Heat pumps are becoming more popular in Northern Colorado by the minute. It was only a few short years ago that heat pumps were not adequate solutions for climates with cold winters, but over the last several years the technology necessary to heat a large space without natural gas or propane has been perfected. Now that heat pump technology is sufficient for cold climates, folks in Northern Colorado should consider investing in a fully electric heating and cooling system and taking advantage of the many factors that are contributing to their overwhelming popularity.
First and foremost, heat pumps are environmentally friendly, which is of great importance to most people in Northern Colorado. Heat pumps do not rely on fossil fuels as their heat source, so heat pumps produce fewer greenhouse gasses than traditional systems that run on fuel. Additionally, compared to gas systems, heat pumps are typically more efficient, they perform more consistently and evenly, and they are very easy to maintain, since there is no combustible flame. Heat pumps are one of the most efficient, environmentally friendly, best performing heating and cooling systems on the market today.
How Does A Heat Pump Work?
Heat pumps move or transfer heat from one area to another, heat pumps do not create heat on their own. Heat is removed from the indoors during the summer and expelled through the outdoor unit, and heat is removed from the outdoors during the winter and brought into the indoor space through the indoor unit.
In a heat pump application, the indoor unit and the outdoor unit always work together to heat or cool the space, while in a traditional application the indoor unit does the heating and the outdoor unit does the cooling. The heat pump system works as a whole to either heat or cool, and it relies on an internal component called a reversing valve to switch back and forth as needed.
A full Heat Pump System is comprised of an indoor air handler, and an outdoor unit called a heat pump, which includes the reversing valve, and refrigerant lines that connect the two. The refrigerant is what is responsible for moving heat from one location to another. This differs from traditional heating and cooling systems, which are made up of an indoor unit, typically a gas furnace with an attached indoor AC coil, and an outdoor unit, typically a central air conditioner, connected by refrigerant lines.
Traditional, forced-air heat pump systems require a backup heat source in cold climates, because heat pumps have a cutoff temperature of approximately 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Below approximately 30 degrees F, a heat pump will no longer be able to efficiently pull heat from the outdoor air in a quantity sufficient to heat the indoor space, which is why backup heat is necessary. Heat pumps can be paired with auxiliary electric heat strips in extremely cold climates to supplement the heat that a heat pump produces for a 100% electric heating solution. Heat pumps can also be paired with gas furnaces to achieve the same result, which is known as a dual-fuel application.
Some Ductless heat pump systems, however, are classified as low-ambient systems and can sufficiently heat the indoor space they serve in temperatures as low as -15 degrees F to -20 degrees F, and even colder in some cases. Low-ambient ductless systems do not require any source of backup heat.
Do Heat Pumps Save Money In Colorado?
Heat pumps will help consumers save money on energy consumption in Colorado assuming that the cost of electricity does not rise unexpectedly or unproportionally to that of other sources of heat, namely fossil fuels. Heat pumps will also save consumers money in the long run due to the fact that they are made very durably, have fewer parts to maintain and do not combust any fuel. Additionally, tax credits, incentives and rebates in nearly all areas of Colorado overwhelmingly favor heat pumps over traditional gas systems, much more rebate money is available through the purchase of a heat pump in many cases.
Cost to run an electric heater in Colorado:
It is expensive to run electric baseboard heat or space heaters relative to either heat pumps or gas furnaces. Heat pumps are much more efficient and cheaper to run an electric heater in Colorado. Most cities in Colorado are offering large rebates and/or tax credits to invest in an energy-efficient heat pump, some of the rebates are unprecedented and are not available for any other type of heating equipment. Electric heaters, baseboard heaters and space heaters typically do not qualify for any rebates or tax credits of any kind.
Cost to run a gas heater in Colorado:
Gas furnaces can be a very reliable and cost-effective way to heat a home in Colorado, much more so than trying to do so with electric baseboard or space heaters. However, not every gas furnace fits into this qualification. Furnaces come in many different efficiency levels and it is important to make sure that you are investing in the right gas furnace if efficiency and cost are important to you. For the vast majority of the year in Colorado, a heat pump should also be considered. Heat pumps are among the most energy efficient types of heating equipment on the market today, and they do not require the burning of a fossil fuel, which is great for the environment!
Cost to run a heat pump in Colorado:
Heat pump technology offers Coloradans one of the most affordable, energy-efficient ways to heat your home or business for the vast majority of the year. Heat pumps do not burn fossil fuels, in fact, they do not require the combustion any kind of fuel at all! Heat pumps are 100% electric and are therefore safer and much better for the environment. Heat pumps are also less likely to break down in the long run as they are built durably and have fewer parts that can fail or break in the first place.
All in all, heat pumps are among the very best and most sensible ways that anyone in Colorado can heat their space. Not only are heat pumps in line with Colorado’s commitment to clean energy and reducing our carbon footprint, but they’ll save you money along the way as well. Less energy consumed equals a lower power bill!
