“This Old House” Explains This New Heat Pump

December 5, 2020

Pretty sure there’s some kind of heat pump in my future.
Furnace guy came by this week and reminded me that my gas furnace is more than 20 years old. Still efficient, still works, but I’m looking for a replacement that will make the home all-electric some time in the not too distant future.

The unit described above is an “air source” heat pump, meaning it works like an air conditioner to cool, and like an air conditioner in reverse, to heat. This works pretty well, I understand, till you get much below freezing, when efficiency goes way down.

Looking for answers out there – what is the answer? Do you have to get a (more expensive) ground source heat pump? OR is there any system that could tap a stored heat source, like, say, an extra large hot water tank – as a boost in cold weather?

4 Responses to ““This Old House” Explains This New Heat Pump”

  1. doldrom Says:

    No expert, but I know many people use their swimming pool as an extra buffer. This probably makes some demand on the insulation of the pool, both in the ground and the cover in winter. I know my brother-in-law does this in Canada in a similar climate, but the pool was built after he had had experience with heat pumps.

    Of course, without a pool …

  2. tildeb Says:

    We switched from oil to heat pump on Vancouver Island – hardly a severe winter clime. After a month of forced air coming on and off every few minutes by the massive heat pump, hosting and paying for several service calls only to be told this was the way the system was designed to work and that it was operating at peak efficiency, we switched back because the heat pump could not warm the house… just the air.

    I know this sounds weird but we had no carpeting and were used to a house heated by oil with the same temperature floors and furniture and fixtures as the air. This went away once the heat pump was installed. The floors and furniture and bedding and toilets and showers and tubs and stored material were always cold, always much, much cooler than the recently warmed air. We grew tired of being told no one had ever complained of this before… as if that solved this problem… but we grew tired of being cold all the time, lost thousands of dollars to remove the heat pump, and switched back to oil. Lo and behold, a return to a warm house. Go figure.

  3. Mark Mev Says:

    Just had to replace my 6 year old Mitsubishi 12Kbtu mini split. Went with a Mitsubishi hyper heat 12Kbtu unit, so I will get to see how well it heats when the temperature goes around and below freezing. I can monitor the usage so I can see how much power it consumes. I was very happy with my old unit for heat and AC until it decided to just stop. It allowed me to used the oil boiler as more of a backup until the weather got too cold.

  4. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    My ex has a geothermal circuit under his house. IIRC the underground temp is a pretty stable 65°F there, which makes a pivot point for his heat pump.


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