Heat pumps have grown in popularity recently, with a 16% increase in manufacturer shipments for 2013, and a 25% increase in shipments so far in 2014.  While most HVAC equipment shipments have been up recently, heat pumps have outstripped the market.  Here’s why:

When heat pumps first came into the market back in the 70’s, they were not so reliable, and this hurt their image.  A decade later, manufacturers had the technology figured out, and heat pumps enjoyed a surge in popularity in the 90’s.  The reason for the current surge is a little different, and is multifaceted.

First, heat pumps have become even more reliable, and consumers now trust them to keep running for many years.   The other big reason is that heat pumps have continued to  increase in efficiency.  While 10-SEER heat pumps were once the top of the line efficiency-wise, now consumers can purchase 17 and 20 SEER units.  This increased efficiency has occurred even as natural gas and oil prices have continued to increase, so heat pumps are now very competitive with all other fuels.

Other factors include the emergence of mini-split heat pumps, which require no duct work.  In fact, multi-zone mini-split heat pumps can  effectively heat an entire house rather than just a room.  Another factor is comfort.

Heat pumps used to produce heated air at only around 90 degrees F., plenty warm enough to heat your home, but unpleasantly cool if it is blowing on you.  Heat pump discharge air is now in the comfortable 110-120F range, similar to gas furnaces.

Lastly, more people are buying air conditioning these days, and for a few dollars more, they can buy a heat pump instead, which not only does the cooling, but also is a whole new (backup) source of heat for your home or office.

For more information on heat pump options, call our office at (509)924-0018.  MJ 9/8/2014

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