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Consider a Heatpump to Lower Your Utility Bill

At a time where economic conditions make it difficult for many homeowners to pay the mortgage and stay afloat, it's especially hard to deal with seemingly ever-increasing utility bills. Sometimes, gas and electricity can cost a small fortune. Depending on where you live and what utility company you're dealing with, gas and electric can cost a fortune. And unlike most goods where you get a discount when you buy more, utilities often charge a higher rate the more energy you use, even if it's not your fault at all. There's an answer to this problem that doesn't require freezing in the winter and sweating in the summer: upgrade your existing, inefficient equipment. And specifically, consider a heatpump!

What is a heat pump and why should you think about getting one? It is an ingeniously simple way to move, or "pump," heat from one place to another. How does it work? Basically the same as a refrigerator or air conditioner, both of which remove heat from one place and dump it to another. However, unlike a fridge or air conditioning, a heat pump can move heat both ways. In the summer, it takes heat from inside the house and releases it outside, therefore cooling the house. In the winter, it extracts heat from the outside (yes, it can do that even when it is cold outside), and uses it to heat the house. Amazingly, a heat pump can be significantly more efficient at heating and cooling your home than conventional furnaces and air conditioners.

Are heat pumps some exotic new technology? No, they have been around for over 150 years, and companies like Lennox and Carrier and others have been developing and perfecting heat pumps for decades. Heat pumps even look like the condenser unit of a conventional central air conditioning system, with a fan, an electric motor, a compressor, an evaporator, and tubing. However, the big difference is that the heat pump both cools and heats, whereas air conditioners and furnaces only do one thing.

Why does it make sense to consider a heat pump? Because heat pumps can be very efficient. The latest units can reach what is called a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of almost 18, and a Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) of almost 10. Depending on the energy costs in your region, replacing a conventional system (or even an older, less efficient heat pump) can save hundreds of dollars a year. And there may also be tax credits or rebates reducing the cost of purchase. You'll also find that the latest model heatpumps are extremely quiet--very much in contrast to many air conditioning units that can wake you up at night and annoy you during the day.

Is a heatpump for everyone? That depends on your heating and cooling requirements and also on where you live. Homes in the Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey and Chilliwack areas, for example, are excellent candidates, especially when configured as dual fuel systems where a small gas furnace assists on very cold days. Heat pumps are a remarkable, and remarkably simple, technology that can provide year-round comfort at a remarkably low cost.

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