If you are moving to a new house especially one where the gas furnace is connected to an air conditioner, the gas bill for house heating can be so high. The idea of replacing the ac unit with a heat pump is therefore feasible so as to cut down on the costs.
According to experts, it is advisable that you replace both the ac and the furnace because in this way, you will save much more in power costs. Replacing the ac alone may not have a much significant impact because you will only be using half of the heat pump capacity.
The factor that you need to consider first is the electricity costs. This is because a heat pump mainly runs on electricity as opposed to gas. If your electricity rates are high or you have tiered usage rates then the switch may not be one of the best options. You will find yourself spending much more than you had earlier imagined.
The replacement or switch from an ac to a heat pump is pretty much straightforward. Heat pumps mainly consist of two parts; the heat pump located outside the building and the air handler which is positioned inside the building. The outside heat pump resembles an ac only that it runs in both directions pumping heat into and out of the house. Inside the house, the air handler unit has filters, fans and controls.
The installation may take a couple of days because of some ducting changes brought about by differences in size between the ac and the heat pump. Where the unit is placed in the attic, the ducts may have to be re-routed so as to fit in well.
Professionals in the HVAC industry recommend that you do the following:
Conduct Home Heating Inspection
This is the first step when contemplating how to switch from air conditioning to a heat pump. You can notify your local utility to come and put a blower at your front door so that it can measure draft loses. Using specialized equipments, the professionals will take thermal images that will reveal any insulation gaps. The images will also show the numbers you need for costing and sizing. Using the report generated after the inspection, you can then figure out the best options available. You might be surprised to find that the solution is as simple as caulking against drafts or even adding insulation to the attic.
Consider a Geothermal Unit
If you must install a heat pump, a geothermal unit may then be a feasible option. Even though it means that you have to drill holes in the landscaping, dig trenches throughout the flower beds and engage in other peripheral activities, installing a geothermal unit is one of the best solutions because they are efficient. These units tap to the underground temperature because it is much more stable than the outside temperatures. This makes it possible to fine tune these geothermal units so as to run in the narrow range rather than cope with the 100 degree swings from spring to winter.
Look for Rebates
Rebates help you to lower the costs involved in switching from the ac to the heat pump. Many states in the US including Florida have programs that finance such switches with low or no cost loans and rebates.
Factoring all this into mind before doing the switch will make the process much simpler and easy to undertake.