (4, 5).

Myth #2: Ductless Heat Pumps Have Expensive Ongoing Costs

Truth: Ductless heat pumps can save you $1000 to $2000 in energy costs (6) in one year alone. Just like any system, efficiency is one of the major factors that determines how much you will or will not pay when it comes to your monthly energy bill.

Myth #3: Ductless Heat Pumps Are Dirty and Hard To Clean

Truth: The majority of ductless heat pumps will come with systems to self clean, which minimizes the chance for any bacteria to build up (6). Also keep in mind that homeowners can also easily clean the system’s filters monthly, or as needed, and should make sure to remove any debris from the area around the outside unit (7).

Myth #4: Ductless Heat Pumps Are Only for New Homes or Buildings

Truth: Ductless heat pumps are a reliable option for upgrading your home’s current heating system. They will actually work together with existing boilers and furnaces to save fuel and efficiently heat your living space. In fact, one of the main advantages they offer is that you can add them on to existing systems so that individual rooms can have more comfortable air.

Myth #5: Ductless Heat Pumps Don’t Last Very Long

Truth: Just like with any heating and cooling unit, you need to take care of your system to ensure it lasts as long as possible. Again, this myth could not be further from the truth as one of the major benefits of going ductless is how long the units can last—and still be efficient! If you properly care for your system and have regular maintenance performed, ductless heat pumps can operate for over 20 years (8, 9).

Myth #6: Ductless Heat Pumps Won’t Work Well With Room Additions

Truth: When you add another room to your house or even change an attic from a storage space to a living space, ductless heat pumps can save you from the need to add electric resistance heaters. They also prevent you from further extending any current ductwork or piping in your home. Again, since they are so flexible, they are actually optima for add-ons or room additions (10, 11, 12).

Only Certain Rooms In Your House Need Heating? Mini Split is Your Flexible Solution

Ductless systems are a flexible way you can increase ongoing comfort in your home. You can use ductless mini split heat pumps that will match their energy use to the need for heating or cooling in the home, which means they won’t waste electricity by turning on and off repeatedly.

Whether it is a single room, an entire floor, or your entire house, give us a call today at 859-491-4915 to learn more about how you can create “zones” in your home and start saving money today.

References/Sources

  1. http://www.angieslist.com/articles/ductless-heat-pump-right-my-home.htm
  2. http://www.lennox.com/help/faqs/heat-pumps
  3. http://www.nextstepliving.com/savings-and-efficiency-ductless-mini-splits-are-new-efficient-way-cool-and-heat-your-home
  4. https://dawsonpower.com/blog/2014/09/heat-pump-myths-debunked/
  5. www.lennox.com
  6. http://www.mitsubishicomfort.com/articles/energy-efficiency/busting-myths-about-electric-heat-pumps
  7. http://energy.gov/energysaver/operating-and-maintaining-your-heat-pump
  8. https://goingductless.com/faq
  9. http://www.theheatpumpstore.com/about-us/faq/
  10. http://www.nwseed.org/wp-content/uploads/Heatwise-FAQs.pdf
  11. http://www.theheatpumpstore.com/about-us/faq/
  12. http://dayheating.com/products/ductless-heat-pump/faq.html

 

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Winter Heat Pump Repairs in Northern Kentucky

heat pump repairs in Northern KentuckyWhen you go to bed at night, you expect your heat pump to keep the house warm all night long. So what happens when you wake up and it seems the heat pump is working hard and just can’t seem to keep up? We’ll give you some possible reasons why this may be a problem. Calling your HVAC company in Northern Kentucky to troubleshoot and fix the problem is normally necessary.

What Is A Heat Pump and How Does It Work

A heat pump is equipment that moves heat from one location to another location using mechanical means. There are two common types of heat pumps: air-source heat pumps and ground-source heat pumps (geothermal). They each keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The difference is where they pull the air from. An air-source heat pump uses air from the outside in the winter and from the inside in the summer. A geothermal heat pump extracts heat from the indoors in the summer but when it’s cold outside it uses air from the ground.

A heat pump uses a refrigeration system with a compressor and two coils made from copper tubing surrounded by aluminum fins. The coils look similar to your car radiator. Like in your refrigerator, refrigerant flows continuously through pipes, back and forth from the outdoor coils. They will transfer the air into gas and back again and they can change the direction of the flow for cooling or defrosting the outside coils.

Air-Source heat pumps work well in milder climates where they can generate 3 ½ times more heat energy than the electrical energy they consume. This is possible because a heat pump moves heat instead of converting fuel.

Ground-source heat pumps are energy efficient central heating or air conditioning systems that pumps heat to and from the ground. Because the ground is an even temperature most of the year, you can expect to save money using this source.

Why Your Heat Pump May Not Be Working Right

As you can see, there are many potential places for your heat pump to begin malfunctioning. The most common problem is a dirty air filter. If changing the filter doesn’t help, there could be other causes. Most heat pumps have an emergency or back up heating system that operates automatically on the coldest days of the year. You may find your heat pump running fine but not keeping you warm enough on cold days and nights. When this happens you could have a problem with the thermostat, the heat pump, condenser, refrigerant, your backup electric heater or the wiring somewhere in between.

