Installing a new heat pump to replace a central air conditioner and furnace is not a “plug and play” procedure. Nor is it an appropriate project for the do-it-yourselfer. Heat pumps assume both cooling and heating functions, so proper sizing and capacity are critical. While replacing a furnace or A/C with a model of the same specs may be a logical recourse, upgrading to a heat pump requires new load calculations and preliminary work.
One Unit, Two Functions
In cooling mode, a heat pump operates like a central A/C, extracting indoor heat through the evaporator coil and conveying it outdoors in the refrigerant flow to be dispersed by the condenser coil. To produce heat in winter, the heat pump technology reverses and coils exchange roles. The outdoor coil then extracts latent heat energy from the air, concentrating the energy molecules in a compressor cycle, so the refrigerant flows indoors where heat is dispersed into ductwork by the indoor coil.
“Sizing” a heat pump involves calculating your home’s precise heating and cooling loads, and then matching a unit with the appropriate capacity. A sizing procedure is performed by an HVAC professional using software, such as the ACCA’s Manual J program.
Specific data about the unique thermal characteristics of your home is added, so the software can determine the BTU capacity required to cool your home during the summer and warm it during the winter. Oversized units are very inefficient and cycle on and off frequently, while undersized units don’t cool or warm effectively. Acquiring the right sizing data for your heat pump is critical for future performance and efficiency.
In addition to critical load calculation and sizing, your contractor will evaluate existing ductwork for leakage and proper airflow volume. Heat pumps run at a higher airflow rate than furnaces and A/C units. He’ll also assess the overall air tightness and insulation in your home to accommodate heat pump performance specs.
For more reasons to have a qualified HVAC professional install your heat pump, contact Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, Inc in New Jersey.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Monmouth County, New Jersey and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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