Home Inspector on Heat Pumps

NOV 27, 2019

Home Inspector Overview of Heat Pumps

In recent years, heat pumps have become more and more common as an economical and environmentally friendly option to both heat and cool your home. They are referred to as geothermal heating when the outside source is in ground. Our home inspectors are trained to help you understand heat pumps, their benefits and potential concerns.

How Heat Pumps Work

Heat pumps use the same thermodynamic concepts as your fridge/freezer and air conditioner to take heat away from a cool area and add it to a warm area, going against what would be the natural flow of heat transfer. This is accomplished by expanding and condensing a refrigerant as follows: The refrigerant is expanded in a chamber and moved to the outside heat source under low-pressure and thus lower temperature (lower than the outside temperature) Outside (air, water or inground) it runs through a coil and absorbs heat while maintaining the same low-pressure On its way inside it a compressor increases the pressure which further increases the temperature Inside your home this high-pressure, high-temperature fluid/gas runs through a coil that air is blown across to capture the heat and distribute to your home. It may also be run through a hot water heater to heat your home’s water

Heat Pump Comparison to Other Systems

The only input required to run a heat pump is the electricity for the compressor, pump and fans. Because of this the operating cost of a heat pump is typically much lower than a gas furnace or electric furnace. Currently the installation price of heat pump is around double that of the other HVAC options. Recent technology development has further improved the efficiency of heat pump systems and as they gain popularity the price is expected to come closer to that of traditional systems.

Heat pumps are an attractive option because of their reduced environmental impact. Instead of burning fossil fuels such as natural gas, only a relatively small amount of electricity is required to move, compress and distribute heat. A modern heat pump can replace your air conditioner, furnace and water heater with one high efficiency system.

Heat Pumps on your Home Inspection

Your General Home Inspection will include a report section about the heating system. The inspector will attempt to operate the system within normal conditions and evaluate its performance. Your Inspection Report will provide system information but is not meant to diagnose an issue, rather it will tell you if the system components are working using normal operating controls. The Inspection Report will also include: make, model, age, typical useful life, the location of the thermostat and whether any components did not operate.

Consideration and care should be taken for the maintenance of your heat pump system as poor performance can be due to compressor valves, refrigerant flow or charge issues or clogged air filter.

Whether you are purchasing a new home and getting a General Home Inspection or you would like a clear understanding of your home with our Home Maintenance Inspection. Your Inspection Report is the starting point to make sure your system is efficient and up to date. Refer to our Home Maintenance Recommendations to maximize all of the components of your home and give yourself peace of mind for the upcoming seasons. Contact us to book your Home Inspector in the GTA.

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