Heat Pumps with the Best Ratings in 2013

2013-sealHeat pumps have improved over the last few decades, and they are growing in popularity once again. Whether you live in a warmer climate and need a standard heat pump or are looking for a quality geo-thermal unit for your northern home, there are certain features you should know about. Once you know what all those numbers are on the heat pump information tag, you will be able to make the best decision for your home and comfort.

The SEER Number
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating is one of the most important numbers you will see on your heat pump. Higher numbers are more attractive because they indicate that the system is putting our more heat or cool air for every unit of energy used. The SEER number refers specifically to cooling capacity, and the federal government has mandated that all new units must carry a SEER-13 level. The highest levels currently on the market are SEER-23, and the Maytag PSH4BI has a SEER-22 rating.

HSPF for Efficiency
The other important number is the Heating and Seasonal Performance Factor. This is the total space of heating required divided by the energy used to create the heat and expressed in watt-hours. Higher numbers are more attractive, and the minimum you should accept is between 8 and 10 HSPF. The Maytag mentioned before with a SEER-22 rating carries a 10.0 HSPF. However, you can choose the Carrier Infinity Series 25VNAO with a HSPF rating of 13.0. The SEER-20.5 rating is slightly lower, but if you need more energy to cool your home in the summer, then the Carrier may still be the better choice for you.

Two-Stage Operation
One clever feature of newer heat pumps is their two-stage operation options. One stage runs the system at a lower level to maintain temperature and keep you comfortable, but the higher stage can kick in when extreme temperatures would cause the smaller unit to strain. It’s a little like having two cars in the driveway; an energy-efficient sedan for daily driving in nice weather and a powerful SUV for getting you around when snow piles up on the road. The system automatically determines which one is necessary for weather conditions, so you will enjoy comfortable indoor temperatures while saving energy.

Warranty Considerations
Heat pumps are a major investment in your home, so you want one with a quality warranty. The Maytag features an impressive 12-years warranty on parts, but who will install them? In addition to looking for a manufacturer that will stand behind their product, look for an installation company that will stand behind their work. The right HVAC company to install your heat pump will have years of experience, a proven track record and a warranty on their labor. If something goes wrong with the unit in the first several years, they will come out and take care of it at no charge.

Geo-Thermal Heat Pumps
If you live in a cold climate, you might want to consider a geo-thermal unit. Pulling air from deep in the ground or even using water from deep in a lake or pond near your home, these systems are ideal for climates that see severe cold weather in the winter. They are more expensive to install, but their durability and energy efficiency makes them a great choice.

The Top Heat Pumps

Maytag PSH4BI iQ Drive – SEER-22 and 10 HSPF
This system uses inverter-rotary technology to perfectly offset your heating and cooling needs. Exceptionally quiet, you will not hear the system running because it moves air at an impressive 59 decibels. It also has impressive dehumidification features. A Consumer’s Digest Best Buy, the durable system features a stainless steel jacket and qualifies as a green fixture. With the incredible high SEER number, this system is a great choice if you live in warmer climates and need more help cooling the home when the temperature rises. It also comes with a 12-year warranty on parts.

Carrier Infinity Series Heat Pump with Greenspeed Intelligence – SEER-20.5 and 13 HSPF
Another very quiet heat pump, the Carrier operates at levels as low as 58 decibels. Variable speed operation creates the highest comfort levels because it allows the system to run for longer periods at lower speeds. Like using cruise control in the car, it actually uses less energy while providing you with consistent temperature control for superior comfort. Featuring WeatherArmor to protect the exterior components from the elements, it is rated at seven out of seven for heating efficiency, cooling efficiency and quiet operating levels. With the impressive heating efficiency, this system is a good choice for cooler climates. It comes with a 10-year limited warranty after proper registration.

American Standard Platinum ZM – SEER-19 and 9 HSPF
While the efficiency levels of this system are lower, the price is also a little lower. More affordable to install, it still saves homeowners an average of 60 percent on their heating and cooling bills. If you are replacing an old system with low energy efficiency ratings, then that savings could be even higher. One of the features that make this system so energy efficient is the two compressors that will help you lower energy costs. The variable speed motor keeps temperatures throughout the home even, and the humidity control levels ensure that you can keep the humidity out of the air in summer. The warranty on this system covers the compressor for 12 years, the outdoor coil for ten years and other internal functional parts for ten years.

Trane XL20i – SEER-19 and 9 HSPF
This variable speed unit feature Comfort-R enhancing airflow technology. With this clever addition, you will have greater humidity control in summer. The system supplies a slower fan speed upon startup in the summer and warmer air upon initial start-up in winter. These managed cycles help control the temperature in your home. Two compressors are used with the larger one kicking in when the weather is extremely hot. Extremely quiet, the multi-stage compressor creates quiet comfort you will enjoy throughout the year. You also have the option of adding advanced air filtration with the Trane CleanEffects system to keep dust, pollen and other irritants out of the air. The warranty is comparable to the one offered by American Standard with ten-year coverage on the outdoor coil and internal functional parts and a 12-year warranty on the compressor.

Lennox XP21 – SEER-19.2 and 9.7 HSPF
Two-stage operation keeps the home comfortable while the quiet operation won’t interfere with household activities. SunSource compatible, this system can be linked to solar models to run off the sun’s energy. It can also be combined with a gas furnace to help you maximize energy efficiency if you live in extremely cold climates and prefer to heat the house with gas in extremely cold weather. The Humiditrol dehumidification system removes moisture from the air, so your home will stay comfortable even in the hottest weather. It features a 10-year limited warranty on the compressor and other covered components.

Goodman SSZ16 – SEER-16 and 9.75 HSPF
A high-efficiency scroll compressor blends with SmartShift technology to provide you with seamless temperature control throughout the year. Sound control keeps the system quiet. Energy efficient, this affordable option will help you lower your utility bills while keeping the home comfortable. One attractive feature of the Goodman is the lifetime warranty on the compressor combined with a 10-year parts warranty on other functional items.

Trane T2GX All-in-One System
Geothermal units use an Energy Efficiency Ratio that is calculated by dividing the output cooing by the power input using outside air temperature, set inside temperature and relative humidity. An EER-11 rating is equivalent to about a SEER-13, to the EER-29.4 rating of the Trane is truly amazing. Available in single-and two-stage options, the variable speed blower has up to 12 airflow options to maximize comfort. Homes in the warm southern climates may not need geothermal options, but people living in the snowy north can benefit greatly from their improved heating ability. Pulling air from the stable environment found below the surface of the earth makes these systems more efficient and extremely affordable to run. The Trane also features different configurations, so it can be customized to work beautifully in any region.

Whether you live in a hot climate or a cooler one, heat pumps can help you save money on heating and cooling costs. One system is used to provide you with cool comfort in the summer and warmth when the mercury starts to fall. Most systems feature at least a 10-year limited warranty, but you still need to make sure you hire a qualified installation company that will provide you with a warranty on installation services. The more efficient options tend to carry a higher price tag, but they will pay for themselves over time through lower utility bills. Before choosing the right system, talk to HVAC professionals to find out which ones work best in your particular region and will function the best in your home.

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