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  • Melissa Deaver

Electrification - Heat Pumps

Many people going solar are also electrifying their homes! Electrification is simply transitioning your gas appliances to electric. It's another way to reduce emissions and with your solar panel array, another way to save! Heat pumps are one of the most impactful choices you can make if you're going green.


What is a Heat Pump?


A heat pump is part of a home heating and cooling system. Heat pumps replace ACs and furnaces, as they actually both heat and cool your home. Just like with an AC, a heat pump uses refrigerant to move heat from one location to another (taking the heat from your home and exhausting outside). There's also a reversing valve, so the heat pump can heat your home in the winter. As long as the temperature doesn't drop too much, it can absorb thermal energy from outside and deposit it indoors.


Pros


  1. Eco-friendly and safer - gas furnaces are more susceptible to leaks. With a heat pump, the risks are reduced. Lack of fossil fuel emissions also makes them more eco-friendly.

  2. More affordable - the most advanced furnace can't be 100% efficient, while heat pumps boast 300% efficiency. This is because they aren't generating heat from a fuel source but are moving the heat around instead.

  3. Pairs well with solar panels - these two combine will provide a ton of savings for the homeowner, as your heat pump will likely be electrified by your free solar energy!


Cons


  1. Higher installation cost - heat pumps do cost more than a standard AC unit to install, but the reduced cost over time makes up for this

  2. Reduced efficiency in cold weather - extracting thermal energy from outdoor air is difficult when it becomes really cold. Most heat pumps have a backup electric heating element, but this reduces the efficiency of the unit

  3. Shorter lifespan - heat pumps and ACs have a similar life expectancy of 10-15 years, while gas furnaces can last much longer.


Overall, if you're interested in saving money and energy, combining a heat pump with your solar array is a great way to go!

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