Our climate is one of the best places to use a heat pump to cool and heat your home. Preparing your home beforehand assures that you’ll get the most from this remarkable conditioning appliance. How you size it, choose its energy efficiency and place it on your property will make a difference in your satisfaction with it.
A science exists to determine the right size heat pump or A/C for your home, and reputable HVAC contractors use software called Manuals J and D to perform the cooling and heating load calculation for your home and assess ductwork design and compatibility. Manual J takes into account these factors about your home when determining how much cooling or heating it needs to be comfortable:
- Cubic footage you need to condition
- Floor plan design of your home
- Insulation levels in the attic and walls
- Windows, their size, orientation to the sun and energy efficiency
- Air infiltration rates
- Amount of heat you generate indoors
- Preferred temperatures;
- Household size and ages
- Landscaping factors
After your contractor knows your home’s cooling and heating loads, he can proceed to properly size your new heat pump. The contractor also uses the Manual J values to find the configuration and capacity for your ductwork using Manual D. Besides the value of installing the right size system, you can see what would happen if you improved the insulation in the attic and elsewhere, and sealed air leaks around our house.
If improving your home’s energy efficiency is on the agenda, taking the improvements into account before you install the heat pump will help you avoid choosing one that’s too large. Oversizing the system results in higher humidity levels, increased equipment and operating costs, and a shorter system life.
In the U.S., the minimum SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) for new central cooling systems (including heat pumps) stands at 13 and the HSPF (heating season performance factor) is 7.7. Anything higher will lower your conditioning costs. A high-efficiency system could even qualify you for federal tax credits in 2013.
Locating the outdoor condenser in a shady location helps it cool more efficiently in the summer. The contractor needs to inspect the existing ductwork and seal leaks with mastic or metal tape.
If you’d like to learn more about preparing for a heat pump installation in your San Diego area home, please contact us at Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air. We provide outstanding HVAC services for the North County.