Winter Heat Pump Repairs in Northern Kentucky

When you notice your heating or cooling system just isn’t doing the job right, you can call the professionals at Greater Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning. They will be happy to fix the problem and make sure your comfortable all year long. Call Greater Comfort today for fast, professional service you can depend on.

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Common Heat Pump Problems Solved

Heat Pump ProblemsDuring cold weather service technicians are often called for common heat pump problems like this one. When it’s really cold outside your heat pump may not be able to heat the house to the temperature you have set on your thermostat.

Your Heat Pump Can’t Reach Desired Temperature

If you set your thermostat to 72 degrees this winter you may find your house only reaches 69 to 70 degrees. This heat pump problem is very common and generates many service calls. Sometimes there are real heat pump problems occurring but many times it is because of severely cold weather conditions.

Why Your Heat Pump Isn’t Producing Enough Heat

When temperatures outside get below 35 degrees, your heat pump will lose efficiency and cannot keep up with heat loss that naturally occurs in your home. When the temperature in your house falls 2-3 degrees below the set temperature, supplemental heat comes on to assist the heat pump. Unfortunately before the temperature reaches the set temperature, the backup heat cycles off and the heat pump runs on its own. The problem is, that the heat pump still cannot reach the desired temperature. This usually happens when it’s the coldest outside and you need the heat the most.

What You Can Do

Heat pumps that are operating correctly are very efficient. They are designed to work the way they do. You can remedy this situation without heater repairs by adjusting your thermostat a few degrees higher than you want it to be. This will help your house stay at a comfortable temperature during cold days.

Heat Pump Problems On Warm Days

If you notice this problem on warmer days (over 35 degrees) then you may have another problem all together.  Heat pump repairs may be needed.  Here are a few possible problems that might be occurring:

  • Faulty Thermostat
  • Problem with refrigerant
  • Valve Problems
  • Compressor Problems
  • Unit wasn’t maintained properly
  • Leaking ducts
  • Outdoor unit isn’t working properly

When To Call Your HVAC Company

If you notice problems with your HVAC system maintaining the right heat, it could be that it is just really cold outside. If you don’t think that is the problem, you can call your HVAC Company, Greater Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning and speak to a service technician who will be happy to help you diagnose the problem. You can depend on Greater Comfort to provide you with everything you need to keep your house comfortable all winter long.  Whether it is advise or heat pump repairs, Greater Comfort can help.

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Are Heat Pumps Just for Cooling?

Are heat pumps just for cooling?” It’s a fair question to ask here in the wilds of the Midwest, where heat pumps usually serve mostly as air conditioning units and furnaces or boilers heat our homes in the winter. But in truth, heat pumps can serve as heaters as well, though they lose their efficiency when it gets particularly cold and often need a boost from a gas furnace or similar heater. Here in Burlington, heat pumps usually do their best as part of a hybrid unit, combining the pump with a small auxiliary furnace to make sure you stay warm in the winter. To understand why they’re not just for cooling, it helps of know how exactly a heat pump works.

FYI: Greater Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.® services heat pumps in Burlington, KY.

Heat pumps are divided between indoor and outdoor sections. Each section contain a valve/coil system as part of a closed loop and a blower fan to help move hot or cold air. Refrigerant gas circulates through the loop to alternately warm and cool the air. In the summer, the gas starts on the outside, where the valve/coil system acts as a compressor. The gas enters the valve and is subjected to a great deal of heat and pressure, then on into the coils where the heat is bled off into the surrounding air. (The blower moves the hot air out of the heat pump.) The process turns the gas into a liquid, still under pressure, which then moves to the inside valve/coil apparatus. That release a set amount of the liquid into the coils, where it evaporates and cools the air in the process. The cold air is then blown into your home via the fan.

That’s the summer. In the winter, the valve/coil arrays basically swap roles, with the inside array serving as the compressor and the outside array acting as an evaporator. That allows it to warm the home instead of cooling it, though its efficiency in this capacity is limited when the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. A hybrid system can combat that by adding an auxiliary furnace to the equation, which will still save you money over a stand-along furnace or boiler.

So are heat pumps really just for cooling? No, not quite; and in Burlington, heat pumps combined with a traditional furnace make a whole lot of sense. Give the experts at Greater Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.® to hear more about your heating options in Burlington!

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Top 3 Common Heat Pump Repairs in Cincinnati

Ensuring that your heat pump is in top shape for the upcoming cooling season is part of spring-cleaning and maintenance in the Cincinnati area. Because your heat pump works year round to provide climate control for your home, it requires professional care and routine maintenance. While proper installation should ensure that your unit works well for years to come, eventually it may undergo enough wear and tear to require repair. While not all heat pumps are alike, there are some common problems that we often encounter. In this post, we’d like to give you a list of the top 3 common heat pump repairs. For Cincinnati, OH heat pump repair, call Greater Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.® today!