Do Heat Pumps In Colorado Require Ductwork?
There are two types of heat pump systems: Ducted and ductless. Both are common in Colorado, it’s just a matter of which system is better suited to the application being designed. Ducted heat pump systems are designed nearly identically to a typical, traditional forced-air gas furnace system. There is an outdoor unit, and indoor unit and ductwork that either heated or cooled air will pass through to be distributed throughout the space.
Ductless systems do not require ductwork at all. Ductless heat pump systems are powered by an outdoor unit just like ducted heat pump systems, but ductwork and registers are replaced by refrigerant lines and air handlers. Air handlers come in many different shapes, sizes and designs, allowing for a practically endless number of applications. Air handlers types include recessed ceiling cassettes, wall heads, floor-mounted units, and more. Ductless systems are available as both small systems, otherwise known as mini-splits, or larger systems which can include the very sophisticated and technologically advanced VRV/VRF systems.
Heat Pumps vs Traditional Furnace & Air Conditioner in Colorado
Given the technological advance in heat pump technology in recent years, there is no argument that heat pumps are among the best choices for heating and cooling systems in Colorado. There are also several reasons in Colorado that a heat pump might be a better application than a traditional furnace and air conditioner. First, heat pumps are unquestionably better for the environment than traditional furnace and AC systems since they do not burn any type of fossil fuel, they are 100% electric. Second, Colorado utility companies are overwhelmingly supporting large rebates and tax credits for Coloradans who invest in new heat pump technology. Finally, heat pumps are built durably, are easy to maintain and have fewer points of failure, which all point to heat pumps potentially being the cheapest heating and cooling systems to use in the long run.
Colorado Heat Pump FAQs
Will a heat pump add value to my Colorado home? Absolutely! Coloradans are environmentally-conscious people, and since heat pumps are very environmentally friendly and efficient, they can only add value to your home compared to a gas furnace.
Do heat pumps have filters like traditional systems? Yes they do, and they need to be changed just as regularly as a gas furnace filter. Airflow is airflow, and with airflow comes the movement of particulates that need to be filtered. There should be no surprises related to your heat pump filter, things work the same as they do for a gas furnace.
Are heat pumps noisy? Like any heating and cooling equipment category, there are a range of efficiencies and qualities available. Generally speaking, heat pumps are not any noisier than gas furnaces or central air conditioning systems. Most units advertise their noise output in dB. There are heat pumps that are capable of being practically noiseless, with dBs down to the 60s and even 50s.
How often do I need to service my heat pump? Heat pumps require annual maintenance just like any other type of heating and cooling equipment. It is imperative to check connections, perform a cleaning and do other basic maintenance checks to keep your heat pump operating at its peak capacity and efficiency.
How much does a heat pump cost? The cost of a heat pump system is very similar to that of a gas furnace and central air conditioning system. However, rebates and incentives are weighted very heavily toward heat pump technology these days, so it is very important to take that into consideration. A high-efficient and/or low-ambient heat pump system for an average home can generate many thousands of dollars in rebates, depending on the municipality.
Does a heat pump work well in cold weather? Traditional Heat pumps work perfectly on their own down to about 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Below 30 degrees, traditional heat pump systems rely on a source of backup heat, typically resistive electric heat strips or a gas furnace. The milder the winters, the better argument there is for a traditional heat pump application. Low-ambient heat pumps, however, work on their own all the way down to temperatures far below zero.
How often should a heat pump cycle on and off? A heat pump’s cycle may take some adjustment at first because a heat pump delivers more constant, even heating and cooling than a gas furnace and central air conditioning system does. Beyond that, the heat pump’s cycles will vary depending on the differential between the ambient temperature and what is set on the thermostat.
Why is my heat pump blowing out cold air? Heat pumps can blow cool air from time to time when they enter defrost mode. This is completely normal and is very temporary. If your heat pump is blowing cold air out for very long at all, you should contact your local heat pump company to come take a look at things for you.
How do you decide how big of a heat pump to get? Heat pumps are custom-sized for each home according to the Manual J or heat load process. Please insist that whichever company you are relying on to size your heat pump performs this critical step. Heat pump sizes can not be guessed at, rather there are specific mathematical calculations behind the sizing of heat pumps that have to do with square footage, orientation of the house, amount of insulation present, construction type, and a myriad of other variables.
Why is my heat pump constantly running? Heat pumps are designed to maintain a more constant and even temperature across your home or business. It is normal for heat pumps to be running, more than what you might be used to with a gas furnace and central air conditioning system. However, the heat pump will almost certainly be running more efficiently.
A Heat Pump Is The Right Choice For Your Colorado Home
A heat pump is the best choice for the majority of Coloradans given the fact that heat pumps are environmentally friendly, extremely efficient, do not burn fossil fuels and can be comparatively inexpensive to operate. Significant tax credits and/or rebates and other incentives are also widely available for heat pumps, many times in cases where similar programs are not available for other heating sources.