How Ductwork Impacts Heat Pump Efficiency in Aiken, SC

Heat pumps are a common alternative to traditional central HVAC systems, known for their superior energy efficiency compared to furnaces and other options. Like normal central HVAC systems, heat pumps use ductwork to distribute air throughout your home to heat it or cool it. Here’s some information about how your Aiken, SC home’s ductwork can impact your heat pump’s efficiency.

Proper Sizing and Installation

No heat pump can operate at peak efficiency without correct installation. This means not only properly connecting the various indoor and outdoor parts of the system but also making sure that your heat pump is the right size for your home.

To size your system, technicians will take a variety of factors into account, including heat gain/loss from windows, the number of occupants in your home, your home’s size and so on. One of the most common methods of determining the right size of heat pump is called the Manual J calculation, which has provisions for those elements and potentially others. Even if the heat pump is rated for the square footage of your home, for example, you may need to size up or down depending on other factors.

An undersized heat pump will likely struggle to keep your home at the temperature you set on your thermostat, driving up your energy bills while doing so. Oversized heat pumps, on the other hand, may cause hot and cold spots instead of uniform temperatures, along with having trouble regulating your home’s humidity.

Ductless heat pumps are a popular option, but if you’re retrofitting a heat pump into an existing system with ducts, you might want to take this opportunity to correct any faults with the original ductwork installation. For example, you could add a vent in an area that was never quite comfortable enough.

Leaks in Your Ductwork

The US Department of Energy estimates that an extraordinary 25% to 40% of all energy that HVAC systems expend goes to waste because of a variety of different types of air leaks. These leaks can happen because of abrasion and other damage or because the ductwork’s connections loosen over time. Loose connections can also happen due to damage or neglect, but they’re relatively common.

When air leaks out through your ductwork, your heat pump will not perform as well as it otherwise would, whether it’s in heating mode or cooling mode. As a result, your heat pump continue to run in an effort to reach the set temperature on the thermostat. This will have three important consequences: far greater energy use, higher utility bills and abnormally high levels of strain placed upon your system, which will increase the likelihood that something will break down.

Why You Should Keep Your Ducts Clean

Dirty air ducts can be just as consequential for your heat pump’s performance as hole-riddled and poorly insulated ones. Failure to keep your ductwork clean can both hamper heat pump efficiency and cause your indoor air quality to nosedive.

Dirt, dust and other contaminants are apt to harm system efficiency because they can easily enter the critical components of your heat pump, propelled aloft by flowing air. This debris will compromise these components’ performance, and they will need maintenance and a thorough cleaning to restore them to good working order. Grime and dust build-up in air ducts will also create additional friction with flowing air, thus diminishing airflow and adversely affecting performance.

Heat pumps come with air filters, which can somewhat mitigate the adverse consequences of dirty ductwork on your indoor air quality. However, it’s certainly better to keep your ducts and vents clean and avoid this problem altogether.

Proper ductwork care is only one aspect of what goes into maintaining your heat pump, but it is an especially important one. For everything else you need to ensure the optimal performance of your heat pump this fall in Aiken, SC and the surrounding area, call Doc Savage Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. and request our professional heat pump services.

Image provided by iStock

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