In many homes and commercial properties, heat pumps have become the top choice for property owners. These systems are quiet, efficient and provide heat in the winter and cooling in the summer.
Most people are used to seeing large heat pump units that sit just outside the exterior wall of a home. However, there are smaller versions of these units, called window heat pumps, that can be a smart solution in just the right application.
How Do Heat Pumps Work?
Heat pumps operate not by generating heat but by transferring heat from one place to another. The unit absorbs heat energy from the outdoor air, even on the coldest winter days, and transfers that heat into the structure. When it is set to cooling mode, a heat pump works along the same fundamental lines as an air conditioner. This means that it absorbs heat from inside and releases it outdoors.
Critically, the heat pump also reduces the interior humidity of the home during the summer but can add some humidity back into the air in the winter.
Heat pumps work so efficiently, it’s no surprise that so many property owners are going this route.
What’s a Window Heat Pump?
Unlike the large, typical heat pump unit, the window heat pump is smaller. In fact, it’s small enough to be mounted in a window frame. The occupants of a room that is outfitted with a window heat pump get to enjoy heat in the winter and cool air in the summer.
Why Go With a Window Heat Pump?
Perhaps one of the foremost reasons for choosing a window heat pump is that it is affordable. When compared to the cost of having a central or split HVAC system installed, the price is negligible. Accordingly, if you are on a really tight budget but want to ensure that your family is warm during the winter and cool during the summer, the window heat pump is a budget-friendly solution.
Window heat pumps also make sense in smaller spaces. Maybe you’re trying to cool an apartment, a mobile home or a condominium. When you have less square footage, a smaller heat pump may have all of the heating and cooling capacity that are required. Why go with a much more powerful and expensive system when you don’t have to?
Statistics suggest that there currently are about 43 million housing units that are being rented in the U.S. The people who rent these homes and apartments do not have the freedom to install a permanent heat pump. For them, a window heat pump allows them to remain comfortable all year long without causing any damage to the rental unit. Another advantage of this arrangement is that the renter gets to take the window heat pump with him when he moves elsewhere. It’s a win-win.
Traditional heat pumps work great for people who live in single-family dwellings. However, they may be less than ideal for those who live in apartments, condominiums, townhouses or other multi-family units. When traditional heat pumps are not an option, the window heat pump fills a large void.
How Energy-Efficient Are Window Heat Pumps?
Two different methods are used to measure a heat pump’s air conditioning efficiency. The first of these is Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio, or CEER. The other is Energy Efficiency Ratio, or EER. CEER is used to measure the combined efficiency of the system when it’s actively cooling and when it’s in standby mode. Essentially, CEER is the ratio of measured cooling output, as measured in BTU per hour, to the measured average electrical energy input, which is measured in watts, and consumption, also measured in watts, when the machine is in standby or off mode.
EER refers to a rating system that measures the efficiency of air conditioning units. The higher the EER rating, the more efficient the system is.
CEER is the newer standard, and it was introduced by the Department of Energy in 2014. Nonetheless, it is not unusual to see EER ratings still used on some units.
If you look at the Energyguide label on any window heat pump, you will see the CEER clearly delineated. If you see a number like 14.7 on the label, then you know this is an incredibly efficient machine for cooling. However, a number like nine indicates a far less energy efficient model that will probably cost you a lot more money over time.
When it comes to heating efficiency, performance is measured in Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, or HSPF. This figure is arrived at by dividing the seasonal BTU by the energy used during an identical time period.
The government requires that heat pumps maintain a minimum HSPF of 7.7, but it is not unusual to see HSPF ratings of 13, which indicates an extremely efficient model. Only window heat pumps that have an HSPF of 8.2 or greater are eligible for Energy Star status from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Features to Look for in a Window Heat Pump
Before making a purchase, it is wise to consider these factors:
- The size of the heat pump;
- The type of air filer it uses;
- Whether or not it has a timer function;
- Wi-Fi compatibility; and
- Whether or not it has a ball-bearing motor.
Size is perhaps the most critical consideration. Determining the proper size requires that you know the square footage of the space that you want to heat and cool. Get a unit that is too small, and you will still be uncomfortable. However, an oversized unit will waste energy. Take a look at the British Thermal Units, or BTUs, on the machine before making a choice.
When it comes to filters, your best option is a filter that is washable. This provides the easiest maintenance and is a low-cost alternative to disposable filters.
With a timer function, your heat pump can turn on and off by itself, and you can set the heat pump to operate according to your desires. Of course, if your window heat pump is Wi-Fi compatible, which is becoming more common, you will have the ability to control the unit from absolutely anywhere in the world via your smart phone.
Ball-bearing motors in heat pumps are fairly new technology. They allow for a quicker start, and they operate far more quietly than older models.
Are Window Heat Pumps Loud?
Noise is a primary consideration for many people who are considering adding a window heat pump to their home or office. After all, they want to be comfortable, but they also want their surroundings to be quiet enough to allow them to sleep or concentrate on work.
The good news is that window heat pumps seem to be getting quieter every year. The average unit operates at about 65 dB. Ordinary conversation in a restaurant or office averages about 60 dB, so this is just slightly louder.
The reality is that many people actually welcome the sound of the window heat pump because it provides a soothing white noise. This may help to drown out street noise or noise coming from other areas of the house.
Are You Ready to Try a Window Heat Pump?
How satisfied are you with the HVAC system in your current living situation? If you find that you are consistently hot in the summer and cold in the winter, then it may be time to make some changes.
A window heat pump may be the right choice if:
- You’re on a tight budget;
- You live in an apartment or other rental property;
- You live in a condo and can’t install a central heat pump;
- You only need to cool or heat a relatively small space; or
- You want an HVAC system that you can take with you when you leave.
In any of these situations, a window heat pump is a smart choice. They are far less expensive and far more versatile than split or central heat pump units, and they can be used in many situations to keep your family comfortable all year long.
Learn More from Delaware Heating and Air
If you’re ready to learn more about window heat pumps or are ready to take the plunge, contact Delaware Heating and Air. Our expert, professional technicians are standing by to help you. Call (302) 738-4669 today.