Find the best heat pump in 5 simple steps
At HVAC.com, our writers create solutions that put you in control of your HVAC system. Our product reviews and recommendations are researched and backed by real buyers and industry experts, not dictated by our partners.
Finding the right heat pump for your home can be confusing if you don’t know what to look for. It’s best to start with the basics and understand the main benefits of installing a heat pump. Homeowners with a heat pump enjoy heating and cooling through one device. This is different from an air conditioner, which only cools a home and needs to be paired with a furnace to provide heat. With a heat pump, you can enjoy year-round climate control inside your home. To make sure you purchase the best heat pump for your home, you need to consider the climate you live in, the main function of the pump, energy efficiency, size, and customer satisfaction.
What is a heat pump?
Heat pumps come in many forms, and you may already use one inside your home. The simplest type is a device that transfers heat from one place to another. It’s commonly used in refrigerators so that any heat inside of them can be expelled outside. You might think that this device would only be helpful during the summer, but that same premise works just as well in the wintertime. Even if you can’t feel it while you’re outside in freezing weather, the air still contains heat that a heat pump can extract and use to heat the inside of the home.
Find the best heat pump in 5 steps
Purchasing a heat pump is a big appliance decision. Similar to choosing a water heater, refrigerator, or washing machine, your decision should include research into different brands as well as your own needs. Following these five steps can help you find the best heat pump for your home.
1. Consider your climate
Heat pumps work best in moderate climates. Though they do still perform well in the wintertime, you’ll need a supplemental heat source if you live in an area where the temperature drops below freezing. Furthermore, heat pumps generally need to work harder in humid climates to keep the moisture out of your home. Therefore, these climates may not be well-suited for most types of heat pumps, and you’ll have to look for a model that’s especially efficient in humid climates.
2. Consider all types of heat pumps
Heat pumps are designed with three different main types of functionality. The most common heat pumps are air-source, which means they work by absorbing the air inside or outside and circulating it through a refrigerant.
Another type are split-ductless heat pumps, which are best for single rooms or small homes. Similar to a window unit air conditioner, this type of heat pump doesn’t connect to duct systems. Instead, they’re designed with an outdoor condenser that connects to an indoor unit, which is usually operated by remote control.
The third type of heat pump is one that operates by circulating water through underground pipes. These are called geothermal heat pumps. Since the ground always maintains a stable temperature through summer and winter, this allows the water to either heat or cool your house as it’s circulated indoors through an attached unit. These types of units are better for humid climates since they don’t have to rely on airflow.
3. Account for energy efficiency
To determine a heat pump’s overall energy efficiency, you’ll need to look for its heating season performance factor (HSPF) as well as its seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), which is tied to its cooling efficiency. The higher the numbers, the more efficient the unit. When determining the efficiency rating that you need, consider your climate again. If you live in a warmer climate, you’ll want a model with a higher SEER rating, and vice versa in a colder climate.
4. Choose the right size
The best size heat pump for you is entirely dependent on your home. At this stage, it may be best to work with a contractor or HVAC professional who can assess your home to help you determine the perfect-sized heat pump that your home needs. They’ll consider your home’s size, insulation, windows, wall thickness, ducts and more. The right heat pump won’t be too small that it can’t produce enough cool air to fill your home, but it also shouldn’t be too big that it’s wasting energy.
5. Consider heat pump reviews
The best way to learn is from other people’s mistakes and successes. If you’ve narrowed your decision down to just a few heat pump options, take a close look at the heat pump reviews online and at different websites. Keep in mind that if someone had a bad experience, it might be because they chose the wrong heat pump for their home. Look for lengthy, descriptive reviews from people who may have the same needs as you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Lennox heat pumps receive some of the highest ratings in the industry for their long-lasting models. From customers to HVAC specialists, the consensus is that most of their models are “very quiet and well-built.” Some customers even reported having a model that worked great for more than five years. Keep in mind that performance will vary depending on your climate and household, and that the best heat pump system and brand for you could change because of these factors.
In general, the more you spend, the higher HSPF and SEER ratings you’ll find with heat pumps. However, split-ductless models tend to have the highest cost-efficiency for most users. Since they don’t require a difficult installation process, they help cut your costs down upfront. Furthermore, they’re known to save 30-40% in annual energy costs when compared to an air conditioning unit.
One of the most top-rated and cost-efficient ductless heat pumps is the Pioneer Mini Split Heat Pump. Not only can you easily buy it online and install it on your own, but customers also say it has great performance for single rooms.