  1. 1.       Electrical fault. This is probably the most common reason for a heat pump not working. Because your heat pump relies on electricity to operate, it simply won’t turn on if its power source has been compromised. Often, this is a quick fix related to a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker, but occasionally, it can indicate a problem with the electrical wiring of the device. Handling electricity can be hazardous and it should only be done by a professional.
  2. 2.       Thermostat problem. Your thermostat is the user interface of your cooling system. You create a set point of what you want to be the temperature in the living space and it communicates this to the heat pump. If it is improperly calibrated or wired incorrectly, this communication cannot obviously occur and your heat pump will remain unresponsive.
  3. 3.       Blower broken. Your heat pump requires a blower at the air handler in order to distribute the temperature-controlled air throughout the ductwork in your home. A broken blower can lead to all types of other problems in the system if not repaired as soon as it is discovered.

We hope these give you some indication of some common problems you might encounter with your heat pump. If you think your heat pump is in need of repair, then don’t hesitate to call your local professional. Delaying repairs until the summer hits can be stressful and possibly more costly. For Cincinnati, OH heat pump repair, call Greater Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning today!

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How Do Hybrid Heat Pumps Work? A Heat Pump Question from Ft. Thomas

Who says you have to choose just one home heating option? With a dual fuel hybrid heating system you can experience the eco-friendly, highly efficient heating power of a heat pump in your Ft. Thomas home without sacrificing the dependability of gas-powered furnace. How? By combining both an electric heat pump and a gas furnace into one versatile system. If you have been considering the purchase and installation of a heat pump in your home but are concerned about how it will perform in extremely cold temperatures, a dual fuel hybrid system may be right for. Greater Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning has some information about the benefits and operation of hybrid heat pump systems that may help you make your decision. Remember, if you have any unanswered questions please call Greater Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning for the answers you need.

Hybrid heating systems offer you a very efficient, affordable heating option with the heat pump component. Heat pumps do not consume fuel to create energy. Rather, they transfer existing heat into your home using just a small amount of electricity. This mode of operation makes them very cheap to operate and environmentally friendly, but because they depend to some extent on ambient heat they do not work as effectively in extremely cold conditions. This is where the gas furnace option comes in handy.

While gas furnaces may not be as efficient as heat pumps they are one of the most reliable, effective home heating methods you can choose. As long as there is a supply of natural gas your gas furnace will operate, no matter what the temperature is like outside. That means that when the cold overwhelms your electric heat pump the gas furnace can take over and save the day (or at least make it warmer).

When the temperature outside is cold enough to want some extra warmth in your home, the heat pump delivers consistent, mellow heat as it transfers energy inside. This is different than a furnace that kicks on when temperatures drop below the desired temperature, pumping out hot air until your home is back at the target temperature. This type of heating is much more efficient in really cold weather, and the great thing about a hybrid heating system is that it will automatically make the switch to the gas furnace when the heat pump is overwhelmed. That means you can just relax while your heating system makes the decision to switch its method of heating all on its own.

If you are interested in learning more about hybrid heat pump systems call the Ft. Thomas heating experts at Greater Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning. We have the answers to all your questions. Make sure that your Ft. Thomas home is ready for the coldest temperatures winter has in store for you.

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Newport KY Heating Guide: Supplementing Your Heat Pump

A heat pump is a great way to heat and cool your Newport KY home efficiently. Because they transfer heat rather than consuming fuel to create energy they greatly reduce the amount of energy you use in the process and can help lower utility costs. However, heat pumps can have trouble maintaining comfortable temperatures in harsh climates. Here is some helpful information about supplementing your heat pump to ensure your year round comfort from Greater Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning.

On very cold days, your heat pump may not be able to provide adequate heating power to keep your home warm. A supplemental heating system, such as a furnace, can help make up the difference. Forced air systems can even share your heat pump’s existing ductwork, so installation is not necessarily a big project.

Large homes present another challenge to your heat pump. While proper sizing of a heat pump should generally allow it to heat and cool your home effectively some residences may have enough space that a single heat pump simply cannot reach the capacity necessary to maintain comfort. Upgrading to a larger heat pump may solve the problem, but supplementing it with an additional heater or air conditioner backup may be more cost effective.

Heat pumps run on electricity, and though they don’t use very much of it when heating and cooling your home they still require it for operation. When the power goes out this reliance on electricity can become a problem. It doesn’t have to, though. A supplemental heating and cooling system with an alternate power source can guarantee you comfort in the event that the electricity goes out. A backup generator, properly sized, can also keep your heat pump working in the time that the power is down.

There are many options to consider when choosing a system to supplement your Newport KY heat pump. If energy efficiency and eco-friendly power is a priority for you you may want to consider the installation of a solar energy system in your home and a home comfort system that utilizes that power. Traditional forced air systems are a popular option and can use existing ductwork when supplementing your heat pump. You won’t need to have a whole system installed and the sustainable energy source is a good choice for the environment. If you want more information about supplementing your heat pump for consistent comfort call the heating and air conditioning experts at Greater Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning. We can answer any questions you may have.

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