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One of the simplest, most efficient ways Treasure Coast homeowners can heat and cool their homes is with heat pumps. Because winters here are mild, a heat pump does a more than adequate job of keeping you warm and has no problems addressing the heat and humidity during our long cooling season.

A heat pump doesn’t create heat, but instead uses the heat-exchange properties of refrigerant to move heat energy from one place to another. In the summer, the refrigerant inside the air handler’s evaporator coil extracts it from your home to create cooling. It uses a reversing valve in the winter to extract the heat from the outdoor air and bring it into your home.

The energy efficiency rating for a heat pump has two values. The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) must be 13 or higher, according to federal standards. It indicates how efficiently the appliance will cool your home over a cooling season. The second is the HSPF (heating season performance factor) that describes its seasonal heating efficiency, whose minimum stands at 7.7.

Heat pumps with higher SEER and HSPF ratings will save energy, and in our climate, models with a variable-speed air handler will remove more humidity in the summer, run more quietly, and reduce summertime energy bills. Another upgrade is a desuperheater, a device that takes the waste heat from your home in the summer and uses it to heat your water. Since our heating season is so short, if given a choice, it’s better to select a higher SEER than a high HSPF when budget is an issue.

Your HVAC contractor should accurately size the heat pump using Manual J software so you can enjoy all the efficiency the heat pump offers. Skipping this step can result in reduced indoor comfort, higher indoor humidity, increased energy bills and more frequent repairs. When it’s too large, the pump will short cycle, making it turn on and off frequently throughout the day. If it’s too small, it may not be able to keep you comfortable during hot weather.

To learn more about heat pumps for our region, please contact us at NisAir Air Conditioning & Heating. We’ve proudly provided homeowners in Martin, Palm Beach and Indian River counties with HVAC services since 1973.