Should I purchase a heat pump?

Southern states like Tucson have nice winter temperatures compared with other northern climates where they wake up to gray skies and frozen windshields in the winter. Having said that, you may want to ask yourself, should you purchase a heat pump?

Whether you have new construction or renovation or it is simply time to replace your heating system, a heat pump is much more efficient than traditional gas or electric furnaces. However, its efficiency may be quickly lost if it is not used the right way. So here are some questions that might help homeowners like you before getting a heat pump.

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Are heat pumps noisy? 

One common concern about heat pumps is their possibility to produce noise, but as a general rule, heat pumps are not noisy. Heat pumps emit sound ranging between 40 to 50 decibels. As a homeowner, you should be able to familiarize yourself with the following different sounds that your heat pump makes during operation. It will help you determine if it’s a typical noise or an odd sound that would indicate a problem.

Sounds produced when turning on and turning off.

There are some compressor units on heat pumps that produce sound when they first startup and this could be quite loud but should not last long. The same is also true when shutting down the heat pump. Keep in mind that both sounds should disappear quickly and not persist.

Heat pump in defrost mode.

Heat pumps automatically shift to defrost mode when there’s frost build up on the evaporator coil. This usually goes with a loud, “swooshing” sound which is normally short and quick. 

Presence of humming or buzzing sound as the heat pump operates.

Having gentle humming or buzzing sounds while your heat pump is running should not make you worry since these sounds are perfectly normal as your heating system operates. The reason behind it is due to the transfer of electricity to the electrical components that happen inside your heat pump. 

Sound from the fan motor

The fan is located on top of your heat pump and its motor creates a sound when the heat is transferred into and out of your home by air movement. The noise of your heat pump’s fan motor is typically consistent, smooth, and not excessively loud. This type of noise shouldn’t be something to worry about. 

Now that you’re aware of the types of sound that you should normally expect your heat pump to make, let’s get to know the heat pump noises that might alert you that something is wrong. 

Whistling sounds 

When you hear whistling sounds while your heat pump is running, this is caused by a dirty air filter on your heating system resulting in restricted airflow going in and out of the vent.

Rattling noises in the air duct system

Rattling noises may indicate debris that has fallen into the fan area. Debris could be dead branches or leaves from a nearby tree in your home that could have flown into your unit due to strong winds.

Metal sound in your unit. 

This could possibly due to bent fan blades or misalignment of your heat pump’s fan. If you ignore this noise, it will eventually ruin the fan blade or the fan motor itself.

Vibrating sound

This sound may be due to loosening screws and nuts on bolts. The louder the vibrations, the more serious they are so have it fixed as soon as you hear it.

Loud humming sounds

While your heat pump produces normal and gentle humming sounds during normal operation, they may also produce bothersome and loud humming sounds if they’re not working properly. This is likely due to worn out electrical components inside your unit or a seized fan motor.

Hissing sound

As a hissing sound from a snake could give you goosebumps, so does a hissing sound coming from your heat pump. This is likely due to air or refrigerant escaping from your heat pump system resulting in the inability to transfer heat from inside or outside your home.

Gurgling sounds

Gurgling sounds are usually heard when there are small leaks in the pressurized lines of your heat pump. If left unfixed, your refrigerant will be wasted over time and more serious problems might occur.

Loud high-pitched sounds when the fan motor is running

Worn out fan motors may produce high-pitched sounds and this is due to the breakdown of oils that keep the fan motor bearings lubricated. When this happens, it’s time to call your professional HVAC tech and ask for motor replacement.

Can a heat pump heat a whole house?

If you’ve never had a heat pump before, you might be wondering if it can warm your whole house. Here are things to consider if this heating system can keep you warm all winter long. 

  1. The type of house.

The size of the heat pump you need depends on what type of house you have. An HVAC technician typically visits your home and does an inspection. Installing a single system or more than one heat pump system is a decision that homeowners like you should make regardless of the style or layout of your house. 

  1. Type of heat pump

There are two types of heat pumps available: single-zone and multi-zone heat pumps. If you want to cover only one area of your home, a single-zone system may be a good choice, while multi-zone heat pumps cover multiple areas of your home. 

  1. Heat pump with energy-efficient features

A heat pump can heat your whole house if you choose a unit that is energy efficient. This feature will allow you to adjust the heat output, maintaining your ideal temperature even on the coldest winter nights.

  1. Smart Thermostat

If your heat pump is connected to a smart thermostat, this will let you control heat from any room in your house by adjusting the settings on your smartphone. 

Do heat pumps use a lot of electricity?

Fortunately, heat pumps produced currently may potentially reduce your electricity by about 50% compared to furnaces and baseboard heaters. Heat pumps are considered one of the most energy-efficient forms of heating since it only costs 28c an hour to run, so having it on for long periods could still help you save money from energy bills. 

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